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EMPLOYMENT

Sandvik to slash Swedish workforce in cost-savings drive

Swedish mining and construction equipment maker Sandvik announced on Tuesday better-than-expected third-quarter earnings, but said it would cuts 365 jobs as part of a new corporate strategy.

For the July-September period, the company reported that net profit more than halved to 704 million kronor ($106.54 million) from 1.56 billion kronor in the same period of last year.

The steep drop was largely linked to an expected goodwill write-down linked to the divestment of the instruments and implants part of Sandvik MedTech, and the result was still far better than estimates of analysts polled by the Dow Jones Newswires, who had expected it to post a net profit of 515 million kronor for the quarter.

Sandvik meanwhile logged 23.53 billion kronor in sales for the quarter, which was also above analyst expectations of 22.61 billion.

“With the exception of certain segments, the business climate was positive in the third quarter and favourable development was reported for order intake and invoiced sales,” company chief executive Olof Faxander said in the earnings statement, pointing out that “seasonally, the third quarter is normally the year’s weakest.”

Meanwhile, the company was taking measures to protect itself against the growing global economic crisis.

“In light of the increasing sense of uncertainty as regards the macro-economic conditions in the market, we are increasing the level of readiness to manage any weakening of the economy in forthcoming quarters,” he said.

Putting in place a new strategy introduced last month was part of that preparedness, he said, adding this process was going according to schedule.

In a separate statement Tuesday, Sandvik said its new corporate strategy would entail “a personnel reduction of 365 employees in Sweden,” and that it aimed to cut costs by around 500 million kronor over the next two to three years.

Following Tuesday’s news, Sandvik saw its share price fall 4.49 percent to 86.00 kronor in early afternoon trading on a Stockholm stock exchange down 3.88 percent.

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”

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