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Swissair continues to recover

Swissair begins to come out of troubled times


The business week was dominated by positive news for the Swissair Group as it managed to pull back successfully from loss-making foreign ventures.

The business week was dominated by positive news for the Swissair Group as it managed to pull back successfully from loss-making foreign ventures.

Shares in the group pushed up sharply on Wednesday in reaction to news that the group had limited its future exposure to the Belgian carrier, Sabena.

Swissair, which controls a 49.5 per cent stake in the airline, agreed with its partner, the Belgian government, to pump nearly €260 million (SFr390 million) into the airline.

The deal freed Swissair from a commitment to raise its stake in Sabena to 85 per cent and it also headed off potentially damaging lawsuits.

In return for the Swissair contribution, the Belgian government and Sabena both agreed to drop separate suits against Swissair, which they launched earlier this month.

Shares in the Swissair Group moved higher once more on Thursday as dealers awaited news from a Paris commercial court on the future of France's second biggest airline AOM/Air Liberté.

Swissair, which also has a 49.5 per cent stake in this airline, hoped to find a way of selling its interests in the near bankrupt French operation.

In the end, no news came out of the court but the mood remained upbeat regarding the possibilities for Swissair, with news on the future of AOM/Air Liberté expected early next week.

In other news this week, the digital broadcast technology company Kudelski said on Monday that it was to appeal against a court ruling in the United States ordering it to pay millions of dollars in damages in a dispute over intellectual property rights.

Kudelski said that despite the appeal, it would make provisions for a fine.

The announcement came after the EchoStar company, which has a joint venture with Kudelski, was found guilty of infringing a patent.

The companies were ordered to pay $15 million (SFr26 million) in damages by a jury in Wilmington in the American state of Delaware.

Results were few and far between this week. However, the engineering group Georg Fischer on Tuesday said that it still aimed to beat last year's results after revealing only a slight increase in first-half net profits.

The Schaffhausen-based company said that during the first six months of this year, sales rose to SFr2 billion ($1.2 billion) from SFr1.8 billion in the corresponding period last year.

It also said that net profit rose slightly to SFr73 million from SFr70 million.

by Tom O'Brien


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