Sweden breaks trend of rising bankruptcy figures

The number of Swedish companies filing for bankruptcy has dropped for the first time since June 2008, new figures show, although many companies continue to struggle.

According to the UC credit rating agency, 543 companies went bankrupt in October, a 7 percent drop compared to the same month last year.

“Even if the number of bankruptcies is relatively high, this month’s development shows that the effects of the financial crisis and the rapid worsening of economic conditions which started last autumn are abating, which in our case has temporarily led to a stabilization in the number of bankruptcies,” writes UC head of marketing Roland Sigbladh in a statement.

The drop in bankruptcies in October was spread evenly across different industries. From a regional perspective, Stockholm and Skåne were the counties which contributed most to the reduction. In Västra Götaland, however, bankruptcies continue to rise.

“The bankruptcy figures for Stockholm in October were low thanks to the region’s many service and trading companies, while Västra Götaland was hit primarily by an increase in construction bankruptcies,” said Sigbladh.

Despite the positive signs taken from October’s figures, the accumulated number of bankruptcies since the start of 2009 is still 33 percent higher than corresponding figures for 2008, according to UC.

In addition, many Swedish companies continue to face economic challenges due to weak demand. New orders remain weaker than normal, at the same time as many companies are being forced to cut prices.

“Demand is the biggest problem. And developments in the export sector have hit many suppliers hard. Many companies are fighting for survival, said Sigbladh.

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Sweden and UK strike deal to get more artillery to Ukraine

Sweden on Thursday announced a deal to sell its Archer mobile cannon system to the United Kingdom, allowing London to donate its older AS90 artillery system to Ukraine.

Sweden and UK strike deal to get more artillery to Ukraine

The Swedish government said in a statement that the UK would purchase 14 Archer units.

Stockholm announced in January it would also be sending the Archer system directly to Ukraine without specifying an amount, and on Thursday it said it would send eight pieces.

The Swedish-developed Archer system is a fully-automated howitzer mounted on an all-terrain vehicle, which allows the gun to be remotely operated by the crew sitting in the armoured cab.

“Artillery such as the Archer, together with armoured vehicles and tanks, increases Ukraine’s defence capability and enables them to retake territory,” Swedish Defence Minister Pal Jonson said.

Britain said the 14 Archer systems would serve as “an interim replacement for the 32 AS90 artillery systems the UK gifted to the Armed Forces of Ukraine”.

London announced it was sending the AS90 to Ukraine in January. Sweden’s government said it had so far pledged 16.9 billion kronor ($1.6 billion) worth of military support for Ukraine.

In February, Sweden joined a slew of Western nations pledging heavier weapons for Ukraine, by promising “around 10” of its Leopard 2 A5 tanks, as well as the IRIS-T and HAWK anti-air missile systems.