SSAB: highest emissions

SSAB, Stora Enso and SAS are the biggest climate culprits on the Stockholm stock market, according to a new survey by consultants South Pole Group.

Noel Morrin, sustainability manager at Stora Enso, says it features high on the list because it is more international than its Nordic competitors. The company plans to achieve almost zero emissions through investment and purchasing renewable electricity.

On the other hand manufacturer Atlas Copco performed well. An investment in the company produces a tenth of the emissions as an investment in ABB.

Several top names in firing line

Late on Thursday forestry company Holmen announced that the company’s chair and principle owner Fredrik Lundberg was under suspicion of bribery in connection with Holmen’s hunting trips. Early on Friday morning came the news that deputy chair of investment company Kinnevik and former Finance Minister, Anders Borg, was also under suspicion.

Hans Strandberg, Borg’s lawyer, says, “It concerns a hunting trip he took part in when he was no longer finance minister. However the prosecutor is linking the hunt to his duties as minister.” According to DI the National Anti-Corruption Unit is focusing its investigation on decisions affecting the forestry industry taking by the Ministry of Finance during Borg’s time in office.

Earlier media reports claimed that Anders Borg has paid around SKr 2,500 himself for each hunt, which is considered to be under the value of such a trip. On Friday Borg sent a text message to DI saying: “I am convinced that I have handled this correctly.”

DI reports that the prosecutor is planning to question a further three to six people who participated in the hunts.

Linde concerned

On Thursday afternoon Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that he would not attend a meeting with US President Donald Trump. His move was a response to a planned border wall between the two countries, and the question of who would pay for it.

For every day that passes Professor Henrik Horn of the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) is more and more convinced that Donald Trump intends to realise his trade threats, and that there is a real risk of a trade war, reports Dagens Industri.

Trade Minister Ann Linde (S) is also concerned, saying trade patterns will “deteriorate” when the international rules for global trade are called into question.

However, the minister is keen that Sweden should have good relations with the US, pointing out that Swedish companies employ 330,000 people and is one of the largest investors per capita in the US.

Meanwhile, Anna Stellinger, director general of the National Board of Trade Sweden (Kommerskollegium), fears Donald Trump’s trade action could have direct and indirect impact on Swedish exports and companies.

“The US is our second most important export country in terms of services, and the third most important for exports of goods,” she says, emphasising that 140,000 jobs in Sweden are dependent on US exports.

Businesses tire of train delays

Even though a great deal of effort has been devoted to the upkeep of Sweden’s railways in recent years, the number of train delays has remained virtually constant. This also means that the industry has a long way to go before it can achieve its objective, which is that 95% of trains should arrive on time, or no more than five minutes behind schedule.

The rail industry can find no good explanation for the delays, while businesses are warning that the problems on Sweden’s railroads are undermining their competitiveness.

Lena Erixon, director general of the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) is promising that the focus will now be on ensuring freight trains run on time.

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation (Skogsindustrierna) has pointed out that it now takes longer to send goods by train than it did 10 or 20 years ago.

Calls for government to take action

Shippers and shipping lines faced disruption at the Port of Gothenburg on Tuesday as dockworkers went on strike. The dockworkers’ union has been locked in a year-long dispute with APM Terminals, which operates the container hub.

APM Terminals has slammed Swedish legislation, demanding a review, while the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise has called on the government to take the initiative and amend strike laws.

State secretary Irene Wennemo describes the situation as serious but rules out the possibility of the government wading into the conflict, or of reviewing legislation.

Hands’ recipe to cope with Brexit

Even though the UK wishes to keep close ties with the EU, Brexit will force it to seek trade ties elsewhere, Greg Hands, the minister of state for international trade, tells Dagens Industri in an exclusive interview.

The minister acknowledges that the UK must increase its exports to China and India, but also points out that many of its key markets are in the EU. “We export more to Sweden, the Nordic region and the Baltic region that to China and India together,” he says.

Mr Hands met Ann Linde, the Swedish minister for EU affairs and trade, in Stockholm last Friday to discuss free trade, and tells the newspaper: “We had a very positive discussion on cooperation in various trade fora, including the WTO. We spoke of our common interest in free trade being on the world agenda.”

EU turns to other countries to defend free trade

Talking to Svenska Dagbladet, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström discusses growing concerns over Donald Trump and protectionism. “But we can’t be paralysed by Trump,” she says, telling the newspaper that there is overwhelming consensus on the importance of safeguarding talks and negotiations ahead of the WTO’s ministerial conference in December.

With the EU-US trade deal, the TTIP, frozen for the time being, the EU is eyeing new trade opportunities, particularly in Asia. “Countries are waiting in line already. They call and wonder if we can speed things up now that the US is no longer interested. We have Mexico, Japan and Mercosur wanting bilateral and multilateral agreements with the EU. Our popularity has actually increased, which is positive,” she says.

Telia eyes TDC

The Telia management is keen to acquire Danish operator TDC, according to Dagens Industri sources. However, if Telia is to realise its plans, it will have to raise money to fund the deal through a rights issue to shareholders. TDC is valued at some SKr 40 billion. It is uncertain how the government, which owns a share in the operator, would react to such a move though.

The business daily also reports that TDC intends to take measures to avoid being bought out, and has plans to make an offer on Swedish broadband and cable operator Com Hem, valued at SKr 17 billion.

MTG close to deal

Sweden’s Modern Times Group (MTG) is poised to sell its media channels in the three Baltic countries. SEB has been looking for a buyer for the Baltic businesses since November and a deal that could give MTG a capital injection of one billion kronor is said to be close.

Concerns have been raised over the sale of the businesses, with warnings in Latvia that a change of ownership in the country’s TV channels is occuring at a risky time, given the culture of misinformation that is often part of Russia’s foreign policy.

“I see a risk since we do not know who the purchaser is. MTG has a major influence on Latvian society, and maintains a high standard,” says Aija Calite-Dulevska to the Lsm.lv news website.

Tough blow for Stockholm

In August 2015 the Swedish government announced plans to make Stockholm a leading financial centre in Europe. Seventeen months later, the same government has plans to levy a 15% payroll tax on the financial sector. Such a move could eliminate up to 10,000 jobs in Stockholm, according to the Swedish Bankers’ Association and consultant Copenhagen Economics.

Andreas Hatzigeorgiou, chief economist at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, is deeply concerned, saying the proposed tax would “knock out Sweden’s main economic artery”.