ZURICH (Reuters) - Nearly half of Swiss industrial companies may relocate operations abroad within the next three years and almost a quarter made an operating loss last year amid a tentative economic recovery, the Swissmem mechanical and engineering lobby said.
Its survey of members released on Tuesday showed new orders rose 9.5 percent in 2016 versus 2015 but edged up just 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter. Sales fell 1.8 percent last year, although the fourth quarter "did see the beginning of a trend reversal", it said.
"The strong Swiss franc is still a challenge for a very large number of companies," it said.
(Reporting by John Revill, writing by John Miller and Michael Shields, editing by Joshua Franklin)