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The business outlook

A busy week awaits traders on the Swiss market as a host of blue chip companies reveal their half-year results.

This content was published on August 20, 2000 - 09:26

On Tuesday, Switzerland's biggest bank UBS will disclose its results for the first six months of the year. Investment bank, Lehman Brothers, said last month that the market had to realize that there was still room for growth at UBS.

The Swiss bank has been grabbing the headlines of late with its $11 billion acquisition of US brokerage firm Paine Webber in July.

Another company publishing figures on Tuesday is the parent company of Swissair, the SAirGroup. Last month, its chief financial officer, Georges Schorderet, told the Swiss financial weekly "Cash" that the company was likely to post a full year profit of around SFr200 million.

These remarks followed market rumours that the company could post a loss in the first-half year. SAirGroup later countered the rumours, saying the group would have "balanced" results after the first half.

On Wednesday, the world's biggest food group, Nestlé, unveils its interim figures. Analysts are expecting that the weakness of the Swiss franc will have a beneficial impact on the numbers.

Also revealing its figures for the first six months of 2000 on Wednesday will be the elevator and escalator group, Schindler, based near Lucerne. The outlook is positive after the group revealed better than expected results for 1999.

In April, Schindler forecast sales and profits would rise again in 2000, with the company looking at the possibility of a share split and a United States stock market listing.

The reporting continues on Thursday with figures due from Swiss technology group Sulzer and its majority-owned subsidiary, Sulzer Medica.

Sulzer has attracted some positive market attention of late after an interview in late July given by its chief executive Ueli Roos to the Tages Anzeiger newspaper of Zurich. Roos said major changes lay ahead for the group, which led to increased speculation that Sulzer could be ready to divest itself of some of its ailing divisions.

by Tom O'Brien

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