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Georg Fischer profit plummets

Full-year net profit at Georg Fischer, a Swiss industrial consortium, has dropped from SFr245 million ($210 million) to SFr69 million.

The company, which makes milling machines and motor spindles among other products, said on Tuesday it had been hit by a slump in demand in the fourth quarter.

"The deterioration in external conditions in the course of 2008 was on a virtually unprecedented scale," Georg Fischer said.

It added that it was unable to give any proper guidance for 2009 due to the uncertain economic situation.

In January the group, which employs 13,000 people around the globe, announced it would lay off 340 workers, half in Switzerland, in a bid to maintain profitability.

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