Swedish bankruptcies skyrocket

September was a tough month for businesses in Sweden, with bankruptcies up 20 percent from the same month last year.

Swedish bankruptcies skyrocket

New figures from credit information company UC show that bankruptcies in Sweden through the first three quarters of 2008 are up 5 percent compared to the same period last year.

“The large increase in bankruptcies is cause for concern, but it’s a reflection of the prevailing economic conditions,” said UC marketing director Roland Sigbladh in a statement.

The largest increases in bankruptcies have occurred in the construction, transportation, restaurant, and service industries.

So far this year, 38 percent more transportation companies have gone belly up compared to the same period last year. The corresponding figure for the restaurant industry is 17 percent, while 8 percent more construction firms have filed for bankruptcy.

And UC expects the trend to continue in the months ahead.

“After several years of decreasing bankruptcies among Swedish companies, an increase in the number of bankruptcies is expected and things like worryingly tough in several industries, which probably means that bankruptcies are going to increase significantly throughout the autumn and into 2009,” said Sigbladh.


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.