January 7, 2011 / 7:38 PM / 9 years ago

Lonza CEO- strong franc to hit Swiss economy-paper

* Swiss-made products will no longer be competitive-Borgas

* Swiss franc rose strongly against the euro in 2010

ZURICH, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The strong Swiss franc will be a major challenge for the Swiss economy in the next five years, Lonza LONN.VX Chief Executive Stefan Borgas was quoted as saying in a newspaper interview on Friday.

“(The strong franc) is going to be one of the fundamental challenges for the country in the next five years and nobody is getting ready for that,” the head of the Swiss drugs industry supplier said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft.

“(Swiss companies) will see zero growth. If operational costs rise 10-15 percent every year, you cannot make up for that with innovation and technology: products made in Switzerland will not be competitive anymore on a global scale,” he said.

The Swiss franc rose about 16 percent versus the euro last year, hitting Switzerland’s export-oriented economy.

Industry leaders like Swatch Group Chief Executive Nick Hayek have warned of the far-reaching consequences the currency situation can have for the country’s economy. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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