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BUSINESS FOCUS - SWEDEN

Wood products attract Swedes

SWEDISH COMPANIES found the paper and wood industries the most attractive places to concentrate their investments in Slovakia.
Sweden does not belong among the traditional business partners of Slovakia. However, some Swedish firms, such as IKEA, started to build their economic relationship with Slovakia even during the socialist times of the former Czechoslovakia.
Last year Slovakia reached a trade deficit with Sweden of Sk1.5 billion (€36.37 million).

SWEDISH COMPANIES found the paper and wood industries the most attractive places to concentrate their investments in Slovakia.

Sweden does not belong among the traditional business partners of Slovakia. However, some Swedish firms, such as IKEA, started to build their economic relationship with Slovakia even during the socialist times of the former Czechoslovakia.

Last year Slovakia reached a trade deficit with Sweden of Sk1.5 billion (€36.37 million).

Goods imported from Sweden in 2002 made Sk7.1 billion (€172 million). The value of Slovak exports to Sweden was Sk5.6 billion (€136 million). This is less than half of the business done by some other European Union countries with Slovakia.

Sweden has been especially successful in the Slovak paper, wood, and furniture industry, although it has experienced dramatic changes here.

Swedish SCA Hygiene Products owns a 100 percent share in a factory with the same name in Gemerská Hôrka (eastern Slovakia). It produces female and baby hygienic products.

More that 80 percent of its production is exported to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states. It has about 300 employees.

Swedish capital was also engaged in the rebirth of the Slovak cellulose and paper industry in Štúrovo (southern Slovakia). AssiDomän bought the Slovak company Juhoslovenské celulózky a papierne (Southern Slovak cellulose and paper).

AssiDomän Packaging in Štúrovo, the biggest producer of paperboard packages in Slovakia, became a part of Dutch international company Kappa in 2001.

The Swedish company Tetra Pak invested in the packaging factory Grafobal in Skalica (western Slovakia), in 1997. The end of this story, however, was not so successful for Slovakia, as in 2000 Tetra Pak moved the production of packages to Hungary as a part of its rationalisation measures.

Slovaks have fallen in love with furniture produced by the Swedish firm IKEA. Its newest store in Bratislava covers an area of 21,500 square metres.

IKEA also operates four Swedwood factories producing wood-based and solid wood materials and furniture in Slovakia.

Telecommunications and IT are also areas where Swedish firms have found their positions on the Slovak market.

Ericsson Slovakia is a leading supplier of telecommunications solutions in Slovakia. It has been present on the Slovak market since 1991.

Swedish knowledge in energy production and robotics are represented in Slovakia by the ABB company, which has provided its services here for 10 years.

AJ OZAP, 30 percent of which is Swedish capital, has offered its equipment for offices, commercial kitchens, shops, etc. through catalogue on the Slovak market for more than 8 years.

Electrolux, a world producer of appliances and equipment for kitchens, cleaning, and outdoor use, has its successful representative office in Slovakia. Even the origin of the Slovak word "luxovať", which means cleaning, has its roots in the name of this firm.

Slovak women have become fond of Swedish natural cosmetics from the Oriflame firm. The number of Oriflame sales consultants has reached 35,000 in Slovakia. The 2002 turnover of Oriflame on the Slovak market reached almost Sk430 million (€10.43 million).

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