On Air Now

Listen

Listen Live Now » 93.7 FM Sheboygan, WI

Weather

Current Conditions(Sheboygan,WI 53081)

More Weather »
79° Feels Like: 82°
Wind: NE 5 mph Past 24 hrs - Precip: 0”
Current Radar for Zip

Today

Partly Cloudy 75°

Tonight

Thunderstorms Early 65°

Tomorrow

Cloudy 72°

Alerts

Breaking News

State Senator Joe Leibham to not seek recount for last week's election

SHEBOYGAN, WI (WHBL) - Joe Leibham will not seek a recount for last week's 6th House District Republican primary. The Sheboygan state senator lost the four man race to State Senator Glenn Grothman by 219 votes, which was close enough to ask for a recount that would have been paid for by local government units. In a statement made Friday afternoon, Leibham said he has contacted Grothman about his decision and wished him well in the November general election.  He adds he is happy of the ...

Read More »

Swatch optimistic for 2013 after strong January

Watches are displayed in front of a Swatch store at Zurich central station February 8, 2011. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Watches are displayed in front of a Swatch store at Zurich central station February 8, 2011. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

By Silke Koltrowitz

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swatch Group SA is optimistic about growth prospects for this year after the world's biggest watchmaker reported a 26 percent rise in 2012 profit and hiked its dividend.

The company, which makes colorful plastic watches and high-end timepieces, said healthy growth in January justified an optimistic outlook for 2013.

"There is a realistic prospect of long-term growth in the Swiss watch industry of five to ten percent per year," the company said in a statement on Monday.

"The signals from the markets around the world clearly indicate continued healthy growth potential for the Swiss watch industry and the Swatch Group."

The company reinforced this optimism with a 17 percent increase in its dividend to 6.75 Swiss francs ($7.48) per bearer share from 5.75 francs in 2011, and 1.35 francs per registered share, previously 1.15 francs.

The outlook for luxury goods companies, including Swatch, had become more uncertain due to slower growth in China, which is a big market for fashion and high-end watches, such as the Swiss company's Breguet and Omega brands.

Swiss rival Richemont surprised investors last month by saying sales growth had ground to a halt in the Asia-Pacific region.

Other luxury companies have been more optimistic on China. British brand Burberry , which had warned about deteriorating trading conditions in China in September, said earlier this month consumer sentiment there had improved.

Full-year results from Swatch, which also makes Tissot watches, showed net income rising 26 percent to 1.61 billion Swiss francs ($1.78 billion), ahead of expectations in a Reuters poll.

The group's operating margin rose to 25.4 percent, versus 23.9 percent a year ago, which impressed analysts.

"Strong set of figures driven by improved profitability in watches and production. I presume much of that is down to upgrades in manufacturing, which makes the production process more efficient," Kepler Capital Markets analyst Jon Cox said.

Vontobel's Rene Weber said Swatch managed to increase its operating margin, while the world's biggest luxury goods group LVMH reported a decline last week. "(Swatch) will be one of the top performers in full year 2012.

Swatch released a 14 percent rise in gross sales to 8.14 billion francs last month, saying it wanted to grow sales faster than its peers in 2013 and possibly score another double-digit increase.

($1 = 0.9029 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Daniel Magnowski and Jane Merriman)

Comments