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MINING

Reinfeldt and Pinera sign ‘green tech’ agreements

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera signed cooperation agreements on mining, forestry and “green technologies” on Thursday.

Reinfeldt and Pinera sign ‘green tech’ agreements

“A country that will invest $50 billion during this decade in mining has to make an effort because mining is sustainable,” Pinera said.

Chile relies heavily on exports of its natural resources. Copper alone provides one-third of government revenue, according to US estimates. Lithium, iron, wood and fruits are among Chile’s exports.

Mining and forestry, said Pinera, “are very important to both nations.” The “green technologies” agreement focuses on urban development that protects the environment.

Reinfeldt, concluding a four-day official trip to Brazil and Chile, spoke earlier Thursday at an energy seminar before meeting Pinera at the presidential palace.

Earlier in the trip, Reinfeldt discussed ethanol production, environmental concerns and technological cooperation with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

On Wednesday, Reinfeldt told Brazilian business leaders that there should be a global “green economy” with sustainable growth. He said it would be a huge challenge but that “there is no alternative.”

During his trip to South America, Reinfeldt has expressed hope that these ideas will gain more widespread support at the “Rio+20” UN Conference on Sustainable Development next year.

“We need a better common understanding of green economy, and Rio+20 could get us closer to such an understanding,” Reinfeldt said Tuesday.

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BRAZIL

Defence giant Saab sees surprise fall in profits

Swedish defence giant Saab announced a surprise drop in first-quarter operating profits on Friday, while the company took a 3.8 percent tumble on the Stockholm stock market.

Defence giant Saab sees surprise fall in profits
Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe at a press conference on Friday. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Saab made a gross profit of 122 million kronor ($14,000) in the first quarter of the year, compared to 234 million kronor in the same period in 2014. Analysts had previously predicted profits by 244 million kronor in the first quarter of 2015, according to Reuters.

But Saab repeated that its prediction to see the year's organic sales grow above its long-term annual five percent target still stood.

"The year starts strong and positive based on on our prediction in February," said Saab boss Håkan Buskhe in a press statement on Friday.

"Our view for the total year still stands," he added and said that the geopolitically unstable situation in Ukraine was by and large beneficial to Saab.

"There's a strong increase in defence spending in Eastern Europe, while the attitude in Western Europe is more reluctant," said Buskhe.

He also said that a deal with the Brazilian government to build and sell 36 Jas Gripen fighter jets worth around 39.3 billion kronor was expected to come into force in the coming months. The company announced on Friday that it has agreed to also provide weapons to the jets at a value of 2.1 billion kronor.

The Local reported earlier this month that Brazilian prosecutors were investigating the Gripen deal, which was officially signed by Brazil's federal government and Saab in October, after a year of negotiations. The total price of the jets had then gone up by $900 million (around 8.3 billion kronor in today's exchange rate), which prompted prosecutors to initiate a probe into why the bill had sky rocketed.

Saab confirmed at the time that Brazil's public prosecutors were investigating the purchase – but underlined that no suspicion of criminal activity had yet been announced.

Saab is one of the world's leading defence and security companies and has around 14,700 staff around the world.

The company recently hit the headlines after it was initially excluded from a major new submarine-building programme in Australia.

The firm reported soaring annual profits in 2014 and forecast stronger arms sales this year in response to conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.

It sells the Carl-Gustaf rocket launcher used by US armed forces and this month announced a new multimillion dollar deal to help Norway update its core weapon detection radar system.

The Saab aerospace and defence company is not connected to Saab Automobile.