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Von Roll recovers after difficult year

Von Roll has reported sales growth and increase in operating income for 2000


The Von Roll group, which made a loss of SFr102 million ($60 million) in 1999, is back in the black after chalking up net profits of SFr6 million in 2000.

However, Von Roll's chief executive Martin Messmer told swissinfo that the company had not made as much progress as he had hoped.

"We only started our reorganisation programme "Focus 2000" in the middle of last year," Messmer explained. "We have had some successes but we have to continue with the programme over the next two years."

Sales at the material technology group rose by 11 per cent over the previous year to SFr1.646 billion, while operating income rose 49 per cent to SFr49 million.

The Focus 2000 programme, which according to Messmer is responsible for much of the improvement, includes focusing on specific markets and customers as well as introducing a strong culture of change regarding customer needs.

The Focus 2000 programme has another two years to run and Messmer believes it will reinvigorate the Zurich-based company, which was established in 1823.

"I see Von Roll as a materials group focused on problem solutions for our customers based on our materials know-how," he added.

Commenting on last year's performance Messmer said Von Roll was back on the road to "normality".

"We have reached important intermediate goals - the market acceptance of our products and services has strengthened," he told the company's annual news conference in Zurich.

Messmer also told swissinfo that he was positive about the company's outlook for the current year. "In think we started pretty well this year. In the first two months the market situation is pretty positive," Messmer said.

"Namely in the high voltage installation business where all our customers have full order books. So in terms of our cost structure I believe we can make additional progress."

The group is proposing no dividend payment on the 2000 results, after already not having paid out a dividend for 1999.

swissinfo with agencies


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