Business News in Brief: Turbulent times for Nykredit

Nykredit and its subsidiary Totalkredit have been widely criticised since it was revealed at the beginning of February that mortgage service charges would be increased for almost 500,000 customers. This has led to hundreds of complaints to the consumer ombudsman, who is now looking into the case.

The company also announced, almost simultaneously, that it planned an IPO within the next 12-14 months. The decision came as new international capital requirements for money-lenders are expected to be implemented in the coming years.

The company revealed today that a subsidy has been proposed, which will be considered at its upcoming AGM to give 600 million kroner to Totalkredit in the event of a listing “for the benefit of the company and the customers”.

Construction bankruptcies rising

The number of bankruptcies in the construction industry has increased by 44 percent in the past six months. In February alone, 82 builders went out of business, according to figures from the national statistics office Danmarks Statistik.

Andreas Fernstrøm, the chief analyst at the the construction association Dansk Byggeri, emphasised regional differences in the industry.

“It’s hard to explain the many bankruptcies when you are sitting in your bell jar in the big cities, where there are rising property prices and a lot of building activity, but that’s just the point,” he said.

“There are jobs to go after in some parts of the country, and then there are other areas, where companies to a greater extent have to fight for jobs from house to house – and here there are many who have to call it a day.”

International interest in Wefood

Wefood, the country’s first social supermarket, which sells surplus food, has been attracting international attention since opening its doors last month. The business was recently described as “the world’s most exciting supermarket” by the Washington Post.

“In ten days we have received requests for interviews, photos and videos from over 200 media sources around the world, including some of the biggest media from Spain, France, Italy, Brazil, Taiwan and Vietnam – to name just a few,” said Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen, the head of the humanitarian organisation Folkekirkens Nødhjælp, which is behind the initiative.

READ MORE: Opening of Denmark’s first social supermarket a huge success

Arla announces animal welfare range

The Danish dairy giant Arla is ready to launch a new product range approved by the animal welfare organisation Dyrenes Beskyttelse. Milk in the Essens range, which is to be launched this spring, will be produced by cows housed in larger stalls with access to natural food. “Consumers put more and more weight on animal welfare. This is shown by both our own and external studies,” said Jakob B Knudsen, the Danish country head of Arla.

Zalando accused of sending spam

The online fashion retailer Zalando has been reported to the police by the consumer ombudsman, which accuses the company of violating the marketing law by sending spam. Zalando is alleged to have sent advertisements by email to consumers without their consent.

“As a starting point a company can send emails with advertisements for products that are similar to those the consumer has already bought,” Christina Toftegaard Nielsen, the consumer ombudsman, said.

“But consumers must be able to decline them at the point where they give their email address to the company. The consumers have not been able to in this case. And when consumers don’t have this possibility, it is a case of spam.”