Swiss officials investigate bribes at Ericsson

The Swiss authorities have opened investigations into Ericsson’s payment of one billion crowns from Switzerland via Austria to Russia in connection with a railway building project that was never implemented. Ericsson classified the money as a loss allowance, but upon investigation reversed it.

Weaker dollar hits exporters

The US dollar fall is affecting the sales and profits of Swedish export firms. Ericsson, Electrolux, SCA and Sandvik are among those most affected by the decline.

Electrolux, for example, reported in 2003 that 45 per cent of its sales went to North America and that the company had lost 10 per cent of its sales revenue as a result of the stronger crown.

Morgan Stanley has already warned that the weakening of the dollar can lead to Sandvik revising its profit growth to a profit fall in just one year.

LFV concerned over aviation fuel prices

Lars Rekke, director general of the Civil Aviation Administration (LFV) expressed concern over the high fuel prices yesterday, warning that some airlines may go broke. There are two causes for concern, according to the director general. Not only will airlines have to compensate for high fuel costs, high oil prices also curb growth in industry, which has an indirect impact on the number of people flying.

ABB invest in India

ABB plans to invest USD 100 million in a plant for the manufacture of transformers in Vadorada and for the manufacture of other power equipment in Bangalor and Nashik, India.

Wilh Sonesson acquires Friggs

Consumer healthcare company Wilh Sonesson is to acquire health food group Friggs from Semper for 170 million crowns. Friggs posted a turnover of 196 million crowns for the 2003/2004 financial year and net operating income of 22 million crowns.

EU Commission gives go ahead

The European Commission has approved the sale of Skanska subsidiary Skanska Services to British venture capitalist 3I for 1.2 billion crowns.

Swedish consumers becoming more cautious

Swedish consumers have become more cautious with their money and are investing less in shares. They are instead placing their money in traditional savings accounts.

At the end of Q3, 29 per cent of household savings were invested in interest-bearing assets, 27 per cent in equity-related assets and 44 per cent in property.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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Swedish bank’s IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

A technical problem at Sweden's Swedbank on Thursday night gave customers a nasty surprise, with their account balances inexplicably going negative, payments impossible, and Swish payments no longer working.

Swedish bank's IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

By 11.30pm, more than 2,000 Swedbank customers had reported the fault to the site Downdetector, and the problem was still not solved by 17.00pm on Friday. 

“We have an ongoing IT disruption where certain customers see an incorrect balance on their accounts,” a message on the bank’s app read. “The reason is a planned update to our internal systems which went wrong. We apologise, of course, for that and are working as quickly as possible to fix the problem.” 

The Swish payment service has also been affected, with the service, which is owned collectively by Swedish banks, reporting on its site that there was a “technical disruption at Swedbank and Sparbank which might affect Swish payments from these banks”. 

Some Swedbank customers posted their negative account balances on Twitter, expressing shock at the incorrect figures. 

The disruption comes at the worst possible time for many Swedes. Many people are paid on the 25th of the month, meaning this Friday marks the start of the payday weekend. Many will have also scheduled their bill payments for this Friday. 

Marko Saric from Malmö saw his account balance drop by 1.2 million kronor, going half a million kronor into the red. 

“It’s just totally crazy,” he told SVT. “We were going to go out and shop for the weekend. It’s lovely weather and the kids want to go out, but we can’t use our card. We’ve got no cash. Everything is in the bank.” 

“You’re just completely blocked. Colleagues need to make emergency food parcels for you. It’s just crazy that something like this should happen.” 

In its statement, the bank assured customers that their money was “secure”, and that the bank still had the correct information on what their account balance should be. 

“Customers who feel that they have suffered economic damage as a result of the disruption should contact the bank,” the message said.