Husqvarna slashes staff in Sweden as profits fall

Swedish outdoor power products manufacturer Husqvarna has responded to a third quarter drop in profits by announcing the closure of factories in Sweden and the USA.

The firm also announced that it plans to increase its workforce in China.

The changes to the firm’s structure will result in the loss of 200 jobs in Sweden and impact a total of 1,200 jobs within the concern worldwide.

Husqvarna plans also to consolidate its sales organisation in Europe and Asia as well as the Pacific rim area, the company explained in a statement in connection with the publication of its third quarter figures on Friday.

The workforce at Husqvarna’s plants in China and Poland will be increased and thus the net job losses will come in at 400.

The programme of cuts announced by the firm include the closure of the so-called Rider factory in Huskvarna in south-central Sweden, the factory in Tansbyn near Östersund in northern Sweden, and the lawn mower facility in Höör in southern Sweden.

The firm’s Spanish production will also be hit with the announcement to concentrate construction sector products manufacture in Ödeshög in south-central Sweden.

The announcement of the cuts comes as the firm, which manufactures lawn-mowers and power tools among other things, reported a drop in profits for the third quarter.

Profits after financial items amounted to 108 million kronor ($15.9 million), in comparison with a profit of 178 million kronor in the corresponding period of 2008.

“Uncertainty over future orders remains as a result of the recession and retailers are expected to retain stocks at a low level,” Husqvarna writes, forecasting that deliveries are expected to decline in comparison with the corresponding period of 2008.

CEO Magnus Yngen in the firm’s report described the market situation as “significantly weaker” during the third quarter in comparison with the corresponding period of 2008.

The reorganization is forecast to cost the firm around 400 million kronor to complete, of which 59 million kronor will be filed in the report for the fourth quarter 2009.

Once completed the measures are predicted to cut the firm’s overheads by 400 million kronor per annum.

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Boys claim woman threatened them with ‘sex or deportation’

A woman who ran a refugee home in central Sweden is under investigation for sexual offences after two Afghan boys claimed she threatened them with deportation if they refused her advances.

Boys claim woman threatened them with 'sex or deportation'
File image of asylum seekers in a Migration Agency waiting room in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The boys, who have not been named, say the woman encouraged them to film her having sex with them, newspaper Eskilstuna Kuriren reports.

She then urged them to watch the films and to phone her when they missed her, they said. 

Eskilstuna Kuriren was given access to the films and believes they show the acts described by the boys, and that the woman can clearly be identified. She rejects the accusations.

The boys told Eskilstuna Kuriren they tried to inform social services and the police about what was happening but nobody listened to them.

They then went to the newspaper with their story on the advice of relatives living in another part of Sweden. 

“The boss at the home forced us into it and exploited us for sex. She knew we had to, and that nobody would help us,” one said. 

The boys say they had sex with the woman on four or five occasions, at a hotel and in her own home in the Sörmland region.

On one occasion all three were in bed together, they say, but mostly one of the boys had sex with the woman while the other filmed. 

The woman also offered the boys alcohol, they claim, saying it would help them enjoy the experience and despite them being under 18, the legal age for drinking alcohol. 

They allege that she promised to buy them clothes and toiletries if they had sex with her, but she also told them she would destroy important documents and get the migration agency to deport them if they turned her down.

They also faced sexual advances from other people in the woman’s social circle, they say. 

In an interview with Eskilstuna Kuriren one of the boys says they would be “stoned to death” if they ever went back to Afghanistan and their story got out. 

The boys were recently moved to a home in a different municipality. Local authorities there contacted the police after learning of their allegations. 

Police confirmed to the newspaper that an investigation into sexual offences was ongoing. They would not specify what the alleged offences were. 

The boys say they arrived in Sweden in November after they were urged by their families to flee Afghanistan and seek a better life.