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.”

Historic order in sight

The government is making a serious attempt to sell the fighter jet Gripen to India, a deal that would be the largest ever in Swedish history with a value far over SKr 100 billion. The Indian government recently sent an invitation to defence group Saab to participate in the tender for fighter jets.

Next week a delegation from Sweden, including enterprise minister Mikael Damberg, travels to India, on the initiative of Marcus Wallenberg, who is leading a new Swedish-Indian business cooperation. ABB’s CEO Johan Söderström, Alfa Laval’s CEO Tom Erixon, financier Carl Bennet and Saab’s CEO Håkan Buskhe will also be part of the delegation.

Mikael Damberg comments on a possible sale of Gripen: “It would not only be the largest deal ever, it would also mean a close partnership between Sweden and India for decades to come, which of course would mean a great deal for Swedish industry and our potential to grow in the whole of Asia.”

Food and e-commerce pushing Ikea’s growth

The Ikea group is putting a new record year behind it. Globally total sales increased by 7.1% to 34.2 billion euros, around SKr 326 billion. E-commerce represents 12% of growth.

  “The growth is driven by everything food related. We see that it is a good platform for continued growth and that the strategy we have put in place is working. We are growing in our existing stores and as long as we see continued good growth there, it will take a lot of expansion to beat that,” says Ikea President Peter Agnefjäll.

  At the end of 2017 Ikea enters a new market with over a billion inhabitants when it opens its first store in Hyderabad in India. Peter Agnefjäll says that Ikea is planning to open stores in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi as well over the next few years.

Charmed Modi

Swedish companies are investing big in India: Ikea is to open 25 new stores over ten years, Saab is hoping to negotiate orders for 100-400 fighter jets and Volvo is introducing its hybrid buses in Mumbai.

The Swedish delegation at the India International Trade Fair, Make, expected a two-minute visit from India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, but Sweden’s trade secretary in India, Anna Liberg says, “We got 20 minutes with him, and he has shaken the hand of 10-15 Swedish CEOs and listened to their plans in India. We have made an extremely good impression.”

Volvo’s CEO, Martin Lundstedt, says, “I put forward our message on sustainability, urban development and public transport systems. And he displayed lots of interest in this, which, of course, means a lot to us.”

India may control Gripen’s future

Earlier this month Saab launched a campaign to sell the Gripen fighter jet to India. CEO Håkan Buskhe was in New Delhi, along with Ulf Nilsson, the head of Saab’s aeronautics division.

This is no small deal we are talking about, comments Svenska Dagbladet. While Sweden has ordered 60 new Gripen E fighters, Brazil 36 and the Czech Republic has just signed an agreement on an upgrade of its 14 fighters (ed), India is probably looking at buying 200. This would certainly boost Saab’s sales, but the company could also lose some control over the fighter jet’s future development to India, according to journalist Tomas Augustsson, who also points out that the process is likely to be long and complicated, and may come to nothing. “And until then, what happens in smaller, neighbouring countries, on their way to acquiring new fighter jets, is more important,” he writes.