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Restructuring at SIG set to bring improvements

The SIG Swiss Industrial Company of Neuhausen near Schaffhausen is set to put the bad times behind it as its restructuring begins to pay off.

"In the year after next (2002) an operating profit of more than SFr200 million should be possible. This is double the poor result of 1999," SIG's chief executive, Roman Boutellier told the Swiss business newspaper 'Finanz and Wirtschaft'.

Earnings at SIG in 1999, before interest and tax, and excluding restructuring costs, were SFr107 million. Including restructuring costs, the group posted an operating loss of SFr39 million.

The company is in the process of streamlining its diversified business to focus on packaging.

"Our main division, Combibloc carton packaging, will be able to double its operating profit by 2002 thanks to improved capacity utilisation," said Boutellier.

As part of the restructuring, SIG is looking for a buyer for its Arms division. Boutellier said negotiations for the divestment were intensive and were taking longer than expected.

"We want to increase sales by five to ten per cent a year through internal growth. We seek acquisitions but only if they help us move forward," added Boutellier.

swissinfo with agencies