Sweden's new business code of ethics finalised

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The government yesterday finally handed over the new code of ethics for the business sector after months of bickering and criticisms on the proposed guidelines.


Erik Åsbrink, head of the Confidence Commission, passed on the Code of Ethics and Conduct to Nordea’s Hans Dahlborg, who will administer and develop the new guidelines. Self-regulation according to the principle "follow or explain" is the slogan of the new code that will start being applied on July 1 next year.

The new guidelines are aimed at restoring public confidence in the business sector, which had been tainted by several scandals in recent years.

Vattenfall raises bid for Danish Elsam

Vattenfall is raising its takeover bid for Danish electricity supplier Elsam to more than 20 billion crowns, in an aggressive move that threatens the merger between Elsam and Danish gas producer Dong.

A new, sugar-coated bid of 19 billion Danish crowns, or 24.7 billion Swedish crowns for 76 per cent of the shares in Elsam could catapult Vattenfall into a major player on the Danish electricity market.

"If Vattenfall pushes through with its bid then the merger [of Elsam and Dong] will collapse," said Henri Lei Jacobsen, CEO of electricity distributor Elro.

However, Danish Finance Minister Thor Pedersen is opposed to Vattenfall buying out Elsam. "One has to keep in mind that Vattenfall is the wrong name. It is the Swedish state. It isn’t a company like all the others," he said.

Companies see lower prices 2005

Lower prices on food and clothing may lead to even lower inflation ahead, with the economic barometer for consumer goods sales still heading downwards, according to the National Institute of Economic Research (NIER).

"Forty-percent of the companies see lower prices next year," said Roger Knudsen, in charge of the barometer at NIER. This is the fourth quarter in a row that a growing majority of companies in the food business predict lower prices.

Funds of major banks a fiasco

In five years nearly 94 per cent of the funds run by major banks have fared worse than the index. Worst performers are Föreningssparbanken, SEB and Handelsbanken whose respective funds have failed to beat any of the categories reviewed in a major survey.

"It is worse than I had ever thought," said Mats Wester, editor-in-chief of the Sparöversikt publication.

Nordic stock markets predicted to rise 25% next year

The Nordic bourses are seen rising by 25 per cent next year, fuelled by the absence of interest rate hikes, according to Swedish broker Carnegie.

"A key argument for a strong bourse is, apart from an extremely attractive valuation, that we don’t think that the central banks will raise interest rates as much as expected by the market," said Magnus Matstoms, head of research and analyses at Carnegie.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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