IKEA wins dispute in Russia

Pressure politics helped Ikea win its battle against bribery-inclined local authorities in Moscow, reported DI last week, noting that Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad’s intervention and collective pressure on high-ranking Russian officials helped do the trick.

Ikea was stopped from opening its shopping mall in Chimki outside Moscow last Friday supposedly due to a gas leak threat from the Ikea building. However, Ikea manager for Russia Lennart Dahlgren said the real reason was that Ikea refused to pay bribes to the local authorities.

Kamprad has appealed to President Vladimir Putin to intervene; stressing that Ikea’s investment would benefit the Russian people. Also stepping up the pressure were some 200 fashion shop owners, who signed a petition last Monday urging top Moscow officials to allow the inauguration of Ikea’s shopping mall.

Lack of investment behind high unemployment

Lack of investment is the main factor behind Sweden’s high rate of unemployment, according to the latest forecasts from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.

Stefan Fölster, chief economist at the Confederation, expects Swedish investments abroad in the next two years will be SKr 340 billion more than the amount of foreign investments in Sweden.

The Confederation also estimates that 100,000 persons would have had jobs until 2006 had Swedish investments been kept at the normal EU level. As things stand, the Confederation predicts that the number of registered unemployed will only decline by 16,000 persons up to 2006. This means unemployment will stay at 5 per cent.

H&M beats market forecasts

Clothing chain Hennes & Mauritz posted a 24-per cent increase in November sales year-on-year, soundly beating analyst consensus forecast of 18.9 per cent sales growth. Anna-Karin Envall, analyst at Handelsbanken Capital Markets, said the sales increase was partly an offshoot of the “Lagerfeld effect” which she estimates accounts for 5 to 6 per cent of the growth rate. H&M’s November sales figures are, however, still impressive even if stripped of the “Lagerfeld effect”.

The news shored up H&M shares by 3 per cent to 224.50 crowns.

Swedish tax attracts Scottish venture capital

Venture capital company Star Capital, owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, has bought three subsidiaries from German group Agor, and the main office of the said companies will be moved from Germany to Landskrona in Sweden. Roland Martin-Löf, senior adviser to Star Capital, tax advantages was the key reason behind the decision to set up headquarters in Sweden.

MTG demands seat in TV4’s board

If Norwegian media group Schibsted gains a seat on TV4’s board of directors then Stenbeck’s MTG must also acquire one, says MTG President and CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht. Schibsted on Tuesday rocked the boat at TV4 when it raised its stake in the TV company to 20.1 percent, thus becoming its third largest owner. MTG currently owns 15.1 per cent in TV4.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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