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EUROPEAN BUSINESS REPORT September 2021

Author: Social Media/Thursday, September 30, 2021/Categories: News

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DENMARK

Danish Business Confidence has grown to being the Strongest in 4 Years

The manufacturing and service confidence indicator in Denmark has increased by 20% in August 2021. This is the strongest growth reading since 2017 and indicates a growing confidence in the Danish business rebound from the lockdown period. Denmark also joins the top of the most competitive economies.

This year, Denmark is ranked as the third most competitive economy in the world and the second most competitive economy in the EU. As the third most competitive economy, Denmark is one of the best countries in the world to run a business in. In fact, for the past five years, Denmark has been a part of the top 10. In this year’s ranking, Denmark outperforms other countries in several categories:

  • Productivity and efficiency #1 
  • Management practices #1
  • Public-Private Partnerships #1
  • ustainable Development Goals #1
  • Business legislation #2

A new list for the year 2021 of the largest and most successful companies Denmark has just been compiled and released, and the list of the top 15 (in terms of turnover) are:

  1. A.P. Møller - Mærsk: 240728 mio. kr.
  2. Novo Nordisk: 126.946 mio. kr.
  3. DSV: 115.932 mio. kr.
  4. Vestas: 110.243 mio. kr.
  5. Arla Foods: 79.184 mio. kr.
  6. ISS: 69.823 mio. kr.
  7. United Shipping & Trading 65.598 mio. kr.
  8. Centrica Energy Trading: 64.899 mio. kr.
  9. Salling Groups: 60.885 mio. kr.
  10. Danish Crown: 60.794 mio. kr.
  11. Carlsberg: 58.541 mio. kr.
  12. Ørsted: 50.151 mio. kr.
  13. DLG: 47.176 mio. kr.
  14. Energi Danmark: 44.909 mio. kr.
  15. Lego: 43.656 mio. kr.

We are proud to say that this list holds several clients of Taplow Executive Search Denmark

Ole Norby

Managing Partner, Denmark

E: onb@taplow.dk

 

FRANCE

For the first time since the beginning of the health crisis, the intensification of the circulation of the virus did not cause a marked decline in economic activity.

The health situation in France deteriorated in July and August 2021: As the circulation of the Delta variant of Covid-19 intensified, it caused a fourth epidemic wave. Nevertheless, the containment of the epidemic is now mainly based on the expansion of vaccination coverage (79% of the French population over 12 years old was vaccinated on September 6), which greatly reduces the economic impact of the virus. In July and August 2021, economic activity, considered as a whole, would have continued to progress, to be relatively close to its pre-crisis level: between -1% and -0.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to approximately -30% in April 2020 (first wave), -7% in November 2021 (second wave), and -6% in April 2021 (third wave).

In the absence of any further deterioration in the health situation, the recovery would continue till the end of the year (+0.5% expected in the fourth quarter), allowing the economy to return to its pre-crisis level overall, despite persistent sectoral contrasts. Overall, average annual growth would amount to 6,25 % in 2021 (after -8.0% in 2020).

At the same time, however, hiring pressures are trending upwards. When asked in July, in business surveys, around 15% of companies in the industry and services and 40% of those in construction said that were limited in their production by insufficient staff. These relatively high proportions are, however, lower than the high points of 2018-2019. They are consistent with the strength of private sector employment in the second quarter, which returned to its pre-crisis level in June.

Pour la première fois depuis le début de la crise sanitaire, l’intensification de la circulation du virus n’a pas provoqué de recul marqué de l’activité économique

En juillet et août 2021, la situation sanitaire s’est dégradée en France : la circulation du variant Delta de Covid-19 s’est intensifiée, occasionnant une quatrième vague épidémique. Néanmoins, l’endiguement de l’épidémie s’appuie désormais principalement sur l’élargissement de la couverture vaccinale (79% de la population française de plus de 12 ans était vaccinée au 6 septembre), ce qui réduit très fortement l’impact économique du virus. En juillet et en août 2021, l’activité économique, considérée dans sa globalité, aurait ainsi continué à progresser, pour se retrouver relativement proche de son niveau d’avant-crise : entre – 1 et – 0,5 % par rapport au quatrième trimestre 2019, contre environ – 30 % en avril 2020 (première vague), – 7 % en novembre 2021 (deuxième vague), et – 6 % en avril 2021 (troisième vague).

En l’absence de nouvelle dégradation de la situation sanitaire, la reprise se poursuivrait en fin d’année (+ 0,5 % prévu au quatrième trimestre), permettant alors à l’économie de retrouver globalement son niveau d’avantcrise, malgré des contrastes sectoriels persistants. Au total, la croissance en moyenne annuelle s’élèverait à 6,25 % en 2021 (après – 8,0 % en 2020).

En parallèle cependant, les tensions sur les recrutements tendent à progresser. Interrogées en juillet dans les enquêtes de conjoncture INSEE, environ 15 % des entreprises de l’industrie et des services et 40 % de celles du bâtiment se déclaraient limitées dans leur production par l’insuffisance de personnel. Ces proportions relativement élevées sont toutefois inférieures aux points hauts de 2018-2019. Elles vont de pair avec la vigueur de l’emploi salarié privé au deuxième trimestre, qui a retrouvé dès juin son niveau d’avant-crise.

Stephane Martinod

Managing Partner, France

E: smartinod@taplowgroup.com

 

FINLAND

  • There is growth of external capital in Finland, especially in real estate sector. Global real estate investors come in with money and start new developments with higher risk.
  • Startup funding is available more than ever now which we see in our business as increase of assignments for CxO roles in these companies
  • However, as promising as the rise of economy has been during 2021, we see more hesitation in decision making of large corporations in investing to new businesses and subsequent director roles
  • During the second half of 2021 there has been almost a record-breaking number of IPO´s in the Finnish market, especially to First North. First North is a Nordic marketplace for smaller companies with less regulation than Nasdaq OMX.

Timo Toivanen

Managing Partner, Finland

E: timo.toivanen@taplow.fi

 

GERMANY

Economic output in Germany is set for strong expansion in the third quarter, at a rate that will far surpass the growth recorded in the previous three months. The main reason for this is the considerable easing of COVID-19 containment measures from mid-May, which is having a stronger and, in particular, more prolonged impact in the current quarter than in the previous one. The main sectors to benefit from the loosening of restrictions are services sectors that were hit especially hard, such as hotel and restaurant services, travel services and parts of the bricks-and-mortar retailsector. In industry and the main construction sector, order books are well filled.

There are initial signs that the supply bottlenecks for certain intermediate goods and commodities are at least not worsening as significantly as they were in the second quarter. The infrastructure and production capacity destroyed in the areas affected by the flood disaster represent an additional, but from a macroeconomic perspective, probably a manageable drag on the economy. All in all, it remains to be seen whether GDP will reach its pre-crisis level in the third quarter already or whether this will be a fourth quarter event. There is uncertainty surrounding the further economic impact of the pandemic. For example, the Delta variant and vaccination slowdown could result in tighter restrictions being reimposed. However, this could then be expected to weigh more heavily on the economy in the fourth quarter.

Registered unemployment has recently fallen significantly. In the second quarter of 2021, it declined by 26,000 people in seasonally adjusted terms, or 0.1 percentage point. Unemployment only began to decline significantly in June and then fell very sharply in July, decreasing by 0.2 percentage point to its present level of 5.7%. The leading indicators for the labour market currently suggest that employment will continue to recover over the next few months. The ifo Employment Barometer, which reflects recruitment plans in trade and industry for the next three months, is well into expansionary territory, as is the employment barometer of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB).

The number of vacancies has recently seen fairly reliable growth, already returning to its level of the fourth quarter of 2019, which had, however, been subdued by the economic slowdown. The IAB’s unemployment barometer is currently at its most favorable level ever.

Government finances continue to provide a high level of support to the economy in 2021. However, the economic upturn will have a positive knock-on effect on government finances as the year progresses, and support measures will become less significant. In 2021 as a whole, the deficit is likely to grow further and exceed 5% of GDP (2020: 4.5%). It should be noted, though, that this will be driven largely by measures not connected to the coronavirus crisis, e.g., the partial abolition of the solidarity surcharge.

Inflation rose further in July. Annual inflation surged overall from 2.1% to 3.1%, as price levels in the same month of the previous year were down markedly due to the temporary reduction in VAT rates. The reported rate of inflation will increase further as the year goes on. As things currently stand, inflation rates of between 4% and 5% are possible at the end of the year. Inflation is likely to stabilize again, to a marked extent, in early 2022.

Source: Deutsche Bundesbank

Germany’s Next Steps

Federal Electionsare due onSep 26th, 2021. Angela Merkel’s 16-year chancellorship comes to an end.

Economic Challenges

Germany’s economic performance is still below the level before the crisis. The race to catch up is slower than in China, the USA or parts of the EU.

Even before Corona, industry was struggling to cope with digital transformation and stringent climate protection requirements, and now bottlenecks in chips and key raw materials are putting the brakes on. Some orders also remain unfilled due to a demographic shortage of skilled workers and young talent.

Economic Opportunities

McKinsey: Germany could double growth by 2030. Fabian Billing, head of Germany at McKinsey, said, “Germany needs creative renewal. Disruptive, radically new solutions as well as technology expertise are an important basis for this.” It’s not the preservation of the status quo, but new beginnings and the opportunities they bring that will allow us to continue to participate in progress and opportunity in the spirit of the social market economy.”

Against this background, McKinsey has identified fields of action, e.g.:

  • Top companies: cross-sector growth
  • Medium-sized companies: The previous pure hardware producers must additionally develop software and system controls and integrate the new products into the Internet of Things.
  • usiness startups and investments
  • Continuing education: A new education system, “lifelong learning”
  • Politics: Ensure framework + holistic regulation = planning security for the economy
  • Source: www.finanznachrichten.de / Dow Jones News

Peter Knoblich

Managing Partner, Germany

E: pknoblich@taplowgroup.com

 

NORWAY

Export and trade-balance in Q3 is at an all-time high in Norway. It is partly related to increased price of natural gas, but positive trends are also seen in several on shore industries.

  • GDP 2020 down 0.8% to € 63.450,-(per capita)
  • Public spending as part of GDP increased 4.5%
  • GDP in Q1 and Q2 2021, increased by 1.2 %, back to 2019 level.

Information by Statistics Norway

Real Estate and construction is experiencing a slight slow-down, as people’s new arrangement for settlement after covid-19 needs to be confirmed. There is uncertainty around people’s preferences to still live very central, or if many inhabitants are more willing to move out from cities.

Government election on Sept’13th has resulted in a change of government which will take place in October. After 8 years with conservative leadership, Norway will get a socialist/ labor government (as expected). Environmentalist did not receive expected good results and will not get an impact on politics. This calmed the financial markets, and business leaders look positively to the future.

Electrification of the society is still on high gear, and many interesting business-opportunities arises as a result. Energy in general, sun, wind, water, gas, oil, is still a major focus for Norwegian exports.

Also looking for the fishing industry to bounce back to 2019 levels soon. There is still some uncertainty related to the tourist industry, and airliners in particular. This will probably take 12 more months to stabilize.

Hans Holter-Sorensen

Managing Partner, Norway

E: hhs@taplow.no

 

RUSSIA

In 2020 the Russian GDP decreased by 3.1 %. The annual GDP forecast for Russia is to rise by 3.8% in 2021, according to the IMF. Air transportation suffered the most in 2020, they reported almost 50% revenue loss. Currently the gross domestic product in Russia is estimated to have increased by 4.7 % for July 2021.

The inflation of the RUB become stable on a high level in July 2021. Growth in food prices has decelerated in the summer due to new harvest. Yet, the inflation level remains on the highest level for more than four years. There is a slight expectation on inflation below 6% after the Duma elections in September. More significant for the fall below 6% might be due to the moderation of the global economic upturn visible on the raw materials prices.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline construction was stopped due to US sanctions. The Swiss contractor company, which delivered unique equipment, was forced to stop. The pipeline was supposed to be completed by the end of 2019. Now the project has been completed on the 10th of September 2021 and it is assumed that first gas could be delivered by the end of this year.

According to a survey conducted by Rabota.ru, 44% of the Russian companies managed to recover from their losses suffered in the crisis brought on by the corona virus. 27% remain partly recovered and 11% are still in the midst of it (one year ago the number was 36%).

Henric Nilsson

Managing Partner, Russia

E: henric.nilsson@humansearch.ru

 

SPAIN

The Spanish government confirmed its economic growth forecast for this year and the next, based on the pace of recovery following the end of most coronavirus mobility restrictions and the good pace of the Covid-19 vaccination drive. The Cabinet said that GDP will grow 6.5% in 2021 and 7% in 2022, in line with previous forecasts. In 2022, Spain will recover to its pre-pandemic activity and in 2023, it will return to the path of growth we had before the health crisis.

This makes Spain the advanced economy that will expand the most in 2022 after suffering the biggest setback in 2020, when output fell by a record 10.8%, the biggest decline since the Spanish Civil War.

The labor market overperformed in recent months, particularly in June when the jobless rate fell by a record amount. But it is still unclear whether many of the workers who remain on the government’s ERTE job retention scheme will be laid off in the fall, along with workers in the tourism industry who were hired for the summer season.

With a view to draft thenext year’s budget, the Cabinet also capped the 2022 spending ceiling at €196.1 billion, a 0.02% rise from the previous year and the highest on record. The €196.1 billion includes €26.4 billion from the EU recovery fund, and Brussels will demand reforms in exchange for that amount.

The Cabinet also addressed the public deficit, which last year soared to represent 11% of GDP or around €125 billion. The government is hoping to bring this down to 8.4% in 2021 and 5% in 2022. The government said that the 2022 accounts will shore up its short-term strategy to keep supporting the recovery effort, and in the medium and long term to transform and modernize the Spanish economy to make it more sustainable and resilient.

Carmen Alarcon

Managing Partner, Spain

E: calarcon@taplowgroup.com

 

UK

Strong GDP growth of 7.2% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022 is projected as a large share of the population is vaccinated and restrictions to economic activity are progressively eased. Growth is driven by a rebound of consumption, notably of services. GDP is expected to return to its pre-pandemic level in early 2022. However, increased border costs following the exit from the EU Single Market will continue to weigh on foreign trade. Unemployment is expected to peak at the end of 2021 as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is withdrawn. Inflation is set to increase due to past increases in commodity prices and strong GDP growth but should remain below the 2% inflation target.

The UK has seen wage inflation become an issue particularly in the manufacturing, logistics and hospitality sectors, primarily due to a shortage of workers from the EU due to Brexit rules along with many people returning to their country of origin. Recently there have been over 1m vacancies listed primarily for shop floor and blue-collarworkers.

Household savings have increased dramatically. Since not all foregone consumption of services has been redirected towards substitutes, that has led households to accumulate savings in excess of £168bn. Although some households saw their incomes fall over the past year, whole economy disposable income stayed broadly flat in 2020, in part cushioned by the government’s income support schemes. As a result, the household saving ratio ended 2020 at 16% of disposable income, having peaked at 26% in 2020 Q2 as lockdown rules were eased and consumer spending started to climb.

Public sector net borrowing roseto 14.3% of GDPin 2020-21, the highest proportion of GDP since 1945-46. At £300bn, that was also the highest amount on record, and around double the level it reached at its peak following the Great Recession .The rise in borrowing has so far been a spending story, with higher expenditure accounting for 85% of the increase in the deficit in 2020-21. The total cost of past and planned COVID-related government interventions now amounts to nearly £350bn.

Business investment is forecasted to rebound strongly in 2021 and 2022, driven by the reopening of the economy and the introduction of the super-deduction incentive. However, business investment is projected to slow sharply in 2023 as the super-deduction incentive ends and corporation tax increases

Mark Firth

Managing Partner, UK

E: mfirth@taplowgroup.com

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