Business Round-Up: Always sunny … in the rich man’s world

Car owners and top earners tend to benefit, but not the common man on the street

Some 11 percent more Danes believe it is unacceptable to avoid paying taxes than they did in 1981, according to a recent study, but many are being given a helping hand by the authorities.

Great for car owners
New figures from the Skattestyrelsen tax authority reveal that 230,000 car owners owe 750 million kroner in unpaid car taxes, and around 100,000 cars are driving around that should have had their number-plates removed.

The main culprit appears to be computer systems that just can’t communicate with one another.

Robots to the rescue
The tax authority is in the process of building a robot system that will be able to automatically send registration numbers to the police.

Around 130,000 cases are at present with the Gældsstyrelsen debt-collecting authority, and they are waiting for the new PSRM system to be implemented to enable automatic debt collection.

If all goes well, the system should be fully functional in 2021.

Rising inequality
In Denmark more than most other European countries, car owners tend to be well off – so many might be buoyed to learn that the richest Danes’ share of the country’s total income has risen to 11 percent – from around 7 percent in early 1990.

The figures, which were calculated by the think-tank Kraka in conjunction with consultancy firm Deloitte, puts Denmark on a par with the UK and ahead of Norway and Sweden where the figure is around 8 percent.

The trend, which has accelerated since the financial crisis, has been driven by top executive wages and increased income from accumulated wealth.

Political will
Socialdemokratiet would like to reverse the trend by restricting the amount people can deduct on salaries over 10 million kroner and by introducing higher taxes on income from accumulated wealth.

“It’s not about envy, but about justice, reasonableness and social cohesion. An equal society is also a more stable one,” Peter Hummelgaard, its political spokesperson, told Jyllands-Posten.

However, the finance minister, Kristian Jensen, is not worried. “Of course there is a limit to how unequal a society can become, but I don’t think Denmark is there yet. We shouldn’t fight wealth but poverty,” he said.

Shah’s defence
In related news, Sanjay Shah, the Dubai-based British businessman at the centre of the biggest tax fraud case in Danish history, has denied all charges.

SKAT last year formally brought charges in a London court in an attempt to claw back some of the 12.7 billion kroner that had been paid out to Shah and an international network of investment banks and private individuals based abroad.

However, Shah claims he only exploited loopholes in the law that other European countries had managed to close, and he blames the Danish authorities for not being sufficiently awake to their vulnerability to dividend arbitrage, which is based on exploiting such loopholes.

New team at bank
SAS operations director Lars Sandahl Sørensen will take over as the new CEO of Dansk Industri on August 1, replacing Karsten Dybvad, who resigned in December to become the chair of Danske Bank. Dybvad will be joined by a new chief executive, Chris Vogelzang, a 56-year-old Dutchman, on June 1. Meanwhile, the FSA has confirmed Henrik Ramlau-Hansen, the bank’s CFO, faces criminal charges.

Novo under fire
Outcry is growing in the US where some diabetics are unable to afford their insulin, and a number of deaths have been reported, with some claiming companies like Novo Nordisk have blood on their hands in their pursuit of profits. Over the last 20 years, the price of some of Novo’s insulin drugs have risen by 300-400 percent.

Top wind nation
Credit rating agency Fitch has identified Denmark as a top investment destination for wind power over the next decade. Highlighting 14.8 GW of future projects, it predicts 3 percent year-on-year growth over the next ten years. In related news, US politicians are again taking an interest in Danish wind solutions.
Watch it go!

Watch designer Nordgreen is again raising funds via Kickstarter – this time for its ‘Pioneer’ and ‘Remodeled Native’ models. At the time of going to press it had raised over 1.63 million kroner – well in excess of its 100,000 kroner goal.

Ørsted can keep name
Ørsted has won a case against seven descendants of Danish scientist HC Ørsted, who contested the energy company’s decision to change its name from Dong Energy in 2017. The Sø- og Handelsretten commercial court has not yet explained its ruling.

Scrapping Iran plans
A number of Danish companies, including Vestas and FLSmidth, have shelved plans to set up shop in Iran following the US’s decision to scrap the 2015 Nuclear Agreement and levy sanctions against the country. Medicinal producers are reported to be the only firms able to continue exporting to Iran at the moment.

SAS in codeshare
SAS has revealed that it has entered into a codeshare agreement with Latvian airline airBaltic. Codesharing involves a commercial arrangement between two airlines, whereby one sells seats on a flight operated by the other. The deal will affect many flights in the Nordic and Baltic regions.

Thanks to Liverpool
Hvide Sande Bryghus has been profiting from the sale of its Liverpool-inspired beers Captain Fantastic (Steven Gerrard) and King Kenny (Kenny Dalglish) via the club’s official Danish fan club site. Two more will be hitting the shelves at the end of May – hailing legends Jan Mølby and Daniel Agger – in time for the Champions League final on June 1.

Bank’s “serious problem”
Nordea risk manager Julie Galbo will leave the bank at the end of May – a move that DR financial correspondent Casper Schrøder confirms is “a sign of serious problems with the bank’s risk control”.

Zero risk accounts
Some 900 billion kroner is currently being held in ordinary deposit accounts at Danish banks, according to Finans Danmark. The figures highlight how few Danes choose to invest their surplus cash, preferring just to leave it gathering next to no interest.

Jewellers go bust
Jewellery company Dyrberg / Kern, which at one point had a presence in 30 countries following its launch in 1990, has been declared bankrupt.

Blue is the colour
Maersk now has its own colour. The Patent and Trademark Office has approved its shade of blue, which means no other company will be able to use it. Trademarks expert Hannah Holm Olsen told DR it was both unusual and difficult to get a colour protected. However, it is not the first, as the pump manufacturer Grundfos copyrighted a shade of red in 2011.

Perils of firing CEO
Hospital equipment producer Ambu saw its shares slide by 20.4 percent on May 17 after it replaced its chief executive Lars Marcher with Juan-José Gonzales. Marcher is credited with taking Ambu from virtually nothing a decade ago to becoming a member of the C25 in 2018. His severance package is estimated to be worth 305 million kroner.

No more Marmite?
Randers-based wholesaler Food From Home, the main supplier of international foodstuffs to the country’s supermarkets for the last 18 years, has been declared bankrupt. Its British owner Dave Darlington, who single-handedly overturned the ban on Marmite in 2014, blamed a service provider for leaving him 1.9 million kroner out of pocket.