Union outraged at ICA job threat

HTF, the union representing ICA employees, is outraged at the company’s plans to make 500 people redundant at a time when a dividend of more than SKr 5,000 million is being paid.

Last week ICA announced plans to cut 425 jobs in Sweden and 75 in Norway as a means of lowering costs by one billion crowns a year to enable it to reduce prices. ICA is having to take this action in response to much stiffer competition and pressure on prices from firms such as Lidl and Netto, and in face of the possibility that Tesco or Wal-Mart might move into the market.

Digital cameras selling well

Digital cameras have been selling well in 2004. More than 650,000 cameras will have been sold this year, which is up by 40 per cent on 2003.

Swedes travel more while dollar is weak

The falling dollar is stimulating foreign travel by Swedes, especially to the USA and destinations such as Mexico and Aruba. Fritidsresor, Apollo and My Travel all note the same trend.

Gambro to sell MacGregor to Kone

Gambro is clearing the decks of all the companies left in its possession since its days as an industrial conglomerate, when it was known as Incentive. It is now selling marine equipment company MacGregor for a capital gain of some 400 million crowns. Gambro will now be a focused medical technology company. It has three legs: dialysis clinics, dialysis equipment, and blood technology. Industrikapital is also selling its interest in MacGregor to Kone Corporation. The total proceeds will amount to 1,650 million crowns.

IKEA in Russia

“The business climate in Russia has deteriorated,” says Lennart Dahlgren, head of IKEA’s Russian operations.

“We get blackmailed, activities are sabotaged, people demand bribes, and so on. We are totally exposed to the personal whims of local magnates.”

IKEA currently has four stores in Russia: two in Moscow, and one each in St Petersburg and Kazan. It plans to build further stores in 15-17 major cities.

Hilding Anders buys French bed manufacturer

Swedish bed manufacturer Hilding Anders is to buy André Renault, which has annual sales of 310 million crowns. The company’s aim is to raise its share of the European bed market from the current 14 per cent to 18-20 per cent within two or three years.

“We expect our next acquisition to be in Spain or Italy next year,” says Anders Pålsson, MD of Hilding Anders.

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.”