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The business week in review

Alcan was one of the companies to make the headlines this week

(Keystone)

The completion of the high-profile merger between Switzerland's algroup and Canada's Alcan Aluminium was the major corporate news this week.

The new group, called Alcan, has revenues of SFr22 billion ($12.35 billion) in the aluminium and packaging industries. That makes it the world's second-biggest aluminium producer behind Alcoa of the United States.

The food giant, Nestlé, posted nine months sales figures of SFr59.5 billion, up 9.5 per cent year-on-year.

Basel-based Ciba specialty chemicals said this week that it expected double-digit profit growth in 2000 following a 65 per cent increase in net profit over the first nine months of the year.

The pharmaceuticals giant, Roche posted sales of SFr20.3 billion over the same time period. The company repeated forecasts of an increase in full-year net profit of around ten per cent.

Swisscom announced on Friday it would delay the entry on the stock exchange of its Internet service provider Bluewin. It said stock market falls in the technology sector might jeopardise the launch.

Novartis agribusiness announced the sale of its Flint fungicide business to Bayer's crop protection subsidiary for SFr1.33 billion.

The technology group, ABB, and the United States-based Schlumberger company, announced they were going form a joint venture to improve underwater oil and gas research.

In other news over the past week, Credit Suisse said its private banking division was in talks to buy JO Hambro Investment Management in Britain.

And the government appointed Bruno Gehrig as the new vice-chairman of the Swiss National Bank. He takes up the position at the beginning of next year.

by Michael Hollingdale

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