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Swatch says profit has risen 26 per cent

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ZURICH, Feb 4 AFP

February 04 2013, 9:43PM

The world's biggest watch-making group, Swatch, says its net profit has risen 26 per cent to 1.6 billion Swiss francs ($A1.71 billion), beating market expectations.

Swatch, best known for its bright plastic-cased watches, said "thanks to a high level of capacity utilisation, innovative production methods and traditionally strong cost controls, operating profit increased to 1,984 million Swiss francs, a rise of 22.9 per cent compared with 2011."

Analysts surveyed by Swiss financial news agency AWP had expected a more modest increase in net profit to 1.4 billion francs on an operating profit of 1.8 billion francs.

Earlier, Swatch reported its 2012 sales rose by 14 per cent to 8.1 billion francs.

For 2013, the watchmaker said "the signals from the markets around the world clearly indicate continued healthy growth potential for the Swiss watch industry and the Swatch Group".

It estimated the Swiss watch industry has realistic long-term growth prospects of five to ten per cent a year.