(Reuters) – In February 2008, Thomas Minder, a Swiss businessman whose family-owned company is best known for its old-fashioned herbal toothpaste, attacked his banker, UBS Chairman Marcel Ospel, as if he were a form of stubborn plaque. At a shareholders’ meeting in Basel, he stormed the podium as Ospel addressed the crowd. Ospel’s bodyguards grappled with Minder and wrestled him away before he could land his symbolic blow — he was trying to hand the embattled head of Switzerland’s largest bank a bound copy of Swiss company law, which codifies corporate temperance.
“Gentlemen, you are responsible for the biggest write-downs in Swiss corporate history,” Minder had railed just a few minutes before, referring to UBS’s loss of $50 billion during the subprime meltdown that prompted it to seek a government bailout. “Put an end to the Americanization of UBS corporate philosophy!”
PARIS/ZURICH Jan 21 (Reuters) – Cartier watches maker
Richemont said sales growth had ground to a halt in the
Asia-Pacific region, rekindling fears about a market which has
been the driving force of luxury sales in recent years.
Shares in the world’s second-biggest luxury goods company
fell over 6 percent in early Monday trading after it posted a
smaller-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter group sales.
ZURICH, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Barry Callebaut, the
world’s biggest maker of chocolate and cocoa products, reported
lower-than-expected quarterly revenue on Wednesday as its
ingredients business was squeezed by weak prices resulting from
The Swiss-based group, whose main business is making
chocolate for the likes of Nestle and Hershey,
said sales revenue fell 0.6 percent to 1.25 billion francs ($1.4
billion), short of a forecast for 1.38 billion in a Reuters
ZURICH, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Swiss cement maker Holcim Ltd
is booking 510 million francs ($553.3 million) of
restructuring charges and write-offs as it accelerates its
response to sluggish construction activity in Europe.
The world’s second-largest cement maker is bringing forward
the measures having in May announced a programme to cut costs
and seek efficiency measures, saying at the time the plan was
expected to cost 200 million francs, mainly to be taken in 2013.
BERNE/ZURICH, Dec 13 (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank
stressed its determination on Thursday to keep a lid on the
franc at 1.20 per euro, saying the fragility of the global
economy would support demand for the safe-haven currency, making
new interventions possible.
In a statement after its quarterly policy review that
slightly lowered its near-term outlook for inflation, the SNB
said while the economy picked up again in the third quarter
after a slight downturn in the previous three months, it expects
a significant weakening in the fourth quarter.
ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank will maintain the cap it set on the franc at least through 2013 and possibly even into 2014, while also keeping interest rates near zero, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.
The SNB imposed a lid on the franc at 1.20 per euro in September 2011 to try to prevent deflation and a recession, after investors seeking a safe haven from the euro zone crisis had pushed the currency up by a quarter in just a few months.
ZURICH, Nov 29 (Reuters) – The Swiss economy grew faster
than expected in the third quarter after government spending
rose even as sluggish exports helped the central bank’s policy
of capping the safe-haven franc.
Gross domestic product rose 0.6 percent in the third quarter
from the previous quarter, compared with a forecast for 0.2
percent and after a 0.1 percent contraction in the second
LUCERNE, Switzerland, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s “Coffee
King” sips tea as he appraises the crowded tables at a Swiss
branch of Starbucks.
Dang Le Nguyen Vu may not rate the coffee, preferring the
brand from Vietnam’s top processor which he heads, earning him
the regal epithet.
BERNE, Oct 31 (Reuters) – The Swiss president is still
hopeful that the German parliament will back a deal for Swiss
banks to levy taxes on assets German citizens have stashed in
secret accounts despite stiff Social Democrat (SPD) opposition.
Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who also
holds the rotating position as president, said on Wednesday she
still expected the deal to be passed by the end of the year in
time to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
ZURICH, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Swiss speciality chemicals maker
Clariant posted a bigger-than-expected drop in
quarterly net income and cut its full-year sales forecast,
joining rivals in feeling the pain from austerity-hit European
Shares in the firm, whose products put colour into plastics,
fell more than 5 percent on Wednesday after it predicted flat
sales in local currencies for 2012, compared with a forecast in
July for some growth.