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OBH looks to future as Unaxis

The Oerlikon-Bührle group (OBH), which has been increasingly focusing its activities on high technology and has changed its structures radically, is back in the black and has a new name.

The Oerlikon-Bührle group (OBH), which has been increasingly focusing its activities on high technology and has changed its structures radically, is back in the black and has a new name.

At a news conference in Zurich, the group announced Tuesday it was changing its name to Unaxis. It will have three core divisions - information technology, surface technology and components.

The group made a net profit of SFr54 million last year, compared to a net loss of SFr169 in 1998.

"Hoisting the Unaxis flag is a major symbolic act of great emotional significance. It reflects the fact that the strategy and orientation of the technology group announced in 1999 have taken concrete form," said chairman and chief executive Willy Kissling.

OBH announced in November that it would be concentrating its activities on information technology, wear protection and components sectors around the competencies of the Balzers and Leybold group, based in Liechtenstein.

Oerlikon-Bührle, which divested shoe maker Bally and its military and real estate divisions last year, has also made no secret that it wants to sell off aircraft maker Pilatus in Stans. Kissling said divestiture would be postponed until an "optimal solution" could be found. This, he added, was in the best interests of the workforce and the region.

Pilatus generated record sales of SFr435 million last year, with an operating profit of SFr12 million.

To strengthen its position in the semiconductor market, OBH last year acquired a strategic stake in the Esec company of Cham, which makes assembly equipment and systems for the semiconductor industry.

The group now says it intends to exercise its option to become the majority shareholder of Esec, probably in the middle of next year.

swissinfo and agencies


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