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The business week in Switzerland

The Pilatus aircraft company is to be sold to a group of Swiss investors

(Keystone)

This week saw the sale of the country's best-known aircraft manufacturer, the announcement of a new reinsurance venture and some welcome news for Swiss workers.

The Unaxis company, formerly Oerlikon-Bührle, announced on Thursday that it is to sell its Pilatus aircraft company to a group of predominantly Swiss investors. The deal is to be concluded by the end of January and no details of the transaction have been released.

The buyers are Jörg Burkart of Zurich, Hilmar Hilmarsson of Greppen, IHAG Holding of Zurich and the Pension fund of the healthcare group, F.Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel.

In London, the world's two biggest reinsurance groups, Swiss Re and Germany's Munich Re, announced that they would be taking a 25 per cent stake in the first-ever online reinsurance market.

There was good news for Swiss workers who learnt that their salaries were set to increase by the largest amount for 10 years.

The rises will push employers' wage bills up by around SFr12.5 billion ($7.5 billion). Average household income should increase by about five per cent when tax savings are taken into account.

The Swiss franc continued this week to claw back lost ground against the dollar, which is falling from 14-year highs. The US currency is losing value amid concerns that the economy could be on the verge of recession.

The Competition Commission authorised the merger of telecommunications operators, Sunrise and diAx, this week but said it was worried about the lack of competition in some areas of the telecommunications sector.

Further afield, Japanese prosecutors demanded that a subsidiary of the Credit Suisse Group pay a SFr750,000 fine for allegedly trying to block an inspection by the financial authorities.

If the Tokyo district court upholds the demand, CSFP would become the first foreign bank to be found guilty of criminal charges in Japan.

by Michael Hollingdale

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