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By
AFP
Published
Mar 10, 2011
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Swatch sees exceptional growth in 2011

By
AFP
Published
Mar 10, 2011

The world's biggest watchmaker Swatch said Thursday that it expects exceptional growth in 2011 and aims for annual sales of 10 billion francs (7.7 billion euros, $10.7 billion) in about three years.

Swatch
Swatch watches

"We are in an exceptional situation. All the segments of Swatch met with extraordinary growth. The demand in the markets is great," Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek said.

He said such growth should allow the group to generate annual revenues of 10 billion francs in about three years' time.

Swatch, which encompasses brands from the eponymous colourful plastic watch to classic names such as like Blancpain and Omega, posted 1.1 billion francs in net profit on sales of 6.4 billion francs for 2010.

Amid the global economic recovery, Hayek noted that strong demand this year was putting pressure on its stocks.

"The difficulty for us is delivery of the product in 2011, it will be the big challenge. It is not consumption or demand," he said.

"We came from the 2009 when everything slowed. There are practically no stocks. There is very little product," he said.

The shortage is pushing the watchmaker to halt its supply of parts to the rest of the Swiss watchmaking industry.

"We want to stop as soon as possible" these deliveries, said Hayek.

The Swatch boss also warned of further impact from the strengthening Swiss franc on earnings.

The unfavourable exchange rate has already had a negative impact of 100 million francs on the first two months of the year, Hayek said, and the company could not offset this by adjusting prices.

"You cannot increase prices as you wish. We cannot react in the short term," Hayek said, adding that the group will try "to find other means" the minimise the impact.BIENNE, Switzerland, March 10, 2011 (AFP)

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