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Swatch core segment posts new record figures once again
Mar '08
The Group once again achieved record figures across all areas in the year under review. Sales surpassed the strong showing of the previous year, rising by more than 17%. Gross sales very nearly reached the CHF 6 billion mark. There was a slightly positive currency effect (+ 0.3%), with the weak dollar and yen being offset by the euro.

The operating margin increased from 20.2% to 21.9% in the year under review, corresponding to an operating profit of CHF 1 236 million or a rise of 27.0%. Net income exceeded the CHF 1 billion mark for the first time. As already announced, inventories of raw materials and semi-finished products rose as a result of production bottlenecks, primarily in connection with components.

This also temporarily tied up funds. In addition, there was significant investment in expanding production facilities. Group equity remains very solid at CHF 5 329 million, which equates to an equity ratio of 71.5% as at 31 December 2007. The return on equity was 19.7% (2006: 17.3%).

At its meeting of 10 March 2008, the Board of Directors of the Swatch Group agreed to propose a dividend increase of 21.4% to the Annual General Meeting on 21 May 2008. This corresponds to CHF 4.25 per bearer share (2006: CHF 3.50) and CHF 0.85 per registered share (2006: CHF 0.70).

The 2007 share buyback program, worth CHF 400 million, was concluded on 8 November 2007. A new buyback program worth CHF 420 million was launched on 10 December 2007. The Board of Directors will propose to the 2008 Annual General Meeting that the repurchased shares be cancelled.

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