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Pound Declines as Gilts Advance on World Bank Downgrade

Swatch Group AG, the biggest maker of Swiss timepieces, said its sales last year would have been 500 million francs ($550 million) higher if the franc were still at 2010 levels.

Gross sales increased by 14 percent in 2012 from a year earlier to 8.14 billion francs, the Biel, Switzerland-based company reported today. Net income climbed 26 percent to 1.6 billion francs, exceeding the 1.49 billion-francs average of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“Foreign currencies stabilized somewhat against the Swiss franc but remain significantly weaker than two years ago,” the company said in a statement. “The signals from the markets around the world clearly indicate continued healthy growth potential for the Swiss watch industry.”

The franc traded at 1.2358 per euro at 11:08 a.m. in London, compared with an average of 1.381 during 2010. The Swiss National Bank put a ceiling on the currency in 2011 to prevent it from strengthening beyond 1.20 per euro as investors sought a haven from Europe’s debt crisis.

The franc weakened 0.2 percent last year, according to Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes, which track 10 developed-nation currencies. It jumped 8.1 percent during 2010 and 0.6 percent in 2011.

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