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Jun 2, 2013

Insight: Nordic nations grapple with ‘austerity lite’

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – When Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt celebrated his 45th birthday, his finance minister gave him a framed graph showing the tax burden falling to 45 percent of GDP for the first time in decades. It still hangs in his office.

The gift reflected the celebratory mood of a centre-right government boosting economic growth while reducing taxes and cutting unemployment and sickness benefits, shrinking a welfare state that is among the most generous in the world.

Jun 2, 2013

Nordic nations grapple with ‘austerity lite’

STOCKHOLM, June 2 (Reuters) – When Swedish Prime Minister
Fredrik Reinfeldt celebrated his 45th birthday, his finance
minister gave him a framed graph showing the tax burden falling
to 45 percent of GDP for the first time in decades. It still
hangs in his office.

The gift reflected the celebratory mood of a centre-right
government boosting economic growth while reducing taxes and
cutting unemployment and sickness benefits, shrinking a welfare
state that is among the most generous in the world.

May 22, 2013

Stockholm riots challenge image of happy, generous state

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Hundreds of youth have torched cars and attacked police in four nights of riots in immigrant suburbs of Sweden’s capital, shocking a country that dodged the worst of the financial crisis but failed to solve youth unemployment and resentment among asylum seekers.

Violence spread from the North to the South of the city on Wednesday as groups of youth pushed through Stockholm’s suburbs casting stones, breaking windows and setting cars alight. Police in the southern Swedish city of Malmo said two cars had been set ablaze.

Apr 25, 2013

Electrolux pins hopes on U.S. as Europe stagnates

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Household appliance maker Electrolux (ELUXb.ST: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it hoped a recovering North American market would drive growth this year as Europe is stuck in the doldrums.

Sweden’s Electrolux and bigger U.S. rival Whirlpool (WHR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) have cut costs and increased their exposure to faster-growing emerging markets to offset slowing growth in Europe and North America.

Apr 23, 2013

European recovery boosts truck maker Scania’s orders

STOCKHOLM, April 23 (Reuters) – Truck maker Scania
posted a rise in quarterly orders on Tuesday after key European
markets revived and Latin American demand rose, buoying stocks
across the sector on hopes the worst of the downturn might be
over.

Scania’s orders rose 28 percent in the first quarter
year-on-year for trucks and were close to unchanged over the
fourth quarter of 2012, compensating for a bigger-than-expected
drop in first quarter earnings to 17 percent.

Feb 20, 2013

Struggling carmaker Volvo plans more cost cuts

STOCKHOLM/BEIJING, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Chinese car group
Geely’s struggling Swedish brand Volvo is to cut 1,000 more jobs
and save more than $200 million to reach breakeven this year
after sales and Chinese growth have lagged.

Volvo, whose performance has been patchy since being bought
for $1.8 billion from Ford Motor in 2010, also said it and
Geely were to launch a research and development centre, one of
their most ambitious joint plans so far.

Feb 1, 2013

TeliaSonera CEO quits over shadowy Uzbek 3G deal

STOCKHOLM, Feb 1 (Reuters) – The chief executive of Nordic
and emerging markets telecoms group TeliaSonera
resigned on Friday after an in-house investigation into its
purchase of an Uzbekistan 3G licence harshly criticised the
deal.

The report, which TeliaSonera had commissioned from a law
firm, found no evidence of bribery or money laundering as
alleged by Swedish prosecutors, but said a lack of diligence by
the company made it difficult to rule out corruption somewhere
along the line.

Feb 1, 2013

Electrolux pins 2013 growth on emerging markets, U.S.

STOCKHOLM, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Swedish home appliances maker
Electrolux said booming emerging markets and an
improvement in North America would help offset poor sales and
price pressure in Europe in 2013 after posting a
smaller-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter earnings.

Operating income in its Latin American business jumped 90
percent to 657 million crowns, well above a forecast for 459
million, and the company forecast further growth in the region.

Jan 14, 2013

SKF to cut 2,500 jobs as European markets weaken

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – SKF (SKFb.ST: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s biggest bearings maker, is cutting 2,500 jobs to cope with weaker demand, underscoring the bleak outlook for manufacturers as Europe drives through austerity measures to reduce its debts.

The Swedish firm, whose bearings are used in a range of products from washing machines to aircraft, is seen as an early indicator of economic trends due to the breadth of its markets. These include cars and trucks, which have been hit particularly hard by a downturn in consumer and business spending.

Dec 28, 2012

Lithuania PM talks up 2015 euro goal

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Lithuania needs to adopt the euro to stay competitive and the country’s political elite is united behind a plan to join in 2015, its prime minister said.

Echoing his counterparts in neighboring Latvia in talking up the benefits of a currency club that many in the region would prefer to boycott, Algirdas Butkevicius told Reuters in an interview: “We are going to join the euro zone in 2015.”