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Swiss Companies Face ‘Massive’ Pressure on Franc, Swissmem Says

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss manufacturers are facing “massive” pressure on earnings as the franc’s strength makes exports more expensive, the Swissmem association said.

The group said a survey among its members, including ABB Ltd., Geberit AG and Georg Fischer AG, found 57 percent of companies were “severely” hurt by the currency’s ascent against the euro, Zurich-based Swissmem said in a faxed statement today. Thirty-three percent of companies said they were “moderately” affected.

New orders at Swissmem companies ranging from engineering to metals businesses advanced 30 percent in the fourth quarter from the year earlier, while sales gained 5.9 percent, the association said. The franc has appreciated 6.3 percent against the euro in the past four months.

“At first sight, one might be tempted to think all is well,” Swissmem said. “However, the strong franc is exerting massive pressure on margins and pushing many companies back into an operating loss.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Verschuur in Zurich at pverschuur@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net

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