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Vestas and banks agree
Denmark’s wind energy giant Vestas has reached agreement with its banks on a revised credit facility of EUR 900 million.
Vestas says the revised EUR 900m syndicated loan facility has been agreed with its existing lender group of nine international banks. It has also reached revised term loans with the European Investment Bank to the tune of EUR 200 million and the Nordic Investment Bank for EUR 55 million.
“We are satisfied to have reached an agreement with our lenders. It is in the interest of Vestas to reduce our debt and we now look forward to focusing all our efforts on the continuous development of a more scalable Vestas,” says Vestas President and CEO Ditlev Engel.
The revised facility replaces an existing credit facility of EUR 1.3 billion and the company expects to have amortised its term loans by January 2015. The revolving credit facility is due to expire in January 2015, but with an option to extend it for a further two years.
“Vestas’ new operating business model has demonstrated its strength as our future funding requirement is now at a lower level, and we are confident that with the revised facilities Vestas will be well covered,” says Vestas CFO, Dag Andresen.
Vestas stock jumped 13 per cent shortly after the agreement was announced.
Saxo Bank lay off 266
Saxo Bank has laid off 266 employees in a move that the company spokespeople said would allow the Copenhagen-based investment bank to remain flexible in the face of on-going global financial instability.
“The financial markets are currently at a standstill, and it’s only a matter of time before that starts to have an effect,” Ditte Buchwald, Saxo Bank’s head of human resources, said in a press release. “We have therefore decided to adapt to the situation, which sadly comes at a cost.”
Buchwald said the bank would do everything in its power to help support its former employees.
The cuts, equal to about 20 percent of the company's 1,400 employees, come despite Saxo Bank posting earnings of 190 million kroner before tax this year and a reported 21 percent increase in customer deposits.
Saxo Bank said that even with the job cuts it was planning on releasing new products in 2013 and that its international growth was also set to continue as planned.
Some 168 of those losing their jobs today worked in the company’s headquarters in Hellerup.
A Saxo Bank employee who wished to remain anonymous told The Copenhagen Post that the process took no longer than four hours.
“We got an email this morning at 8, asking us to gather for a meeting at 9:30am where we’d receive an important notice,” the employee said. “At that meeting we were told 168 of us would be laid off within the next few hours, which is exactly what happened. By noon, 168 had received their severance packages, and were walking out the door.”
Kasper Esbjørn, Saxo Bank’s spokesperson, confirmed that sequence of events.
“We didn’t want to drag it out,” Esbjørn said. “It’s a strategy we’d planned for ahead of time, and wanted it to be done as effectively as possible.”
DK to invest in green development
The Danish government has presented a special climate investment fund to assist developing countries in converting to green energy.
The fund will be sponsored by both public and private means, and the aim is to promote the use of Danish climate technology through investments and consultancy, according to Minister for Climate, Energy and Building Christian Friis Bach.
This year, the fund will receive DKK 100 million and a further DKK 50 million next year. Both private investors and the Investment Fund for Developing Countries are expected to make contributions.
The aim is to have between DKK 500 and 700 million by the end of 2013, mostly derived from pension funds and foundations.
"We're going to collaborate with Danish companies to create climate-friendly investment projects worth DKK 5 billion," said Friis Bach.
In future, there will be a need for 'enormous' climate investments, Friis Bach told DR Nyheder. The money will "breed like rabbits" to benefit the world's poorest nations, the climate, Danish pension fund clients and Danish companies.
The investments could go towards building wind turbines in Africa, biomass projects and solar panels where companies and investors can offer their expertise, explained Friis Bach.
Pilots reach agreement with SAS
As SAS races against the clock to reach agreement with all of its personnel groupings, pilots in Denmark, Sweden and Norway have now reached agreement with the airline on how the financially troubled airline is to move forward.
“The Pilots Association has shown responsibility in signing the agreements that fulfil requirements. That is a positive development,” Press Chief Trine Kromann-Mikkelsen tells the Danish national news agency Ritzau.
“We expect remaining agreements to be reached,” she adds. Two cabin personnel unions are still negotiating – Danish cabin personnel and one of the two Norwegian cabin personnel groupings.
Negotiations continue this morning at the SAS building at Copenhagen Airport.
“At the end of the day it’s the Board that has to decide whether the plan can be put into effect,” Kromann-Mikkelsen says.
The Swedish cabin personnel union, which represents some 600 employees, has reluctantly agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. “A difficult decision,” the union says in a news release.
Norwegian cabin personnel were the first to reach agreement with the airline: “Someone has to be first,” said Anneli Nyberg, head of the Norwegian SNK group.
Irrespective of the agreements reached overnight and this morning, SAS has cancelled some of its early morning inter-Scandinavia flights.
No crisis for large companies
While economic growth at a global level still remains sluggish, large Danish companies continue to push through the crisis relatively unscathed, according to an analysis conducted by Danish daily Jyllands-Posten of third quarter reports from the largest Danish companies.
"It's the same old story about companies managing to pull through and improve profit margins, even though it's difficult to actually promote growth in sales. It's cheap for them to bankroll their efforts, wage expenses are level and they have a global market," said Henrik Henriksen, chief strategist for PFA, to Jyllands-Posten.
The analysis includes the corporations in the C20 index, but not financial services companies. On average, companies have increased their operating profits by 16.7 per cent.
The greatest success was achieved by pharmaceutical conglomerate Novo Nordisk, which grew 40 per cent, while wind turbine manufacturer Vestas saw operating profits plummet by 52.2 per cent.