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SGS rides the global financial storm

The world’s largest inspection group, SGS of Geneva, has reported that net profit last year fell by 18 per cent but said it expected higher profit and sales in 2010.

SGS said that net profit came in at SFr566 million ($553 million) and explained that the result was down because of a one-off gain made the previous year.

“China, Africa, eastern Europe and the Middle East were able to post strong revenue growth performances, dampening the effect of the difficult conditions in the Americas and western Europe,” SGS said in a statement.

Most of the group’s ten business recorded higher sales than the previous year but recession hit its checks on standards and materials for mining and mineral industries, and car inspections.

SGS showed on Friday its keenness to grow through acquisitions by buying the inspection group Intron. The Netherlands-based firm had sales of about €13 million (SFr19.2 million) in 2009. No details of the financial transaction were given.

The SGS board has proposed a dividend of SFr60 for 2009, SFr10 higher than for the previous year. and agencies

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