• Sweden edition
 
Alliance faces defeat in sale of state-owned firms
Swedish Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman

Alliance faces defeat in sale of state-owned firms

Published: 21 Jan 2011 12:12 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Jan 2011 19:03 GMT+01:00

The Sweden Democrats announced their support for the opposition's proposal when it was first presented on Tuesday, and the Left Party has also said it will back the motion, Sveriges Radio reported on Friday.

State-owned enterprises that would be up for grabs include Posten Norden, TeliaSonera, SBAB and Vattenfall.

"We will almost certainly support the line of the Social Democrats and the Greens," Sweden Democrat spokesman William Hahne told AFP.

The government, which does not have a majority in Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag, plans to sell state assets worth 25 billion kronor ($3.8 billlion) per year during its current term in power.

When Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's coalition government first came to power in 2006, it received parliamentary backing for its plans and has already sold Absolut Vodka maker Vin & Sprit, a chunk of telecoms giant TeliaSonera, its share in the Nordic and Baltic stock exchange operator OMX and part of the postal service, among others.

Before winning re-election last September, the government reiterated its intention to let go of part or all of TeliaSonera, Nordea bank and mortgage lender SBAB. It has said energy company Vattenfall and its share of Scandinavian airline SAS could also soon go on the block.

The government however lost its parliamentary majority in last year's vote, which ushered the far-right Sweden Democrats into the house for the first time and if the opposition parties join forces they can block the planned sales.

The motion will likely go to a vote sometime in March and Hahne of the Sweden Democrats said the party's mind was almost made up.

"We are among other things against having Swedish energy production interests fall under the influence of foreign power games," he explained.

"The state should control the very important infrastructure, like for instance water (hydro) power," he added.

Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman pointed out he had just received the opposition's motion and had not yet had time to analyse the effects in full.

"However, it is risky to own shares in the financial sector. During a financial storm, those who possess a large amount of state debt can get in the most trouble. As such, it is important to force down the national debt," he said at a press briefing.

"I also noticed that Nordea is not on the list, so we will proceed with the sale of Nordea shares. The Nordea plan is still on track," he added.

Norman also emphasised that the government has no plans to try to form a majority with the Sweden Democrats.

"We have no contact with the Sweden Democrats and it still applies," he said.

Speaking later on Friday with the AFP, Norman blasted the planned opposition motion.

"It is unfortunate ... The plan was to try to raise 100 billion kronor ($15 billion) for state coffers by selling shares of (Nordea, TeliaSonera and SBAB)," he said.

"That would entail reducing our public deficit by the same amount," he said.

"We clearly saw amid the financial problems last year that countries with high public deficits can be in a lot of trouble, so this is unfortunate for both Sweden and the tax payers," he said.

The announcement of the Sweden Democrats' support for a halt to the selloff of state-owned assets sent the krona falling to 9 kronor against the euro, its lowest level so far this year.

The decline is also in line with the global strengthening of the euro, however.

The currency received a boost last week after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said that inflationary pressures in the eurozone could imply that the ECB was prepared to begin raising its key interest rate from a record low this past autumn.

"The euro has strengthened against both the krona and other currencies, even against the dollar. After that, there may be a halt in state selloffs on the margin. It probably plays a small role. However, it is not the main cause of the krona weakening," said Jenny Mannent, currency strategist at Handelsbanken, to the TT news agency.

The reaction to the Sweden Democrats' announcement mainly relates to the market envisioning a smaller flow of foreign currency in Sweden than expected should state-owned companies not end up on the auction bloc. This in turn negatively affects the exchange rate.

"It is of course expected that there would be some foreign buyers here. From a flow point of view, it is negative for the krona," explained Mannent.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

12:39 January 21, 2011 by big5
According to Expressen, the xenophobic Sweden Democrats expressed the worry that Swedish "Vattenfall" might be bought by "some Middle Eastern country, for example".

"Det skulle se väldigt märkligt ut om Vattenfall skulle börja säljas ut och så skulle en annan stat, kanske i Mellanöstern, börja köpa upp det här företaget."

http://www.expressen.se/ekonomi/1.2299690/oppositionen-hotar-stoppa-utforsaljning

The only way the red-greens can pass this is by getting the support of these Sweden Democrats with their racist innuendo, something the red-greens shrilly and solemnly promised never to do during the election campaign.
13:15 January 21, 2011 by Nemesis
Selling of state assets is what happened in the UK.

All that did was make a few select bankers and brokers rich.

It forced up prices and standards down.

Ordinary people have had to bear the brunt of the price rises and lack of good service since privatisation.

Opposition to this paln is a good idea.

This plan is purely to put money into a few pockets of some already rich people at the expense of the nation.
15:31 January 21, 2011 by Acero
LOL @ Big5. Nice comment!

Ya gotta hand it to them SD's!

"Vattenfall" might be bought by "some Middle Eastern country"......its so wrong of them to say it...but kinda right....just ask the yanks have they the sh*ts with who owns all their large ports!!!

I think Sweden should stay swedish myself :D
15:36 January 21, 2011 by Dr_B
Good idea to block this.

Having lived in the UK through all of our privatisations I would concur with Nemesis that a small number of people become extremely rich out of this and the general public suffer. Its literally a licence to print money for those with financial interests in former state-run industries...a good gig if you can get it.

Just take our railways for example, still as big a shambles as they ever were but year after year the management and execs award themselves lavish bonuses despite not delivering any improvement.

The short term benefits are not worth it.
20:07 January 21, 2011 by miss79
oh my god, then sweden will be NOTHING left..fredrik, u really messed up the whole thing in sweden now!
01:25 January 22, 2011 by Crocs
If the SD's oppose this even for their bizzare racial twist on things then great! Selling off state assists is not exactly a good thing for the people of Sweden, great if you're up on top and will have a nice hefty bonus on the way, but as another poster said, it will just lower the standard of living and push up every day costs.
10:13 January 22, 2011 by Ravioli
They did not oppose it for any racial reason. Give that angle a rest for a minute. Jeez.
11:46 January 22, 2011 by Borilla
The same people who have been crowing about how well the Swedish economy is doing are now saying that the Swedish people's assets must be sold in the private sector because high public deficits can be a lot of trouble. It seems to me you can't have it both ways. If the economy is doing so well, why do public assets need to be sold? Those commentators from the UK are absolutely correct. Sale of public assets to the "private sector" puts money in the pocket of a few insiders in that "private sector". One of the best examples is British rail which seems to be running neck and neck with SJ for dismal performance but continues to line the pockets of that "private sector". It is so nice to have friends in high places.
16:10 January 22, 2011 by AHA
Statistics show that the SDs casted their votes with the Alliance on 90% of the proposals in the parliament. In this case they have come to their senses. Please mr Reinfeldt, STOP SELLING THE COUNTRY.
11:47 January 23, 2011 by big5
@Ravioli: "They [SD] did not oppose it for any racial reason."

SD expressed the concern that countries "in the Middle East" might purchase shares in Swedish corporations. This plays on voters' prejudices against Middle Easterners.
Today's headlines
Three hurt after northern knife attack

Three hurt after northern knife attack

Three people are in hospital after they were stabbed during what police suspect was a gang-related attack in Umeå. READ  

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm police rushed to the scene when a worried Swede reported that their neighbours were the victim of a break-in - but when officers arrived, they found nothing but a ninja in the middle of practice. READ  

Elections 2014
Liberals hint at bringing back conscription
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Liberals hint at bringing back conscription

With Russia becoming "all the more aggressive", the Liberal Party leader and education minister, Jan Björklund, has suggested that Sweden may have to reintroduce conscription. READ  

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Roles were reversed in a bear hunt on Thursday night, when a Swedish hunter was attacked by his prey, leaving the man in hospital in a serious condition. READ  

How immigration became a key election issue
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

How immigration became a key election issue

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt sparked a furore with recent comments that put rising refugee costs in focus before the elections. But why did he bring it up, and will it affect the outcome? READ  

 Saab carmaker fails in bid for receivership
Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Saab carmaker fails in bid for receivership

A Swedish court has rejected a request from the Chinese-owned automaker NEVS, which owns the financially-troubled Swedish brand Saab, to be placed in receivership until it could attract new financing. READ  

Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
The view of Kebnekaise's southern peak, soon to be the second highest peak in the country. Photo: Stockholm University

Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year

Mount Kebnekaise's southern peak will no longer be the highest point in Sweden by 2015, researchers predicted on Thursday, adding that the change will spell a major blow for tourism in the region. READ  

Gothenburg preschools end school photography
Moments like these are a thing of the past for Gothenburg preschoolers. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Gothenburg preschools end school photography

Preschool managers in Gothenburg have decided to ban class photos at preschools in their municipality, citing the different financial situations of families as one reason for the change. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
This is Stockholm. Don’t worry - be happy. File photo: ASIFE/iStockphoto

Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm

Many consider Sweden a pretty safe place to live, but what if an icicle pierces your little toe or a ray of midnight sun sets fire to your kettle? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered when it comes to sorting out insurance in Sweden. READ  

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
The cast of The Cold Swedish Winter.

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show

The Local chats to UK funnyman Danny Robins about his new radio show The Cold Swedish Winter, which is making waves on BBC radio. He talks elk, moose, and what it means to be a Swedophile. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

759
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se