Swedbank backs down

After Dagens Industri’s revelations of private property deals by senior executives at Swedbank, the bank has chosen to back down with Göran Bronner, chief finance officer, saying in an internal memo that in hindsight the bank should have acted differently and that the holding will be sold with immediate effect.
Michael Wolf, chief executive of Swedbank, has also said the bank will tighten the rules on private joint-venture investment with external investors. (DI: 8)
Teen suspect behind bank hack crime
Police have remanded into custody a 16-year-old from Växjö in connection with several suspected hack attacks against Swedbank and Nordea during the autumn. The teenager is also suspected of demanding a ransom to stop the attacks.
He is suspected of having controlled around 20,000 computers from his bedroom.
“We have a clear picture of the motive, which includes factors other than money, but we cannot comment,” said Mats Ljungqvist, state prosecutor in the case.
The maximum sentence for hacking and attempted bribery is between six and two years.

Riksbank voices concern

Falling house prices and a sharp decline on the stock market could pose a serious shock to the economy, warns the Riksbank in its latest financial stability report. Indebtedness in the household sector has increased since June to an average quota of 175%.
The mandate for macroprudential policy of the Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) should be clarified as soon as possible, as well as further necessary measures to manage households’ indebtedness, urge Stefan Ingves, the Riksbank governor and Kasper Roszbach, head of the financial stability department.
“Although asset prices have partly declined recently the Riksbank’ analysis shows that current valuation of Swedish equities is high by historical standards, and therefore implies an elevated risk of a fall in equity prices,” states the report.

15 ways to keep Ericsson Swedish

In response to possible future plans by US company Cisco to buy Ericsson, DI outlines a fifteen-point action plan for the Swedish telecom network provider to increase profitability and live on as an independent Swedish company.
Among them, DI suggests Ericsson should launch a profitability target, learn from the strategic partnership with Cisco, but from other angles describes the US company as an unsuitable owner.

Weapons giant buys Swedish

US defence industry company Lockheed Martin has partnered with Sweden’s Exechon AB, founded by inventor Karl-Erik Neumann, and with entrepreneur Peter Settman on the board, and a local partner Injaz National to form a joint venture company Exechon Enterprises for industrial robots. Lookheed Martin will own 40% of the new company, Injaz National will own 51%, and Neumann and Settman will together own 9%. Boeing and Airbus have already placed orders. The new company and production plant will be based in the UAE.

Thumbs up for green tax

Six out of Sweden’s top ten entrepreneurs and business leaders welcome a global carbon tax to limit greenhouse gas emissions, shows a fresh survey by Ipsos and Dagens Industri. Only one fifth of those polled consider it to be a bad idea. The transport sector is the most negative, with 43% against such a tax.
“They seem to think that it’s an advantage to have a global system rather than complex, regional rules,” says Ipsos’ analyst Johanna Laurin Gulled.
The Haga Initiative business initiative says the survey reflects an interest from industry to tackle climate change and sends a strong signal to politicians that they have a mandate to push hard for a carbon tax at COP21 in Paris.
The Ipsos survey also shows that a majority of Sweden’s business elite (7 out of ten) lack confidence in the government’s environmental and climate polices.

Fortum CEO slams subsidies

Like his colleagues at Vattenfall and E.ON, Fortum CEO Pekka Lundmark is highly critical of Sweden’s tax on nuclear power production, and expresses surprise over Swedish politicians’ lack of foresight. “The public sector is in need of tax income, but if you just keep raising taxes until you force the closure of your source of income, then you will have no tax income at all,” he says.

Lundmark believes that if the world is to be saved from greenhouse gases then it has to be done via market mechanisms. He would like to see a hike on carbon taxes and the scrapping of subsidies.

Fresh blow to embattled steel industry

Europe’s steel industry has accused China of dumping products on the market and has called on Brussels to deploy EU trade policy instruments to counter unfair competition. The call has come as the European Commission prepares to announce that it may grant China market economy status as of December 2016. If Brussels does decide to recognise China as a market economy, the EU will be robbed of some of its powers to impose such measures.

In an analysis presented last week, Handelsbanken Capital Markets claimed that China could not be accused of dumping products on export markets since the price of export steel is higher than that of steel sold in China. Mathias Ternell, director of international affairs at the Swedish Steel Producers’ Association, says Handelsbanken’s claim is irrelevant since China is not a market economy; therefore the price of steel on its domestic market has not been set according to market principles.

Nordea: refugees lift GDP

Nordea predicts that Sweden’s GDP will grow by around 0.5 per cent in both 2016 and 2017 as a result of refugee arrivals. The assessment is based on the Swedish Migration Agency’s (Migrationsverket) estimate that around 300,000 people will seek asylum in Sweden 2015-2017.
The growth in immigration expected in 2016 will cause the workforce to grow, which “raises Swedish growth potential and reduces the negative economic effects of an ageing population,” writes Torbjörn Isaksson, head analyst.