Business brief: record export levels

Record-high export levels

The value of Swedish exports increased by 9 per cent during the January-June period and totalled 452 billion crowns, measured in current prices. Imports rose by 4 per cent to total 353 billion crowns.

Exports of electrical items rose by 32 per cent, machinery by 10 per cent and passenger cars by 12 per cent while exports of lorries fell by 16 per cent. Exports of electronics and telecommunication products increased by 16 per cent.

The current account shows a surplus of 99 billion crowns for the six-month period.

Chief executives optimistic

Chief executives at the top 100 listed companies in Sweden are optimistic about the future. Sixty seven percent have already noted a recovery while 9 per cent forecast a recovery within the next quarter. In addition, 72 per cent of those polled believe that the economy will pick up within the next 12 months.

JC abandons German market

After 12 years, Swedish fashion chain JC has decided to close down its six stores in Germany. The chain has lost enormous sums of money as a result of its adventure in Germany; in the past four years alone the German stores have made a loss of 45 million crowns.

And, as a cost-cutting measure, JC has also decided to cut 23 jobs at HQ.

Holmen keen to focus on core business

Holmen CEO Magnus Hall told the press last week that the group is hoping to focus production on newsprint, magazine paper and paperboard. This means that Wargön, which produces coating printing paper, and the sawmill Iggesund Timber could be up for sale but Hall has no immediate plans to divest the two business areas.


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Corporate deals set to take off in Sweden in 2011: report

Sweden is one of the hottest markets in the Nordic region for corporate mergers and acquisitions, according to a new report.

Eight out of ten managers at large Nordic companies surveyed by business consultancy KPMG expected the M&A market in Sweden to grow in 2011.

Corporate deal growth in Sweden’s neighbours Denmark, Norway, and Finland, meanwhile, was only predicted by about 60 percent of the survey’s respondents.

The results of the survey are published as part of an annual review of M&A activity published by KPMG entitled Competing for growth 2011.

“We see that both venture capital firms and industrial firms are well positioned for even more business in 2011,” Christopher Fägerskiöld, head of M&A advising for KPMG Sweden, said in a statement.

According to Fägerskiöld, venture capital firms have had a difficult time selling their holdings during the financial crisis, leading to a pent up need to sell.

“At the same time, they need to show they can make acquisitions, not least those who plan on taking in money for new funds,” he said.

Last year, there were 158 deals in which companies from outside the Nordics bought a Nordic company, an increase of 48 percent.

“The most notable example was that Volvo Cars was sold to Chinese Geely,” said Fägerskiöld.

“It’s the first time that a privately owned Chinese company has bought a large and well-known western European company. It may very well pave the way for similar acquisitions.”

Respondents to the survey singled out China as the non-Nordic country that will likely carry out the most deals in the Nordic region in 2011, followed by Germany and the United States.

“We see a large interest from Swedish industrial companies to strengthen their position in Asia by acquisitions or cooperation with local companies,” said Fägerskiöld.

Many companies feel pressure to act so that the competition doesn’t get to China first.”