The clothing maker, Calida, has announced a net loss for 1999, the first year ever in which it has slipped into the red. The company said it was back in profit in the first quarter of this year.
Turnover fell from SFr201 in 1998 to SFr195 last year. Profits fell from a plus of SFr10.2 million in 1998 to a SFr1.3 million loss in 1999.
Calida's chief executive officer, Erich Kellenberger, said the loss was due to problems linked to the introduction of new software and planning errors.
Analysts say the losses mark a sudden end to several years of growth and are a blow to Calida's plans for expansion. The number one in the Swiss underwear business, Calida is seeking to expand into Europe and in North and South America. However, it is still heavily dependent on its main markets in Germany and Switzerland, which represent 80 per cent of sales.
As a result of the poor performance in 1999, the group said it would not be paying out a dividend to shareholders this year.
The dip into the red has also led to several heads rolling. Kellenberger will be replaced by Dieter Wolf at the helm of the canton Lucerne-based company.
swissinfo with agencies