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Dec 22, 2008
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Swatch chairman sees slower growth 2009-paper

By
Reuters
Published
Dec 22, 2008

ZURICH, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Swatch Group (UHR.VX), the world's largest watchmaker, is expecting slower growth next year, the group's chairman told Swiss weekly newspaper Handelszeitung.


www.OmegaWatches.com

2009 would be a year without "huge growth", Nicolas Hayek was quoted as saying in a summary of an interview released on Monday, a day ahead of the newspaper's publication.

"Growth will be smaller but still pretty reasonable compared with other industries," Hayek told the Handelszeitung.

In November, watch exports fell some 15 percent on the year and analysts expect a slowdown for the watch industry in 2009 as the global economic downturn hits consumer spending.

Swatch group's shares, which have lost 57 percent this year, were 2 percent lower at 143.70 Swiss francs by 1601 GMT.

The group, which is best known for its colourful plastic Swatch watches, also owns higher-end brands including Breguet and Blancpain and Omega.

Swatch's gross sales rose 14 percent at constant exchange rates to 2.97 billion Swiss francs in the first half of 2008. (Reporting by Sven Egenter; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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