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Nestlé Eyes The Skies

By Tom Mudd and John S. McClenahen Proving that not everyone is terminally glum about the future of the airline industry, Nestlé S.A. announced that it will invest 100 million Swiss francs (about US $61.3 million) in a new Swiss airline to replace the troubled Swissair. In a statement from its headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé said it "fully" expects to see a return on the investment. The company had opposed efforts to prop up Swissair, which was troubled even before the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States. Nestlé's decision was based on a desire to maintain Switzerland's image abroad, the statement said, and to ensure that the country continues to enjoy regular international flights. The new airline is expected to take to the skies in March 2002. Nestlé's minority stake in the airline will be about 3% of its yearly investment in fixed assets. And Nestlé says it will not assume any kind of management responsibility for the new airline.

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