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UPDATE 3-Swatch's upbeat view stokes hopes China demand improving

* FY net profit up to 1.61 bln Sfr vs 1.48 bln in poll * Says 2013 started well, healthy growth in January * Purchase of Harry Winston jewellery taps into high-end demand * Sees healthy growth potential for watch industry By Silke Koltrowitz

Swatch says net profit up 26% to 1.6 bn Swiss francs

The world's biggest watch-making group Swatch said on Monday its net profit soared 26 percent last year, beating market expectations and boosting its share price. Swatch, most known for its brightly coloured plastic-cased watches saw its net profit balloon to 1.6 billion Swiss francs (1.3 billion euros, $1.76 billion). Hailing "a high level of capacity utilisation, innovative production methods and traditionally strong cost controls," the group also said its operating profit swelled nearly 23 percent year-on-year to 1.98 billion Swiss francs.

Swatch says net profit up 26% to 1.6 bn Swiss francs

The world's biggest watch-making group Swatch said on Monday its net profit rose 26 percent to 1.6 billion Swiss francs (1.3 billion euros, $1.76 billion), beating market expectations. Swatch, most known for its brightly coloured plastic-cased watches, said "thanks to a high level of capacity utilisation, innovative production methods and traditionally strong cost controls, operating profit increased to 1,984 million Swiss francs, a rise of 22.9 percent compared to 2011."
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