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Swatch Group reports income drop

ZURICH – Swatch Group, the world’s biggest watch manufacturer, reported Thursday a 17.4 percent drop in net income for 2008 but forecast an upturn in its business in the second half of 2009.

In a statement, Swatch, whose brands include Swatch, Omega and Longines, said it made CHF 838 million (EUR 570 million, USD 721), compared with CHF 1.02 billion in 2007, on record sales of CHF 5.97 billion.

"The turmoil and enormous destruction of wealth in the financial markets worldwide infected the economies of many countries, leading to cautious reactions, mainly at wholesale level, and in some parts of the world to a noticeable drop in watch demand in the last two months of 2008," it said.

But it added, "Even though the group anticipates a challenging environment, particularly in the first months of the year … it expects that confidence at the international level can be restored in the second part of the year.

"Modest growth in 2009 over 2008 is our realistic expectation."

AFP / Expatica