2011 record year for Swatch despite currency woes

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Sales exceed CHF7bn mark for first time and profit jumps up 12%.

Swatch has unveiled its full-year results for 2011 and the Swiss watch group has smashed all of its own records.

Sales at the group exceeded CHF7 billion (£4.83bn) for the first time, hitting a final tally of CHF7.14 billion (£4.92bn), which was an increase of 21.7% on 2010’s figures at constant exchange rates. The group managed to hit new thresholds despite losing an estimated CHF700 million (£482.7m) of sales due to a difficult currency environment that pitches a strong Swiss franc against a weak euro and dollar.

Operating profit jumped 12.4% to CHF1.61 billion (£1.11bn) thanks to improvements in efficiency and strong cost controls, while operating margins increased from 23.5% to 23.9%.

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Net income rose 18.1% to CHF1.28 billion (£882.7m) and equity passed the CHF8 billion (£5.52bn) mark for the first time, equal to an equity ratio of 82.3%. Swatch Group announced proposed dividend increases of 15%.

The group created more than 2,800 new jobs in 2011, taking its global staff levels to more than 28,000.

The group’s good fortunes seem to be carrying through to 2012 with a double-digit sales growth at its watch and jewellery division in the first month of the year, despite tough comparables.

A forward-looking statement from the watch and jewellery group said: “The Swatch Group is well prepared for the future and is maintaining its clear and healthy long-term growth strategy. We expect growth to continue in 2012, although this is more and more challenging due to the high benchmark. The Swatch Group will also continue to make targeted investments in 2012 in its worldwide distribution network and in its production capacities in Switzerland across all segments, despite the strong Swiss franc.”

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