Swatch surprises with earnings report in local dialect | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 06.03.2013
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Swatch surprises with earnings report in local dialect

The world's leading watch maker, Swatch of Switzerland, has reported a hefty rise in profit and revenues. But it needed a translator to learn about the details as the earnings report was written in local Swiss dialect.

Swiss trendsetting watch maker Swatch reported Wednesday its net profit rose by 26 percent last year to 1.61 billion francs ($1.71 billion, 1.31 billion euros). The surge in earnings came on the back of a 14-percent increase in sales to 8.14 billion francs throughout 2012.

But that probably wasn't the biggest headline of the day related to the globally known watch manufacturer. True to nature, Swatch once again surprised investors by not complying to generally accepted reporting standards.

The firm wrote its annual 216-page financial report in the local Swiss dialect which is hardly understandable to native German speakers outside the country. Language differences are so strong that Swiss films are usually shown with subtitles in neighboring Germany.

Intended provocation

Chairwoman Nayla Hayek said by falling back on the local dialect Swatch intended to launch a "positive provocation," adding she was confident the Swiss would respond to that expression of "our deep connection to our roots" with a wink.

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She admitted an earnings report in local dialect was not necessarily in line with the rules, but stressed a company like Swatch could easily afford such a behavior.

Only recently, CEO Nick Hayek ruffled the Swiss Stock Exchange's feathers by not sticking to balance sheet reporting regulations in the country. When confronted with the option of Swatch being chucked out of the blue-chip SMI index, Hayek said then so be it. At the end of the day, the stock exchange caved in by loosening its reporting rules.

hg/hc (AP, Reuters)

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