Swatch Group Income Down in First Half

The Swatch Group, the world's largest watchmaker, posted net income of 206 million Swiss francs ($136.2 million) for 2002's first half, a 13.1% drop from last year's figures. A major reason for the drop, the company says, was the "negative effect" of the rising value of the Swiss franc on worldwide earnings when converted to Swiss currency. Other factors included sluggish watch sales in major tourist centers and global economic uncertainties. Total sales tallied 1.9 billion Swiss francs ($1.2 billion), a 3.9% drop. Operating revenues were 271 million francs ($197.1 million), down 9.4% from 2001's first half. The conglomerate, based in Biel, Switzerland, made the announcement Aug. 21. The Group's core business—the 18 brands of its watch division—grew 1.1% in worldwide sales. "With very few exceptions, all countries reported slight growth," says the report. Individual watch brand

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