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CORPORATE

Unibet takes on Swedish government

Unibet, the online sports betting firm, is accusing the Swedish government of defending its monopoly with the aim of securing millions in revenue for the Social Democratic party.

One year ago, Unibet took the Swedish state to court claiming that the Swedish monopoly is in violation of EU rules. The case has not been decided but Unibet’s lawyers are now sharpening their tone and attacking the Social Democrats’ money-spinner, the ‘A’ lottery.

The Social Democrats and its youth league annually receive some 80 million kronor in revenue from the lottery. The lawyers therefore conclude that the state’s defence of the monopoly is not merely aimed at filling the coffers of the Treasury.

Meanwhile, DN reported that the European Commission has sent a letter to the Ministry of Finance requesting an explanation as to design of the betting monopoly.

Saab marketing JAS Gripen in Eastern Europe

Åke Svensson, chief executive of Saab AB, announced on Friday that the defence group had begun to market JAS Gripen fighter jets in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia.

Svensson also reported that Brazil’s decision on the JAS Gripen may be delayed until next year.

Mexican minister calls for more Swedish investment

Fernando Canales, Mexico’s Minister of the Economy, who was in Sweden last Wednesday, would like to see more Swedish companies investing in Mexico. The Minister considers Swedish firms to be somewhat too analytical but he admits at the same time that bureaucracy and corruption are obstacles for Swedish companies wishing to invest in the country.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri

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CHINA

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.”

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