International jeweller shells out over breach

Last updated 08:00 24/12/2013

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International jeweller Tiffany was ordered to pay watch company Swatch about 402 million Swiss francs ($547 million) in compensation over a contractual dispute, the companies said on Sunday.

The Netherlands Arbitration Institute also required Tiffany to pay more than US$9 million ($11 million) for the Swiss watchmaker's legal fees and the cost of arbitration, according to a statement from the New York-based jeweler.

"We were shocked and extremely disappointed with the decision of the majority of the arbitral panel," Tiffany chief executive Michael J. Kowalski said in a statement.

"We do not believe that the award will impact our ability to realise our existing business plans in the short or long term."

He said the company would review its legal options.

The dispute arose in 2011 when Swatch canceled its cooperation with Tiffany, with Swatch saying at the time the jeweler was in breach of contract because it was trying to "block and delay" a joint venture both companies had entered in 2007.

That year, they announced a 20-year agreement where Swatch would create a new company, Tiffany Watch, to make and sell watches under the Tiffany brand.

Swatch was to sell the watches at Tiffany stores and other high-end retailers and share the profits with Tiffany.

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- AP

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