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. Unaxis drives back into profit on solar panels and microchips

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by Staff Writers
Zurich, Aug 4, 2006
The Swiss technology group Unaxis announced on Friday first-half profit of 117.9 million Swiss francs (78.6 million euros, 95.0 million dollars), maintaining a surge from loss a year ago with demand for solar panels and semiconductors.

Unaxis made a loss of 116 million Swiss francs in the first half of 2005, following financial trouble in 2004.

Sales in this first half increased by 12.0 percent compared to the first six months of last year to reach 789.2 million Swiss francs, Unaxis said in a statement.

First-half orders were also rose, by 35 percent to 963.0 million Swiss francs.

"2006 is a year of breakthrough and growth," said chief executive Thomas Limburger.

Unaxis signalled that it would look for "targeted acquisitions" to help drive growth as it focuses on technological innovation.

Over the past year, the Swiss group has refocused on products with potential for high growth, such as solar panels, precision components for laser optics, semiconductors and space technology.

Unaxis reported "exceptionally high demand" for flexible thin film solar modules, with orders of 88.1 million Swiss francs over six months, and predicted rapid medium to long term growth.

Sales of semiconductors more than doubled to 132 million Swiss francs in the first half of 2006.

Unaxis said it was reviving the Oerlikon brand name abandoned by the company, formerly known as Oerlikon-Buehrle, six years ago and reorganising the group internally into four business units.

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British high street targets energy-conscious consumers
London, Aug 6, 2006
Eco-friendly Britons seeking relief from soaring domestic energy bills can now pop down the high street and pick up solar panels for their homes. Electrical goods group Currys became the first major retailer in Britain to sell the power panels after Britain experienced its hottest month on record in July.

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