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Schneider confident about annual sales growth

French engineering group Schneider Electric said there had been a strong deterioration in global business in late 2008, but that it was confident of meeting its 2008 annual sales growth target.

When asked if the company had met its 2008 sales growth target of 5.5%, Chief Executive Jean-Pascal Tricoire told Reuters: “We are confident, very confident over the end of 2008.” He said declined to elaborate further.

“We are expecting 2009 to be in the same kind of trend (as 2008), at least in the beginning ... But we are prepared for this new level (of economic activity),” Tricoire said on the sidelines of an economic conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Last month, the company cut its full-year sales growth target to about 5.5%, from a previous level of about 8.0%, because of the worsening economic situation.

Tricoire said Schneider Electric was well prepared to deal with the repercussions of the global financial crisis.

“I'm optimistic about large parts of our business,” he said. (Reuters)