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Swatch Jumps as Outlook Boosts Optimism for China Demand

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Swatch Jumps as Outlook Boosts Optimism for China Demand
By Morgane Lapeyre and Thomas Mulier
2014-01-10T12:59:47Z
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omega watches Swatch Group AG (UHR) , the maker of Omega
watches, rose the most in almost a year after the company
reported record revenue for 2013 and forecast a positive year
ahead, boosting optimism that demand in China is rebounding.
seamaster omega The bearer shares rose as much as 4.8 percent to 576 Swiss
francs in Zurich, the steepest gain since Feb. 4 last year.
replica watch After a “strong start” to January for all brands, Swatch
expects “dynamic growth” for all of 2014, the company said
today. Sales could rise by a “double-digit” percentage figure,
Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said. The CEO also revealed
that the watchmaker’s mainland China sales rose by a “high-single-digit” figure in 2013.
watches sale The predictions spurred optimism that sales growth may
rebound after a Chinese crackdown on extravagant gifts
contributed to Swatch’s slowest revenue growth in four years.
The Swiss watch industry’s growth rate has sputtered as China,
which buys more than a quarter of Swiss watches, gets tougher
over the use of luxury goods as bribes and illegitimate gifts.
omegawatches “Given the uncertainty surrounding China, we don’t doubt
that it is going to be a bumpy ride,” said Jon Cox, an analyst
at Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich. “However, overall we believe the
company is a classy, inexpensive asset and recent weakness may
provide an attractive entry point.”
Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg
watches sale
A Swatch SUON102 wristwatch, produced by Swatch Group AG, sits on display following the... Read More


A Swatch SUON102 wristwatch, produced by Swatch Group AG, sits on display following the company's annual results news conference in Grenchen, Switzerland. Close

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Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg
A Swatch SUON102 wristwatch, produced by Swatch Group AG, sits on display following the company's annual results news conference in Grenchen, Switzerland.
Swatch traded 4.7 percent higher at 575.50 francs at 1:46
p.m. in Zurich, recovering from yesterday’s 3 percent decline.
The shares gained 28 percent in 2013, while Cie. Financiere
Richemont SA, (CFR) the maker of IWC watches and Swatch’s biggest
traded competitor, advanced 24 percent.
‘Real Headache’
Gross revenue advanced 8.3 percent to 8.82 billion Swiss
francs ($9.7 billion) in 2013, the Biel, Switzerland-based
company said. That compares with the 8.86 billion-franc median
of 12 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Exchange-rate swings cut
more than 100 million francs from second-half sales.
Operating profit and net income in 2013 were “good,” the
company said. Swatch will report full results later this year.
“The only real headache I have is exchange rates,” Hayek
said in a phone interview. “I see much more opportunity than
risks” in mainland China and the U.S., while the European
market is coming back, he said. Group sales in China should
improve in 2014, fueled by mid- and low-price brands, and a
possible improvement in the luxury segment, Hayek also said.
Sales at Swatch’s watch and jewelry business rose more than
10 percent, while sales at its production division, which sells
parts to other watchmakers, increased 8.6 percent. That compares
with gains of 16 and 10 percent, respectively, in 2012.
Growth Potential
“You cannot continue to grow a major brand’s sales at 30
to 40 percent over a four-year period,” said John Guy, an
analyst at Berenberg Bank in London . “Normalization of growth
was always to be expected.”
Swatch’s management today said it’s “comfortable” with
analysts’ consensus for 2014 gross sales of 9.6 billion francs
to 9.7 billion francs, according to Guy. That would represent a
gain of as much as 10 percent. A spokeswoman for the company
declined to comment. Hayek told Finanz & Wirtschaft in November
that he expects double-digit growth in 2014, barring an economic
crisis and worse exchange rates.
Switzerland’s watch exports to China and Hong Kong dropped
8.5 percent in the first 11 months of 2013, on track for the
second annual decline since 2008, the year those markets became
the biggest source of revenue for the industry. Data for
December hasn’t yet been published.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Morgane Lapeyre in London at
mlapeyre@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Celeste Perri at
cperri@bloomberg.net
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