The Sulzer Corporation continues on an upward trend - during the first half year 2000 operating income before goodwill-amortisation and exceptional items rose by 25 per cent from CHF122m ($71.4m) to CHF152 million ($88.9m).

Net income increased by 45 per cent to CHF61m ($35.7m) from CHF42m ($24.6m) in prior year (not including exceptional income from the Electrophysiology divestiture). Order intake rose by 5 per cent to CHF2.9bn ($1.6bn) during the same period, whereas sales practically matched the prior year level at CHF2.5bn ($1.4bn).

Ueli Roost, chairman and delegate of the Sulzer Board, said: "Business developments during the first half year were positive. Above all, Sulzer Medica has achieved organic growth and increased operating income. Sulzer Industries made encouraging progress, mainly in the second quarter. We are well on course with the performance restructuring programme, and disregarding the exceptional items of prior year, we have good chances of increasing net income for the year 2000."

The first half year 2000 was characterised by increasingly positive market developments for most business units. Orders were two per cent above last year's level. Total sales of CHF1792m ($1bn) were still relatively low at 4 per cent below prior year period (adjusted: -1 per cent).

Overall job reductions by the end of June 2000 totalled around 1100 out of the 1900 planned. Resulting cost savings will start to take greater effect during the second semester.

The textile market revival that commenced at the beginning of this year continues unabated. As a result, Sulzer Textil order intake for the first six months of 2000 was 21 per cent higher than in the same period last year. This has brought an unexpectedly heavy workload at all plants. Sales rose by 6 per cent to CHF3.4bn ($1.9bn).

The new multiphase weaving machine has attained the expected production results at reference plants in Europe and the USA - thus providing an excellent basis for future sales in the highly competitive standard fabrics segment. The increase in customer support service business (spare parts and maintenance) has compensated for last year's decline in sales.

In view of the positive developments in the textile market, the higher weaving machinery output, and the measures taken for improving profitability, Sulzer Textil expects a clearly positive operating income for the current year.