Business: airlines, Coty, LeShop, Solar Impulse, Roche

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Business highlights Wednesday 4 April include:

  • Iata, the airline industry organization, says that traffic increased in February, up 8.6 percent for passenger traffic and 5.2 percent for cargo, but it cautions that with petrol prices rising the outlook remains fragile.
  • Coty, American beauty company that also owns a number of top clothing brands such as Jill Sander and Adidas, is turning its Versoix office, opened in 2005, into a third international head office, just as the company announced its proposal to buy out Avon, a deal worth $10 billion. The Geneva office the company says in a press release, “will complement Coty headquarters activities in New York, US, and Paris, France.With a goal of further developing cross-divisional and joint headquarters collaboration among Coty professionals, the Geneva office forms a third component in Coty’s corporate headquarters structure. It includes a state-of-the-art research and development group linked to a fragrance center of excellence, global and regional commercial teams for Coty beauty and Coty prestige divisions, procurement and supply chain operations, and a regional Northern European finance center.”
  • LeShop published its first quarter results Wednesday, showing a first-ever dip in sales, down 7 percent compared to the previous year: CHF38.5 million. The company notes that sales nevertheless remain strong despite the strong Swiss franc, which is responsible for cross-border shopping tourism. Mobile phones sales continue to grow strongly, up 12 percent, and they now accoount for one in eight purchases.
  • Solar Impulse is warming up for a 2,500km solar-powered-only flight to Morocco in May or June, its first venture beyond Europe and over a large body of water, the Mediterranean. The trip will coincide “with the launch of construction in the region of Ouarzazate of the largest thermo-solar power plant ever built.” It will serve as the warmup for a planned 2014 round the world trip using only solar power.
  • Roche, Basel-based pharmaceutical company, says it is “very disappointed” by the refusal of the board of Illumina to accept a higher buyout bid and it is now turning to shareholders to ask them to voter 18 April for the takeover.