Swatch prepares for acquisitions in bumper 2010

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Profits dropped in 2009, but Swatch CEO is bullish about year ahead.

Swatch Group has raised expectation for its strongest year ever in 2010, despite profits falling by 9 percent for 2009.

Chief executive, Nick Hayek, told Reuters that the company was already seeing double-digit sales growth in January and early February and suggested the momentum could be maintained throughout the year.

"We are aiming for the best result we have ever had in 2010 in both turnover and profit if the exchange rate doesn’t go down the drain, and at the moment it doesn’t look like this will happen," he told the news agency.

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Hayek’s comments followed the announcement of a drop in full year profit for 2009 to 763 million Swiss francs (£450 million).

The company is home to 18 brands including Omega, Swatch, Longines, Rado and Tissot, Flik Flak and Hamilton making it the largest watch maker in the world by volume.

Swatch unexpectedly cut its dividend to 4 francs per share, a move that retains cash within the company ready for any potential acquisitions this year.

"There are a lot of companies that are struggling at the moment so there might be the one or other opportunity in 2010. There is nothing concrete for the moment," Hayek told Reuters.

 

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