Mar 14, 2008
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In a first, Swatch profits top 1 bln Swiss francs

Mar 14, 2008

BIEL, Switzerland, March 14, 2008 (AFP) - Swatch Group, the world's biggest watchmaker, reported 2007 net income Friday March 14th of 1.015 billion Swiss francs (644.2 million euros, 1.0 billion dollars), up 22.3 percent from the previous year.

Swatch campagne publicitaire 2008

It marked the first time that the manufacturer of Omega, Longines, Tissot, Hamilton and Swatch watches, among other brands, had seen its profits surpass the one-billion-franc mark.

Net sales for the past year were put at 5.646 billion francs, up 17.1 percent, the Biel-based group said in a statement, adding: "Prospects remain good for the year (2008) as a whole."

The group, best known for its colourful plastic watches, said the sharp weakening of foreign currencies -- especially the US dollar -- against the Swiss franc, coupled with marked increases in gold, diamond and other raw material prices, create new challenges for the group.

"However, there is still considerable growth potential, not least in expansion markets, which must be exploited through the attractive range of brands offered by the group and through a targeted distribution policy," Swatch said.

It pointed out that Omega's involvement as timekeeping and data handling partner in this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing will "further promote awareness of the brand worldwide."

For 2007, the group's watches and jewellery segment sales reached 4.456 billion Swiss francs, up 19.7 percent.

All regions performed well, said the group, although Japan posted flat sales.

Its production segment benefited from demand for watches and jewellery, posting sales that were up 21.6 percent to 1.624 billion Swiss francs.

The electronics segment, meanwhile, had sales that rose just 6.3 percent reaching 623 million Swiss francs, due to price pressures.


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