Danish companies warming up for a strong 2018: analysis

Growth in sales, more jobs and increased investments all figure in high expectations for 2018 amongst Danish companies, says the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI).

Danish companies warming up for a strong 2018: analysis
Novo Nordisk's factory in Kalundborg. File photo: Søren Bidstrup/Scanpix Denmark

DI’s analysis is based on responses from the confederation’s business panel.

More than seven out of ten companies in the panel have increased optimism compared to last year, writes

“For the members of the Confederation of Danish Industry, forecasts for both turnover and employment in 2018 are looking bright. This supports our expectations for growth of about two percent in the Danish economy,” said DI’s director Kent Damsgaard.

The conclusions from DI's business panel are based on 584 responses out of 2238 companies contacted.

Sales and employment are particularly prominent in the boosted expectations, while confidence is also high among smaller companies.

For 2018 overall, 70 percent of companies expect increased turnover, while seven percent expect a decline.

Export companies are particularly optimistic about 2018, with almost a quarter expecting sales to increase by more than 10 percent this year. There is also significant optimism to be found among the rest of the respondents to the survey.

“Overall, there is greater confidence in the market prognoses than last year,” Damsgaard said.

The service industry looks particularly bright in Denmark, with every third company expecting increased employment — double as many as in the beginning of 2017.

An important indicator right at the beginning of the year is the willingness of companies to invest, according to the DI director.

The interest and capacity to spend money on things such as new technology and software has helped break the stalemate. In previous years, a lack of investment has been a major hindrance to development for many companies. The renewed willingness therefore comes as extremely good news.

“The availability of funding for investments is entirely decisive for competitiveness, particularly at a time of rapid technological development. This is the case in both small and large companies. In total, Danish companies currently invest 50 billion kroner (6.7 billion euros) less than has been the general trend historically. And this is something that ought to be remedied,” Damsgaard said.

One of the keys to fulfilling the positive expectations for 2018 is obtaining the right workers.

However, this challenge constitutes the biggest risk factor, according to over a fifth of the companies responding to the survey.

This is expected to be one of the year’s biggest hurdles – and one that requires action from politicians – in order to avoid impeding growth opportunities, Damsgaard said.

“It will be crucial that a majority in parliament realises the need to ensure sufficient labour, because this is a central factor in order for Denmark to maintain its prosperity. If this does not happen, we fear that we will see even more companies being forced to turn down orders due to labour shortages in 2018,” he said. 

READ ALSO: Minister's call for more foreign labour 'extremely positive': DI


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.