Swatch sees profits double
Net profits at Switzerland's largest watchmaking group, Swatch, more than doubled in the first six months of 2000, reaching SFr300 million ($177 million).
Turnover at the Biel-based group rose 22 per cent over the same period to SFr2 billion. All areas of the business reported strong sales growth, with luxury watches and electronic systems showing the best performance.
The market reaction to the results has been very positive, as the actual figures exceeded analysts' most optimistic expectations by more than SFr50 million.
Zurich Cantonal Bank analyst, Patrik Schewendimann, told swissinfo that the results "were obviously very good, helped by the good business environment and the strong performance of economies worldwide.
"We saw a very strong development of profit margins. This is because of the strong performance of Swatch's luxury watch division and also the sooner than and stronger than expected turnaround of its watch movement business."
Swatch, best known for its fashionable but no-nonsense steel and plastic case watches, said the rise in net profit was helped by a decisive contribution from financial earnings of SFr62 million.
In a statement, the company said it was optimistic about sales prospects for the rest of the year, noting that the second half is usually a key period given Christmas and New Year sales.
It added that it had started a SFr2 billion capacity expansion and modernisation programme for the next three to four years to be able to handle growing demand.
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