India wants Sweden’s help to grow

For the first time India’s government is arranging the business seminar, Make in India, outside of India, and it will take place in Stockholm. India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu is in Sweden together with a delegation of several hundred representatives of India’s government and business. He is meeting representatives of the Swedish government, such as Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Trade Minister Ann Linde and will also participate in Make in India. The aim is to encourage companies within 25 specific industries to station their manufacturing in India.

Speaking to Dagens Nyheter (DN) he says, “We are trying to liberalise for foreign investment more and more. There are openings within all industries.”

Finance Minister and IMF

According to Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shares a view on several issues with the Swedish government, for example concern over the housing market.

She is also grateful for the IMF’s praise for her economic policy. “We are on the same wavelength when it comes to the need for inclusive growth,” she says.

Magdalena Andersson is to attend the IMF’s autumn meeting in Washington and will visit the White House to meet US President Donald Trump’s international advisor.

Bribery accused signed deal with Saab

In November 1998, the South African ANC government announced it would prioritise Saab’s offer, despite the need for 28 Gripen jets being questioned.

A decisive factor was support from the union Numsa and the movement Sanco. By December 1999 CEO of Saab, at the time, Bengt Halse, had signed the Gripen contract with South Africa. Six months earlier he had signed two other contracts for Saab, this time with Numsa and Sanco, both signed by Moses Mayekiso, a well-known union leader.

Prior to the state Seriti Commission, a leading critic Terry Crawford-Browne said he had information of suspect transactions between Saab and Mayekiso, with the aim of paying bribes to MPs to back the arms deal. This has not been proven and Saab denies the allegations.

SvD has now seen the previously confidential agreements. The second, with Numsa, was signed by Mayekiso, raising the question why, as Numsa was represented by other people. He also signed the contract as “industrial co-ordinator for Sweden”. When SvD speaks to Mayekiso, he says that he was a negotiator. He also refuses to answer if he was acting on behalf of Saab or the Numsa, or whether he was paid.

Meanwhile, Bengt Halse says that he does not know who Moses Mayekiso is, and does not remember him.

Leten Ericsson’s salvation

Atlas Copco’s former CEO Ronnie Leten is to become the new chair of Ericsson’s board, news that was applauded by the markets. Johan Forssell, CEO of Investor and chair of the nomination committee commented, “We are unanimous in the nomination committee that Ronnie Leten is the right person for the job.”

He explains that Leten will lead the board and, using his broad industrial experience, will be involved in the vital strategic discussions and support the management in executing the strategic direction.

Although he does not have experience within telecommunications, Johan Forssell emphasises that he does have technical competence, as well as experience of digitalisation of a large business from his time as CEO of Atlas Copco.

New SAS share issues does not appeal to Sweden

On Friday morning, SAS announced the airline will hold an extra meeting on 3 November to seek authorisation for a directed share issue. If the application is approved the company will have the right to issues 66 million common shares, 30% of the total common shares.

Principle owners Denmark, Sweden and Norway are expected to back the request. However in press release from the government, Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg says the state is not going to buy shares as it is not a long-term owner in SAS

Eniro could not withstand competitor

Eniro, the listed telephone number search company, has had huge economic problems in recent years. The company is now one step away from bankruptcy and can only be saved if the banks and a group of investors approve the company’s rescue plan, which has already been voted down by the shareholders.

Kristoffer Lindström, tech analyst at Redeye, says the company’s transition from telephone catalogue to digital services was the beginning of the end. “They have not been fast enough at adapting to the new kind of user behaviour. People have gone from searching locally to searching globally and suddenly Eniro was challenged by enormous tech giants with unlimited resources.”

Business Sweden’s CEO spies trend reversal

“Swedish exports are growing constantly, but not as quickly as exports from some growth countries, so our share of world trade is falling. However, during 2016, figures show for the first time that our share remained unchanged,” says Ylva Berg, CEO of Business Sweden.

Business Sweden regularly produces a report of Swedish exports, which fell from 2.1% on the global market in 2000 to 1.4% last year.

Ylva Berg believes that if Sweden is to defend its share of exports then more Swedish companies need to become established in important regions of growth such as Asia.

Five areas for reform

Writing in Dagens Industri (DI) today, the economic spokespersons for the four Alliance parties, state that the economic boom cannot hide the structural problems and imbalances in the Swedish economy. The gaps between those who have work and those who are dependent on benefits are growing.

They consider there to be five areas in which the government is driving Sweden in the wrong direction, including with its fiscal and economic policy, which they write “risks leading to overheating and an unsustainable build-up of debt.”

The alliance’s joint view on economic policy is that it should be more focused and more austere than the government is presenting. “Over the next three years, we therefore want to increase savings and paying off state debt by SEK 10 billion per year, compared to the government.”

Telia admits bribery

Telia is being fined USD 965, around SEK 7.7 billion, for having bribed those in power in Uzbekistan. The company has reached agreement with the American authorities over corruption accusations and has admitted paying bribes of around SEK 2.6 billion.

The sum is in line with expectations and the company has made provisions for it. The sum is made up of a fine of around SEK 4.4 billion and a further SEK 3.6 billion for profits that they are considered to have made from paying the bribes.

CEO Johan Dennelind writes in a press release that the deal puts an end to a sad chapter in Telia Company’s history.

Swedish business figures slate budget

The government has been generous with the budget because of the coming election, according to chair of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), Leif Östling, who calls it “a typical Social Democrat election budget”.

Collector Bank’s chair Lena Apler agrees, “You can tell we are approaching an election year They are flirting with families and pensioners.” Meanwhile Rune Andersson, chair of Mellby Gård predicts the economy will overheat and wants to see more austerity.

Leif Östling is not impressed with the budget from a business perspective either. “The business world is getting quite a large number of tax increases over the year.” Former chair of Svenskt Näringsliv Jens Spendrup points out that there needs to be more new business in the country because that is where new jobs are created.

Leif Östling wants a review of the tax system for wage earners, pointing out that it makes it difficult for Swedish companies to recruit from abroad.