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Swatch sees record profits in 2008

GENEVA, July 27 – Swatch Group, the world\’s biggest watchmaker, said Sunday it expects to post record profits in 2008 despite the weakness of the US dollar and the difficult global economic environment.

"2007 was a record year, 2008 will be another one," its chief executive Nick Hayek told the Swiss weekly newspaper Sonntag.

The watch group — which includes 18 brands including Omega, Rado, Breguet, Blancpain and Swatch — posted a 2007 net profit of 1.02 billion Swiss francs (644 million euros) in 2007, up 22.3 percent from the previous year.

Hayek said he expected record profits both in local currencies and the Swiss franc, but warned that the weakness of the US dollar will inevitably have an impact on the bottom line.

"When the dollar loses one centime in value against the Swiss franc, then we lose 15 million Swiss francs off our sales books," he said. "Naturally that has an impact on our margins and profits because we produce in Switzerland."

Hayek said that while China, Russia and the Middle East were key markets, strong growth was also being seen in the United States and Europe.

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