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The watches are turning backward

  • 10 Mar 16

Swatch FY15 sales struggled in the weakening worldwide demand for the Swiss watches as well as the strengthening CHF. In fact, revenues decreased by 0.9% on a lfl basis, while the currency impact was -2.1%. Indeed, finished products’ inventories surged by 11.3% to CHF2,959m. On the whole, the group’s sales slightly outperformed the overall Swiss industry in that they decreased by 3% to CHF8,451m whereas Swiss exports declined by 3.6% in 2015. The watches & jewellery segment contributed 96.8% to the group’s sales (flat compared to 2014) at CHF8,177m. The segment posted a 17.3% declining operating profit to CHF1,539m, delivering a decreasing operating margin for the third successive year, at 18.8% (-330bp yoy). Electronic systems delivered CHF292m, i.e. a slight decrease of 1.4%. In addition, it showed a good operating performance with an operating margin of 3.1% (CHF9m) after two successive years of losses. Corporate services reported a net operating loss of CHF97m. In general, the operating profit amounted to CHF1,451m, leading to a modest operating margin of 17.2%. The net profit dropped by 21% to CHF1,119m. Operating investments amounted to CHF755m which were incurred in the geographical expansion and the development of production facilities. Gross cash impressed with a 6.5% surge to CHF1,280m, despite a rise in inventories of 3.5%. The financial structure remains sound with high equity ratio of 84.7%. For the outlook, management is confident for 2016, expecting to deliver 5% growth in local currency, despite the challenging context. Swatch proposes a dividend of CHF7.50, a bearer share and CHF1.50 per registered share.