Switzerland

Cytos says hypertension drug failed, will cut staff

Cytos says hypertension drug failed, will cut staff Zurich - Cytos Biotechnology said Tuesday a vaccine it was developing for hypertension has failed to show positive results and the company would scale back a significant amount of its workforce in response.

The company's stock was down over 33 per cent in mid-afternoon trading on the Zurich exchange following the announcement.

"The study results show that the vaccine was safe and well tolerated, but the new treatment regimen failed to induce a significant reduction of the ambulatory blood pressure," Cytos said in a statement.

UN to close West Africa air service in funding shortage

UN to close West Africa air service in funding shortage Geneva - The United Nations emergency air service, used to move food, medical assistance and aid workers to remote and dangerous locations, will have to shut its West Africa operation due to a lack of funds, the organisation announced on Tuesday.

The air service, run by the World Food Programme, is used to get aid and staff to areas that cannot be reached by land, whether owing to security concerns, lack of infrastructure or rough terrain.

Lindt chocolate sees more bitter 2009 ahead

Lindt chocolate sees more bitter 2009 ahead Geneva - Lindt & Spruengli, the Swiss chocolate manufacturer, said Tuesday it would not meet profit and growth targets this year due to the global economic downturn.

In a statement the company said "2009 is set to be a year of transition, in which long-term growth and earning targets will not be attained."

Roche buys German cell analysis company

Roche buys German cell analysis companyZurich - The Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche would acquire German cell analysis firm Innovatis for 15 million euros, the two companies announced Monday.

"This acquisition is a further step in our strategy to strengthen our position as a complete solution provider in the cell analysis research market," Jurgen Schwiezer, from Roche's diagnostics division, said in a statement.

Hope for Liverpool over Hillsborough date comes from Platini

Hope for Liverpool over Hillsborough date comes from Platini Nyon, Switzerland - European football boss Michel Platini said that the utmost will be done not to make Liverpool play a Champions League match on the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy.

Platini said in a UEFA statement issued on Monday that he sympathises with Liverpool and that UEFA will take the April 15, 1989, tragedy into account when the dates for the quarter-final pairings are decided.

Saudi, Iranian oil ministers: Prices should stand at 60-75 dollars

Saudi, Iranian oil ministers: Prices should stand at 60-75 dollars Geneva - The oil ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran said Monday their target goal for the price of oil was between 60 to 75 dollars a barrel.

"The days of oil as a primary fuel source for the people of the world are far from over," Saudi Minister of Petroleum Ali al-Naimi said.

His Iranian counterpart, Gholam Nozari, concurred with the assessment on the ideal price a barrel of oil should fetch on the market.

Swiss Bankers back move to accept OECD tax offence standards

Swiss Bankers back move to accept OECD tax offence standards Basel, Switzerland - The Swiss Bankers Association said Friday that it supported Bern's decision to offer better international cooperation on tax offences.

"The SBA now expects an end to all improper international criticism of Switzerland and its legal system and also an end to threats to put Switzerland on a so-called 'black list'," the group said in a statement.

Swiss Re finalizes deal with Buffet

Swiss Re finalizes deal with BuffetZurich - Swiss Re said Friday it had finalized a deal to sell Berkshire Hathaway convertible bonds worth 3 billion francs (2.51 billion dollars), but that it had left open the option to buy back the paper should it be able to raise the needed funds.

Swiss Re announced net losses in 2008 of 864 million francs and incurred 5.9 billion francs in write downs on assets, following the financial crisis.

Swiss Life in talks with Talanx over stake in MLP

Swiss Life in talks with Talanx over stake in MLP Zurich - Swiss Life has confirmed Friday that it is in talks with German insurer Talanx about its stake in MLP, a pension specialist.

The Swiss company, the largest insurer in the Alpine nation, owns about a quarter of MLP. According to reports, Swiss Life wants to reduce its stake in MLP.

"Swiss Life confirms that it is also holding talks with the Talanx Group in this regard. Discussions are still at a preliminary stage with no decisions taken," the company said in a statement posted on its Website.

Adoor to judge in Fribourg International Film Festival

Adoor GopalakrishnanIndia's most-acclaimed contemporary filmmaker, Adoor Gopalakrishnan has been selected as a jury member of the international Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF) to be held from March 14 to 21 at Switzerland.

Swiss bank will partially shoulder clients' Madoff exposure

Swiss bank will partially shoulder clients' Madoff exposure Geneva  - A Swiss private bank said Thursday that it would buy back from eligible clients their exposure to the fraudulent scheme run in the United States by Bernard Madoff at 50 per cent of the original cost.

Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) said the "goodwill gesture" towards it clients would see the bank pay for the purchase of the investments over the course of five years.

UBP also announced moves within the bank to improve risk management and research.

Swiss central bank cuts interest rates to weaken franc

wiss central bank cuts interest rates to weaken franc Zurich - The Swiss central bank announced Thursday it would cut interest rates by 25 basis points to a target of 0.25 per cent in an attempt to shore up the economy and prevent deflation.

The use of the monetary policy by the Swiss National Bank would also involve buying up bonds and foreign currency to prevent further appreciation of the franc against the Euro.

Swatch reports drop in profits in 2008

Swatch reports drop in profits in 2008Geneva  - The Swiss watch group Swatch reported Thursday net income of 838 million Swiss francs (723.6 million dollars) for 2008, a drop from the previous year's earning.

The company reported 5.96 billion francs in gross sales, a record, but its income was down from 2007's net income of over 1 billion.

"A noticeable drop in demand in the last months of 2008 mainly at wholesale level reduced the momentum in most brands and markets," the company said in its report, noting that even luxury items did not escape the downturn.

Genentech agrees to Roche buyout

Basel, Switzerland  - Roche, the Swiss drug manufacturer, has struck a deal to buy out Genentech, a United States based biotech group, the two companies announced Thursday.

The move would cost Roche approximately 46.8 billion dollars for the 44-per-cent stake it does not already have in the biotech firm.

Under the agreement, the Swiss group would pay 95 dollars a share. It was only reached after months of negotiations, which at one point led Roche to go directly to shareholders with an offer that Genentech urged them not accept. Analysts felt the San Francisco company was holding out for a better price, as it was insisting on 112 dollars a share, far above market value.

Swiss back protecting banking secrecy

Swiss back protecting banking secrecy Basel, Switzerland - The overwhelming majority of Swiss citizens want to protect their country's banking secrecy laws, a poll released Wednesday showed, in spite of international pressure for change.

The survey, conducted for the Swiss Bankers Association by M. I. S Trend, based in Lausanne, indicated a drop from the previous year, when 81 per cent of those interviewed supported bank-client confidentiality.

Former international prosecutor defends ICC on Sudan

Former international prosecutor defends ICC on Sudan Geneva - The former prosecutor of criminal tribunals in Rwanda and Yugoslavia has backed a recent international arrest warrant against the president of Sudan, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The support from Louise Arbour comes despite the fact that aid groups have subsequently been kicked out of the country in retaliation for the warrant.

Arbour, who has also served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said international justice has made "irreversible" progress in recent years.

Spain lead FIFA rankings, Portugal back in top 10

Zurich  - European champions Spain maintained first place in the world football rankings issued on Wednesday by the ruling body FIFA, with Portugal back in the top
10 at the expense of Turkey.

Spain have 1,666 points for a healthy lead over Euro 2008 runners-up Germany (1,366) and the Netherlands (1,317).

World champions Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Croatia, Russia, England and Portugal complete the top 10. Portugal rose from 12th to 10th while the Euro semi-finalists Turkey dropped from 10th to 11th place. (dpa)

US settlement increases UBS losses for 2008

US settlement increases UBS losses for 2008Zurich  - UBS, the Swiss banking giant, lost more money last year than originally reported, it noted Wednesday, primarily due to a large fine it had to pay United States authorities as part of a tax settlement.

In 2008, UBS lost a record 20.9 billion Swiss francs (18 billion dollars). Last month it had reported losses of 19.6 billion francs and announced job cuts. Most of the losses came from its investment banking sector.

Mercedes E-Class Coupe launched

Mercedes E-Class Coupe launchedGeneva  - Mercedes launched the E-Class Coupe in Geneva just three months after bringing out the saloon version, describing the two-door as the world's most aerodynamically efficient series-production car.

Featuring no B-pillars and fully retractable side windows, Mercedes says the coupe has a drag coefficient with a Cd-figure of only 0.24. The new, four-cylinder engine consumes up to 17 per cent less fuel while at the same time offering more performance and torque.

Infiniti to reveal "visionary" new concept in Geneva

Infiniti to reveal "visionary" new concept in GenevaGeneva  - Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti has announced that it will launch a "visionary" concept, designed in collaboration with fashion giant Louis Vuitton to celebrate the 20th birthday of the luxury segment, at the Geneva Motor Show.

Revealing only a minor detail of the Infiniti Essence, the car maker said the concept will indicate what customers could expect in the near future.




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