Swatch Group reports 20% rise in full year 2013 income

The world’s biggest watch group Swatch reported a 2013 net profit rise of more than 20 percent, beating market expectations and hailing a promising start to the new year.

Times look good for the company despite changes in the climate for luxury watch sales in the important Chinese market. The Swiss watchmaker posted a net profit of 1.9 billion Swiss francs ($2.1 billion, 1.5 billion euros) last year, it said in a statement. Its operating profit soared 17 percent from the 2012 level to 2.3 billion francs, while its operating margin rose to 27.4 percent from 25.4 percent a year earlier.

Swatch, most known for its brightly coloured plastic-cased watches, had already said in early January that its 2013 sales jumped 8.3 percent to 8.8 billions Swiss francs.  The watchmaker, which is also the leader in watch component production, said it had injected nearly 700 million francs into machinery, production infrastructure and sales outlets last year.

Despite these investments, the group said it held 1.8 billion francs in disposable cash at the end of January. That was about the same level as last year before it snapped up US jeweller and watchmaker Harry Winston and Dubai-based Rivoli Investment, a company with a distribution network of more than 360 retail stores in the Middle East.

Swatch also painted a rosy picture for the year ahead, pointing out that its watch and jewellery sales had been on an upward trend during the first month of 2014. “All brands had an auspicious start,” it said, stressing that “continued healthy growth is expected in 2014.”

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