Madame Wu visits Sweden

Madame Wu, deputy Prime Minister of China, met with King Carl Gustaf, PM Göran Persson, deputy PM Lars Engqvist and Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds in Stockholm yesterday and later in the evening met representatives of Swedish companies at a dinner.

Madame Wu was also present when Zhang Zhigang, China’s deputy Trade Minister, and Leif Pagrotsky, Industry and Trade Minister, signed an agreement on the mutual protection of investments.

On Sunday, Madame Wu and the Chinese delegation visited Ericsson and Ikea and today they will travel to Göteborg to visit Volvo and SKF.

Defence industry pins hopes on export markets

Exports will become increasingly important for the Swedish defence industry as the Swedish Armed Forces restructure, according to this week’s Dagens Nyheter. For Saab, Sweden’s leading defence company, the export market at this time accounts for almost 50% of sales.

Saab now intends to grow via the acquisition of foreign companies and there is a risk that the new job opportunities will disappear abroad, warned DN.

One effect of the defence review is that it will become far harder to maintain competence in the Swedish defence industry, said Peter Larsson, Saab’s press officer.

SMEs meet politicians in bid to find defence solution

Representatives of small- and medium-sized defence contractors will meet Defence Minister Leni Björklund and Industry and Trade Minister Leif Pagrotsky today to discuss the cutbacks in the Swedish defence.

Many of these companies work on material development for the defence units at Saab, Hägglund and Ericsson or directly for the Armed Forces. There is a risk that the cutbacks could mean the end for many of the smaller firms.

Swedish firms missing out on outsourcing

Business process outsourcing is one of the hottest phenomena in the IT field right now with the Swedish market expected to grow by an annual 18 per cent up until 2008, according to IDC. And, while Cap Gemini and Accenture are poised to take market share, Nordic consultants such as WM-data, Tieto Enator and Norwegian EDB are some way behind and risk missing out, according to Nils Molin, analyst with IDC.

Baggage handlers to strike

Talks between the Transport Workers Union and the Swedish Air Transport Industry Employers’ Association broke down this week and the Transport Workers’ Union will give notice of a strike on October 11 among 2,500 baggage handlers and mechanics.

Massive investment in shopping centres

18 billion crowns is to be invested in shopping centres around Stockholm in the next few years. Old shopping centres are to be given a facelift and new ones will be built.

“I find it hard to believe that all of them are really necessary,” commented Meta Troell at the Swedish Federation of Trade.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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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.”