“The outlook for Nordic banks is stable as operating conditions will remain supportive for banks in 2019 amid robust economic growth”, says Moody’s Investors Service in a report published on the 12th of December. The credit rating agency expects economic growth of 2 to 2.5% across the Nordic region to support loan quality in 2019, and protective features built into banks’ underwriting standards will mitigate the risks posed by high household debt and fast-rising house prices.
“Nordic banks are among the most strongly capitalized in Europe and we expect this to continue to be a key attribute,” said Jean-Francois Tremblay, an Associate Managing Director, at Moody’s. “Most banks have material headroom above their regulatory capital requirements and strong capital generation capacity.”
Large Nordic banks will remain more profitable than most of their European peers, supporting their robust capital levels. The banks are among the most cost-efficient in Moody’s rated universe.
Access to capital markets, an important source of funding for Nordic banks, will remain strong over 2019, although funding costs may rise marginally. Reliance on volatile market funding will be partly mitigated by the wide use of more stable covered bonds.
The report is available to subscribers here: moodys.com.
Despite cultural, economic and business differences the Nordic countries have many positive aspects in common. The choice of where to locate a business in this part of the world will naturally depend on the specific nature of the business in question. Scandicorp will happily discuss with you about the benefits of a specific country for your business. In this article, we will look at 10 good reasons for a foreign business to establish a presence in the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden and Finland).
1. High international rankings
The Nordic countries rank very high in international benchmarks in the top places of the most secure and best places to live, least corrupt countries and one of the best health systems in the world.
Everything works. If something doesn’t work, it will usually be addressed as soon as possible. You save a lot of time and nerves when you can rely on the infrastructure, logistics and timekeeping etc.
Most Nordic people are fluent in English and will be more than happy to practice their English with you. Although a basic understanding of the local language will make everyday life easier for you.
4. Highly skilled workforce
Thanks to a good public schooling system and a high overall level of education, recruiting locals will be relatively easy in most fields of business.
5. Moderate corporate taxes
The Nordic countries have traditionally been perceived as high-tax jurisdictions. However, the corporate tax rates are very moderate in international comparison.
6. Business environment
The Nordic countries have a very strong financial sector, a stable, ethical and predictable business environment. This provides a solid base for a long-term business solution. Good logistics thanks to modern airports, efficient ports and railways.
7. Lively startup scene and pioneering new technology
The governments of the Nordic countries as well as local communities have encouraged and supported research and development, the creation of start-up hubs and events. The atmosphere for start-ups has proved to be very inspiring.
8. Relatively easy to find local partners
It’s good to find local partners who you could collaborate with on common projects as this will help build your credibility.
9. Over 25 million consumers
In a consistent market with a strong purchasing power due to the relatively high GDP per capita.
10. Good places to test new ideas and products
Nordic consumers and businesses are among the first to adapt to technologically, new products and concepts. Testing your new products and technologies in the Nordics first before going global may be a smart move.
We are all waiting for 5G smartphones with super speed internet which will also pave the way for new 5G-related services like self-driving cars, large scale Internet of Things as well as new augmented and virtual reality applications, Finnish Nokia recently announced introducing its 4.9G technology. 5G technology networks are expected to arrive in 2018.
Large leap towards commercial realization of 5G!
In the new tech, the antenna which will be used sends network signals directly to the smartphones instead of broadcasting it in different directions. This is possible because of 3D beamforming technology, which will also be present in the 5G devices when they launch. Nokia made a press release, and according to it, the technology will lead to an improvement in uplink by 8 times, and downlink by at least 5 times on any network.
The 4.9/5G connection marks yet another Finnish contribution to the evolution of communications: the first GSM call was made in Finland more than 20 years ago using a network built by Nokia. This tradition continued with the world’s first 3G voice call, on a commercial 3GPP system in Finland in 2001, and then with the world’s first LTE call via commercial software in Germany in 2009.
If your company is involved in this type of technology, you might want to consider establishing a corporate presence in Finland for example in Research and Development or simply being closer to the big players. Feel free to contact Scandicorp for more information.
Bloomberg Markets recently published a survey ”The Battle of Ideas” ranking the most innovative countries in the World. South Korea topped the list. The silver medal was won by Sweden which climbed up one place from last year passing Germany.
The Nordic countries are still highly ranked on the list: Finland as number five, Denmark as eight and Norway as fourteen. Bloomberg ranks countries on the basis of parameters such as patent activity, number of high-tech companies, education and research.
Bloombergs survey correlates well with another recent report, the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2017 (GTCI) published by Adecco and INSEAD. According to this report the Nordic countries rank among the top in the World. GTCI focuses on how technology affects talent competitiveness and the nature of work. Finland is ranked best in formal education, vocational enrolment, social mobility, environmental performance, employability, ease of finding employees and availability of scientists and engineers.
Do you want to set up your business in one of the most innovative regions of the world? Feel free to contact Scandicorp who will happily provide you with any help and information.
The Nordic countries ranked as top five overall in this year’s Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index. Sweden as first, followed by Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.
Altogether, the index evaluated 180 countries across their natural capital, resource intensity, intellectual capital, social cohesion and governance. The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index utilizes recognized data sources (the World Bank, various UN databases) and 109 quantitative performance indicators to measure performance.
The index was compiled by Swiss-Korean sustainability think-tank and advisory SolAbility.
The Nordic countries will no doubt be a good choice to establish a Cleantech startup. Likewise this market would be well suited for established Cleantech companies to test their products and services. Scandicorp will gladly provide you with guidance and corporate services.
Denmark, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden turned out to enjoy the world’s best and fairest rule of law according to a new global ranking report by the World Justice Project (WSP). Rule of law is a fundamental condition for liberal democracy.
More than 100,000 households and experts were surveyed to measure rule of law in 113 countries. The index is based on the primary factors of: constraint on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice and criminal justice.
Here are the top four performers in each of the index’s main categories:
Constraints on Government Powers – Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands
Absence of Corruption – Denmark, Singapore, Norway, Finland
Open Government – Norway, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands
Fundamental Rights – Norway, Finland, Denmark, Austria
Order and Security – Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Denmark
Regulatory Enforcement – Singapore, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden
Civil Justice – Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Singapore
Criminal Justice – Finland, Norway, Austria, Singapore
One more good reason to establish a business presence in the Nordic countries?
Hyperloop is a technology to move people or things anywhere in the world quickly, safely, efficiently, on-demand and with minimal impact to the environment. The technology was reintroduced and updated by Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX). The system uses electric propulsion to accelerate a passenger or cargo vehicle through a tube in a low pressure environment. The autonomous vehicle levitates slightly above the track and glides at faster-than-airline speeds over long distances. Direct emissions, noise, delay, weather concerns and pilot error are eliminated. This could be a giant step in transportation.
Helsinki to Stockholm in less than 30 minutes
Hyperloop is no longer science fiction as Hyperloop is now aiming to demonstrate a full-scale, high-speed test of its track, vehicle and controlled-environment tube in late 2016 or early 2017. This bold vision may become reality thanks to a proposed Hyperloop link between the two capital cities which is estimated to bring annual savings of 321 million euros from the reduced travel time. The Hyperloop will also connect the city centers with the airports, a trip of 10 minutes. Todays travel options between the two capitals are about 3-4 hours by air, including airport tranfers and time spent at airport or an overnight cruise-ferry crossing.
These are the results of the world’s first pre-feasibility study of a full-scale Hyperloop system produced by US-based technology specialist Hyperloop One, consultants KPMG and Finnish company FS Links. FS Links was founded a year ago to facilitate the building of a fixed link between the two Nordic countries. An entire region of 5 million people would become a metro network, lifting property values and productivity along the route.
According to FS Links, Hyperloop One is currently looking for a ‘proof of operations’ facility, with research centre and rails, and they have already decided it will be in Europe. Many places are competing for it, but Finland has the lead. FS Links have made the first actual business case and are also the first company Hyperloop has invested in.”
Key to these plans is the Finnish city of Salo. The city, located 115 kilometres from Helsinki, has signed a ‘letter of intent’ with Hyperloop One to become the first test station along the proposed Helsinki-Stockholm route. Salo officials believe the super-fast connection would be a great opportunity for growth and new jobs in the high-tech city.
A Nordic metropol
The next steps in FS Links and Salo’s plans are to find partners to fund the public-private initiative (the total cost is estimated to be 19 billion euros) and then secure a final agreement with Hyperloop One.
There are still many things that need to be solved. But the pre-feasibility study shows the connection between Stockholm and Helsinki is not impossible. The challenges appear to be funding and execution.
While the proposed Helsinki-Stockholm route could take 12-15 years to build, a fast way to transport goods would open up completely new business opportunities, while people could quickly and easily commute from one country to another.
A small Finnish bank, Ålandsbanken, based on the autonomous Åland Islands but with offices in Finland and Sweden, is launching a new credit card to combat climate change.
Made of renewable raw materials
This new Baltic Sea Credit Card is made completely of renewable raw materials, is non-toxic and is biodegradable but that is not all: Card users will get an environmental report in their mobile app or internet bank account, effectively tracking the carbon footprint of their consumption. The bank hopes that increased transparency will contribute to changing daily habits to become more sustainable in the long run.
The environmental calculations of the card are based on the Åland Index developed by the Ålandsbanken. The index works on the basis of a category code provided by retailers to Mastercard enabling a value for the carbon footprint to be calculated on each transaction.
Peter Wiklöf, CEO of Ålandsbanken says: “The sea is never far away when you are based in the Åland islands, and we can’t avoid seeing the effects of pollution. In 2015 we launched the Baltic Sea Project, founded on our commitment to enable smart ideas for the environment. But we also wanted to give our customers the opportunity to contribute to the environment through their daily choices. Only if we all get involved will we be able to save the Baltic Sea”