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Huawei loses Swedish appeal over 5G ban

A Swedish court on Wednesday rejected an appeal from China's Huawei over the government's decision to ban the network equipment giant from the rollout of 5G mobile network infrastructure in the Nordic country.

A technician stands at the entrance to a Huawei 5G data center at the Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital in Guangzhou, in southern China's Guangdong province, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. The hospital in southern China's Guangdong Province is using 5G and IoT technologies to collect, transmit and monitor more data in real time, allowing healthcare workers to provide better medical service for patients. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) XHG208
In 2020, Sweden banned network operators from using Huawei equipment in the buildup of 5G infrastructure. Photo: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

The administrative court of appeal in Stockholm said in a statement it believed it was fair to assume that the use of Huawei’s products in central functions of the 5G network “can cause harm to Sweden’s security.”

After the UK in the summer of 2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban Huawei from almost all of the network infrastructure needed to run its 5G mobile network.

Beijing warned at the time that the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority’s (PTS) decision could have “consequences” for the Scandinavian country’s companies in China, prompting Swedish telecom giant and Huawei competitor Ericsson to worry about retaliatory measures.

The PTS’ decision also included a provision that equipment already installed had to be removed by January 1, 2025, which the appeals court also confirmed.

“Sweden’s security is a particularly strong interest and the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority’s decision is based on a real, current and sufficiently serious threat to Sweden’s security,” judge Anita Linder said in a statement.

Huawei first appealed the decision to a lower court which also sided with the PTS in June 2021.

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SAS

Norway ready to reclaim stake in Scandinavian airline SAS

Norway said on Tuesday it was willing to once again become an owner in the struggling Scandinavian airline, co-owned by Sweden and Denmark, four years after pulling out.

Norway ready to reclaim stake in Scandinavian airline SAS

“Given the situation of the company … we can, on certain terms, accept to convert outstanding debt into shares if we consider this necessary,” Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre said in a statement.

Norway sold off its stake in the airline between 2016 and 2018.

But it issued a guarantee of 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner ($154 million) to SAS during the pandemic to ensure the airline’s liquidity when it was hit hard by travel restrictions.

“The Norwegian state will not contribute new capital and will not be a long-term owner of SAS,” Vestre insisted.

SAS is also co-owned by Sweden and Denmark which each hold stakes of 21.8 percent.

The Danish government said on June 10 it was prepared to increase its stake in SAS to up to 30 percent and write off debts of 3.5 billion Danish kroner ($500 million).

The Swedish government has said it would not inject more capital into SAS, but would propose to parliament that SAS be authorised to convert the debt it owes to the state into equity capital.

SAS posted a net loss of 1.5 billion Swedish kronor ($150 million) in the second quarter, compared to a net loss of 2.4 billion kronor a year earlier.

Stressing that the company’s survival was at stake, SAS management in February announced a savings plan dubbed “SAS Forward”. In early June, it announced further plans to raise 9.5 billion Swedish kronor ($968 million) in new capital.

It also aims to convert debt worth around $2 billion into shares SAS said the Norwegian government’s announcement “is appreciated and an important step towards the success of SAS Forward”.

After cutting thousands of jobs due to the pandemic, SAS’ almost 900 pilots are now threatening to go on strike on June 29 over job security and wage issues.

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