Swatch reports slower profit growth

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GENEVA: The world’s biggest watch-making group Swatch reported on Tuesday that its net profit growth slowed in the first half of the year, but still beat analysts’ expectations.

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The company, most known for its brightly colored plastic-cased watches and which in recent years has accustomed investors to double-digit growth, reported that its net figure rose by 6.1 percent. Net profit amounted to 768 million Swiss francs ($820 million, or 622 million euros) during the first six months of the year. Swatch Group sales, meanwhile, ticked in 8.7 percent higher at 4.1 billion Swiss francs, the company said in its earnings statement.

The watchmaker stressed that it was the victim of its own success last year, with growth appearing weak compared to “the very strong first half year 2012.” The net profit was slightly higher than the 733 million francs expected by analysts polled by the AWP financial agency, while the sales were in line with expectations.

In recent years, the Biel-based group has seen its business balloon on a seemingly insatiable appetite by Chinese consumers for luxury watches, but company chief Nick Hayek warned in March that the massive growth could not go on forever.

AFP

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