Business Round-Up: Majority don’t expect a pay rise

More optimism about economy, according to Randstad survey

According to a new survey by the Randstad recruitment agency, just 39 percent of Danes expect to see a pay rise in 2020 – the second-most bleak outlook in the OECD. Additionally, only 28 percent of Danes expect to get a bonus.

“A great proportion of the Danish labour market is regulated and tied up in various wage agreements, while many salaries are price-regulated and are therefore so small that people don’t see it as a wage increase,” noted Nima Astanehdost, the CEO of Randstad Denmark.

According to Astanehdost, workers on high taxes tend to shrug off pay rises more readily than those who will see more of the net gain.

Optimism for 2020
The Danes are more optimistic about their economy, however.

Some 62 percent think the country’s financial situation will improve, and 68 percent believe that their company’s finances will get better.

According to Astanehdost, Denmark’s ability to attract highly-skilled workers will play a key role in determining whether 2020 is a successful year for Denmark.

Business more upbeat over Brexit
In Danish business circles the mood is far more upbeat now that there is clarity over the future of Brexit, with Dansk Industri applauding the resolve of British PM Boris Johnson to “get it done”.

“Most people can now see the end of this because at least we know that we are negotiating with someone who knows what they want,” Thomas Bustrup, the deputy general secretary of DI, told TV2.

One of the companies that has been looking closely at Brexit is the Danish shipping company DFDS.

“We must expect that when Boris Johnson goes to parliament there is a clear agreement he will execute the agreement that is already in place as soon as possible,” DFDS chief executive Torben Carlsen told TV2.

A lot to figure out
Following the UK exit, there will only be 12 months to secure a trade agreement, which is not a lot of time. In comparison, the EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement took seven years.

“There is a lot at stake over the next 12 months for Danish business concerning the trade agreement, which may contain many of the things that apply today when they trade with the UK. That is what needs to be negotiated,” said Bustrup.

“You can already feel the concern that there is only a year to negotiate the more precise details of the exit. Is it at all possible within the timeframe?” asked Carlsen. (TM)

Fitness World sold
British fitness chain PureGym has paid 3.1 billion kroner to acquire its Danish counterpart Fitness World. With 1.7 million members and more than 500 gyms, PureGym is the second largest gym chain in Europe. Fitness World, in contrast, has over 230 gyms and more than 600,000 members in Denmark, Poland and Switzerland.

Rogue wind turbine
The police were forced to close off some roads in Mors, northwest Jutland, on December 30 after a wind turbine went rogue. It was feared the 30-metre, 175 kilowatt turbine, which was turning despite being switched off, might dismantle like a similar turbine in the same area in 2015.

New path to parliament
DAT is introducing a new air route between Copenhagen and Strasbourg from February – principally to make it easier for politicians to travel to the European Parliament. The new service will operate on Monday and Thursday every third week in order to coincide with EU parliamentary meetings. The route is also open to the public.

Sports chain sold
The Nordic Capital Fund has sold Sportmaster to a Singaporean company that pretty much has the same name. Sportmaster Operations, which mainly operates in eastern Europe and Asia, paid an undisclosed price for the sports goods chain. Sportmaster has 89 stores in Denmark but its last annual report revealed a loss of more than 100 million kroner.

Mobile payment boom
MobilePay passed the 100 billion kroner mark in transfers during 2019 – an increase of 18 billion kroner from 2018. Mobile payments at stores have driven the progress, where 330 million payments were made. MobilePay was initially launched in 2013 for private transfers, and today it has more than 4 million users in Denmark.

Vestas’ green pledge
Vestas has become the latest Danish company to set goals regarding zero emissions, announcing that it intends to replace its petrol-driven cars and trucks with electric-powered vehicles. Its factories and offices have been powered by 100 percent renewable sources since 2013, but its direct CO2 emissions have been increasing since 2015 to 69,000 tonnes in 2018.

Alleged postage fraud
National postage service PostNord Danmark faces a Transport Ministry investigation after an anonymous tip-off containing various fraud allegations was sent to various politicians. It is believed the allegations, according to Jyllands-Posten, pertain to the postage service gaining an unfair competitive edge by allegedly merging its letter and parcel deliveries with other logistical tasks.

Spotlight on Huawei
The spotlight on Huawei’s efforts to gain a foothold in the icy north continued over the festive period: firstly when it emerged that Ericsson has been chosen to provide Greenland with its 5G network (in addition to Norway), and secondly when reports emerged that the Chinese ambassador had met with Føroya Tele, the ultimate decision-maker in the Faroes.

Big tax earner
PAL, a 15.3 percent tax payable on pension schemes, has become one of the government’s biggest earners – and it even yields a larger return than the top tax bracket. Only income tax, labour market contributions and corporation tax earn more. According to PFA, it will earn close to 60 billion kroner this year as more Danes increase their investment risk.

Arla’s new record
Arla sold a record 93 million litres of organic milk in 2018 – a quarter of the total sold in Denmark.

All good at Tivoli
Tivoli is performing well financially. For the nine months ending September 30, it posted a pre-tax profit of 169.4 million kroner – up from 51 million in the same period in 2018 – and for 2019 it is on course to break its all-time record. Visitor numbers increased by 11 percent last year to 4.85 million, during which it was open for 282 days.

SAS’s safety praised
SAS has been ranked in 14th place in the ‘Top Twenty Safest Airlines for 2020’ list compiled by AirlineRatings. The institution assesses 405 airlines worldwide based on seven factors, including crashes and serious incidents, age of fleet, financial performance and quality of pilot training. The Australian airline Qantas was ranked first for the seventh consecutive year.

Iranian nightmare
Danish business speculated it could earn 8 billion kroner a year from trade with Iran when international sanctions were lifted in 2016 – exports more than doubled between 2015 and 2017 – but the future now looks bleak. Novo Nordisk, which in 2015 set out plans for a 500 million kroner factory in Iran, is expected to be one of the biggest losers.

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