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.
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