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Geneva motor show set to capture headlines

Peugeot's 607 Feline was one of the highlights of last year's Geneva Motor Show

(Keystone Archive)

The business focus this week in Switzerland will include another big corporate name announcing its results and the Geneva Motor Show opening its doors to the public.

The Basel-based pharmaceuticals group, Roche, is releasing its annual results on Wednesday, with analysts forecasting earnings to be around the SFr5.2 billion ($3.08 billion) level.

Analysts will be particularly interested in sales figures for the company's anti-obesity drug, Xenical, which has established itself as one of the company's main products since its launch two years ago.

Synthes-Stratec will publish its figures on Thursday, with net earnings for the year 2000 expected to come in at a little over SFr300 million.

The company is a leading manufacturer of medical devices for the operative treatment of bone fractures and for artificial joint replacements.

Tuesday sees the opening of the Geneva Motor show, which will attract thousands of visitors before it ends on March 11.

Car dealers will be hoping the show will give a boost to Swiss car sales which were down seven per cent last year. January's sales figures brought some cheer, however, as they were up nine per cent year on year.

A highlight of this year's show will be Fiat's unveiling of its new medium-sized Stilo model. The new car is due to replace the Bravo and Brava models and is crucial to the Italian company's hopes of shoring up weak earnings.

In economic news, February's consumer price index will be published on Wednesday. Most analysts expect the index to hold steady at around 1.3 per cent year on year.

by Michael Hollingdale


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