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The week in business

The markets were disappointed this week over SAirGroup's failure to reform its corporate strategy, while Credit Suisse and its subsidiary, Winterthur, made two high-profile acquisitions abroad.

SAirGroup's board meeting on Wednesday failed to deliver a new corporate strategy to turn around losses at its flagship carrier, Swissair.

There had been speculation that SAirGroup may be ready to sell a stake in Swissair to American Airlines, British Airways or Lufthansa. But after the meeting, the company said such a sale was not up for discussion.

Credit Suisse on Thursday announced that it was taking over the British investment bank, JO Hambro, which has client assets of SFr3.8 billion ($2.1 billion). Hambro will keep its name and operate under the umbrella of Credit Suisse Private Banking.

Winterthur insurance gained a foothold in the Chinese life insurance market by acquiring a stake in Tai Kang insurance. The company is China's fifth largest operator and has a licence to sell across the country.

Winterthur already sells property and casualty insurance in China.

On the corporate results front, the hearing technology group, Phonak, tripled its first half-net profit to SFr34 million on booming sales of its new digital hearing aid, Claro.

The maker of insulin pumps, Disetronic, also posted strong results - its first half net profit rose 15 per cent to SFr20.9 million.

There was also good news for Switzerland's machine industry, which saw sales increase by 20 per cent over the first nine months of the year, helped by the economic recovery in Europe and Asia.

Employees at the new agrochemicals giant, Syngenta, were dealt a blow this week, when the company announced it would be cutting 130 jobs in its research and development departments in Basel and Stein.

Finally, Switzerland's competition commission launched an anti-trust enquiry into a distribution agreement between Coca-Cola and Switzerland's biggest beverages producer, Feldschlösschen.

by Michael Hollingdale

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