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ASTRAZENECA

“Very good year” for Investor

Investor, Northern Europe's biggest industrial holding company, on Thursday announced a strong rise in earnings for 2005 as its core shareholdings staged a spectacular rally.

Net profit for the Swedish investment firm was 43.9 billion kronor, up from 8.7 billion in 2004, which translated into earnings per share of 57.15 kronor compared with 11.39 the previous year.

Investor owns shares in more than 130 companies worldwide, but its core Swedish holdings made up the bulk of the profit rise, with AstraZeneca, Atlas Copco and ABB alone between them accounting for nearly 24 billion kronor of profit.

The total value of Investor’s net assets rose by 42 billion kronor, or 46 percent, and the shareholders’ return from holdings in Investor was 68 percent.

Investor described 2005 as “a very good year”.

The average annual return on Investor holdings has been 17 percent over the past 20 years.

Investor proposed a dividend of 3.50 kronor per share, up from 2.25 kronor in 2004.

AFP

NORWAY

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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