The Swiss industrial group, Von Roll, has posted a net loss of SFr86 million for 2001, as compared to net profits of SFr6 million recorded for the previous year.
According to a company statement published on Tuesday, the Zurich-based group said sales had dropped by 2.5 per cent to SFr1.6 billion, with order intake sinking by 9 per cent to SFr1.7 billion.
The company said it had not achieved its financial goals for 2001 owing to the "unexpectedly severe recession in key markets" in the second half of the year.
The Von Roll Infratec and Von Roll Isola divisions were particularly badly affected, owing to falling demand in the automotive, machinery, equipment manufacture and electronic segments.
However, operating results remained similar to last year at SFr3 million, thanks to "efforts to boost profitability", Von Roll said.
In a bid to cut costs, staffing levels were reduced by 9 per cent in 2001 to 5,673 employees, with a further cut of 1 per cent due this year. This had yielded SFr40 million in cost savings.
Martin Messmer, the CEO of the Von Roll Group, said the "sharp tumble...was regrettable", but he added that the company's products continued to be well received in the market.
swissinfo with agencies