July 18, 2018 / 5:15 AM / in 3 months

UPDATE 1-Swatch Group expects further growth in H2 after H1 net jumps 67 pct

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ZURICH, July 18 (Reuters) - Swatch Group said on Wednesday it expected further growth in the second half of the year after net profit rose by 67 percent in the first half, helped by improving demand for Swiss watches in Asia and America.

Swiss watchmakers have seen sales bounce back this year after a prolonged downturn and margins and profits are now following suit.

"The month of July continues the very positive trend. The second half of the year offers excellent opportunities for continued strong growth and further expansion of market share," said the world's biggest watchmaker, whose portfolio spans expensive Breguet, more affordable Longines and plastic Swatch timepieces.

Net profit jumped by 67 percent to 468 million Swiss francs ($467.44 million) in the first six months of 2018 and the operating margin recovered to 14.7 percent from 10 percent in the year-ago period.

Sales rose 12.6 percent at constant currency to 4.266 billion francs, driven by growth in all regions, led by Asia and America, Swatch Group said. ($1 = 1.0012 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by John Miller and Vyas Mohan)

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