Swatch to Challenge Swiss Court Ruling on UBS Investment

Swatch Group AG, Switzerland’s biggest watchmaker, will challenge a commercial court ruling that UBS AG doesn’t have to reimburse it for losses on an investment made before the financial crisis.

Swatch will appeal at federal court, Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek, 59, said by telephone today. “The case should be taken to a court that does not comprise representatives of banks and therefore does not have a banker mentality,” he said.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, isn’t required to compensate Swatch Group for losses of 24.8 million Swiss francs ($28.1 million) on 46.9 million francs in “absolute-return” investments made in 2007, the Zurich-based commercial court said in an e-mailed statement.

A verdict in favor of Swatch Group could have prompted other investors who lost money during the financial crisis to sue Swiss banks for their losses.

“The commercial court’s decision confirms our position and frees us of the plaintiffs accusations of wrongdoing,” Dominique Scheiwiller, a spokeswoman for UBS, said by e-mail. She declined to comment further, referring to the court’s ruling.

The verdict was made on April 14, according to the court statement. Three of the panel’s five judges are industry experts, elected for their knowledge of the matter.

Swatch did not file a motion to the court to have any judges withdraw from the case, Andrea Schmidheiny, a spokeswoman for the court, said by telephone. She declined to comment on Hayek’s assertion that court members are influenced by their professional backgrounds.