Stockholm growth spurt forecast

After years of weak economic development and job cuts Stockholm will grow faster than average in the coming years, according to the latest report from Nordea on regional economy.

The bank has raised its growth forecast for the region and now predicts growth in the Mälardalen region to be 4.4 per cent in 2004 while for the rest of the country it will be 3.7 per cent.

Western Sweden can, however, expect lower growth in coming years. The main threat is the possible closure of GM’s Saab Automobile plant in Trollhättan. Nordea warns that employment levels could fall by 4 per cent in the region.

Skåne is the region of Sweden that has coped best during the recession and integration in the Öresund region has been positive for development.

An increasing number of firms are relocating production to countries in Eastern Europe and Asia, which has a negative impact on industrial regions such as Småland and Western Sweden. At the same time, the number of jobs within the private sector continues to rise – since 1990 the percentage working in the sector has risen from 30 to 43 per cent.

Vodafone launches 3G

British Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator, has said that it will be launching 3G services in 13 European countries including Sweden in time for the Christmas rush.

The operator will be offering some of the latest phones on the market, including Sony Ericsson’s V800, a megapixel camera phone, which could be a big seller.

Oriflame report

Oriflame, the cosmetics company, has posted net income of 133 million crowns for Q3 and an operating margin of 12.9 per cent. Sales amounted to 1.3 billion crowns, a drop of 5 per cent on Q3 2003. The firm has been forced to lower its sales forecast for 2004 from 10-15 per cent down to 7 per cent as growth has levelled off on the important Russian market, primarily as a result of an unsatisfactory product range.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.