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The Business week ahead

Two household names come through with their half-year results this week and there's a crucial vote on Thursday which could have lasting effects for the poorly performing single european currency.

This content was published on September 24, 2000 - 18:46

The construction company, Zschokke, releases its six month figures on Tuesday. Analysts are expecting earnings growth of around 30 per cent as the economic recovery continues to boost the industry.

It is a cause for real celebration at Zschokke, which almost went under during the recession of the mid 1990s. The construction industry was badly affected and it's only in the last year or two that there has been a recovery.

Zschokke was well placed to benefit having undergone a major reorganisation involving painful redundancies. Now, analysts expect full-year earnings growth of around 70 per cent.

On Wednesday, the country's biggest insurer, Swiss Life, publishes its half-year figures. Swiss Life is one of the few insurers worldwide to base its business almost entirely on life premiums.

It has also embarked on an international expansion programme and recently bought an Italian company. Forays into France have been less successful.

Profits trebled in 1999 and analysts will be expecting another good set of figures this week.

Thursday is a crunch day for the currency markets as Denmark holds its referendum on membership of the single european currency.

All the polls point to a rejection of the euro. Such a result could send the currency into further decline. Last week it slipped below SFr1.51 before staging a slight recovery.

A Danish "no" could see the SFr1.50 mark tested and the euro could fall towards 80 cents against the dollar.

by Michael Hollingdale

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