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Swiss star faces stock market probe

The probe comes as Logitech posted its best ever full year results

(Keystone)

One of Switzerland's best performing computer firms, Logitech, is facing a stock market probe over a potential violation of listing rules.

The investigation, announced by the Swiss bourse (SWX) on Friday, comes in the same week that the computer peripherals firm posted its best full year results ever, with net income up by 66 per cent for the fiscal year 2002.

The SWX says the probe concerns Logitech's 2001 third quarter results report. SWX spokesman, Leo Hug, said the company might have failed to make sure all investors received financial information at the same time.

"There are a couple of ways you can disclose information: either you put out a release before the market opens, or you inform during bourse trade, but then you have to suspend the shares, for example. And Logitech didn't do that."

Income boost

On Wednesday, the company announced that net income for the fiscal year 2002 (April 2001 - March 2002) was $75 million (SFr123.75 million), an increase of 66 per cent over last year's net income of $45 million.

Logitech, which is based in Romanel-sur-Morges in Switzerland and in Fremont, California, said net income for the fourth quarter doubled, reaching $21.5 million, on sales of $256 million.

The chief executive officer, Guerrino De Luca, said Logitech was "very pleased" with the financial figures, against a background of a declining computer market and weakness of the global economy.

"Fundamentally, we don't sell to people who buy new PCs, only in part. We sell to people that use PCs and so our base is enormous," De Luca told swissinfo. "That's why we could grow through great products that people want to buy in the cordless, video, game and audio sectors."

Logitech has set its growth targets for the coming year at the higher end of a previously indicated range, saying it now plans to reach $1.1 billion in sales (an increase of 16 per cent over 2002) and operating income of $120 million (an increase of 23 per cent).

Global challenges

"We have emerged stronger than ever in a year marked by significant challenges in global economic and societal conditions," he said.

"We are optimistic as we enter the new fiscal year with new products announced and in the pipeline for consumers at the desktop, in the living room and on-the-go," he added.

Among the products to be introduced in the near future are a novel keyboard which acts as a case for hand-held organisers and a credit card-sized digital camera.

"We believe that the market we address is largely unpenetrated and therefore that the opportunities for us to go deeper into the base of the PC market are enormous, but we are also addressing other platforms beyond the PC," De Luca said.

Founded in Switzerland in 1981, Logitech designs, manufactures and markets products that provide access to the digital world. They include Internet video cameras, mice and trackballs, keyboards, audio and telephony products, interactive gaming devices and 3D controllers.

swissinfo with agencies

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