The board of directors of Schweiter Technologies has appointed Andreas Kunzmann as the new chief executive of its Satisloh division, effective next Aug. 1. Holder of a Ph.D. in physics and chemistry and graduated in business administration from a school in Lausanne, he already has a deep knowledge of material applications for the optics industry as well as a proven track record in various executive functions.

Kunzmann, who was born in 1965, takes the post left vacant after the departure late last year of Urs Meyer, who had led the company since 2001, managing the integration between Satis Vacuum and Loh. Beat Siegrist, former manager of Satis Vacuum and CEO of Schweiter, took over his responsibilities on an interim basis last Jan. 1.

Satisloh made an outstanding contribution to Schweiter's results for 2007. The division's gross revenues grew by 11 percent to 270.0 million Swiss francs (€166.3m-$257.9m), contributing to a 6 percent increase for the group to 487.6 million CHF (€300.3m-$465.7m). Orders went up by 8 percent and the operating margin (EBIT) grew to 15.7 percent of Satisloh's sales, up sharply from 10.7 percent in 2006.

Satisloh's sales of coating machinery and consumables grew by 39 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Geographically, the biggest growth was recorded in the USA and Asia ? up by 23 percent and 19 percent, respectively ? while sales in Europe remained at the high level of the previous year. The company did not break down its sales of direct surfacing technology, but pointed out that the market for this production method is growing by 15-20 percent a year, compared with about 10 percent for traditional methods.

Schweiter booked net income of 49.7 million CHF (€30.4m-$47.5m), 49 percent more than in the previous year. The company said the general economic uncertainty has not visibly weakened its general performance as all the divisions began the new year with solid order books.