#10 - Business news from the Economic Mission of the French Embassy in Denmark [fr]
#10 - Business news from the Economic Mission – 30.04.2021
Disclaimer - The Economic Mission strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information and will correct, to the extent possible, any errors that are brought to our attention. However, it cannot be held responsible for the use and interpretation of the information contained in this publication.
New strategic acquisitions for Saint-Gobain in Denmark
Saint-Gobain, which designs, produces and distributes building materials, is one of the 100 most innovative companies in the world. Particularly in Denmark, Saint-Gobain innovates, notably through acquisitions of dynamic companies that enrich its portfolio of products and services. In one year, 3 Danish companies have joined the Saint-Gobain family. They offer expertise on complex ventilation projects (AirForce, acquired in January 2021), a technical service for machines and pumps for cement and mortar (Vergutech, acquired in February 2021), or an IoT platform to process smart sensor data (MobilePeople, acquired in March 2020).
Opening of the new Colas asphalt plant in Horsens
Colas, a subsidiary of the French group Bouygues, has been producing asphalt in Horsens since the 1960s. On April 19, 2021, the road construction company opened a new plant there. It meets all environmental requirements, with a focus on reducing CO2 emissions and recycling old asphalt. The plant was built in just six months and will enable Colas to supply asphalt for infrastructure projects in East and South Jutland, as well as in Fionie.
Different scenarios for economic recovery in Denmark, depending on the deployment of vaccination in the world
New calculations by Oxford Economics for the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI) show that Danish growth in 2021 will depend heavily on the speed and success of vaccination programs around the world. Three scenarios have been drawn up by economists from DI and Oxford Economics: in the most likely scenario, they assume that the vaccination goes ahead as planned, which would allow for an easing of restrictions in many markets, as early as the second quarter of 2021. Thus, the main scenario forecasts an increase in Danish GDP of about 2.1% in 2021. However, if vaccination programs fall behind schedule, or prove less effective than expected against new variants, restrictions could be extended or reintroduced. According to Oxford Economics calculations, which put the probability of this scenario at 20%, this would result in an increase in Danish GDP of only 0.4% in 2021. Finally, Oxford Economics foresees a third scenario, also with a 20% probability: if new deliveries allow the acceleration of vaccination programs around the world, Danish growth could reach 3.8% in 2021.Finans
Carsten Egeriis, new CEO of Danske Bank
The bank’s former CEO, Chris Vogelzang (in office since June 2019), resigned after being named as a suspect in a money laundering case in the Netherlands from his time at the Dutch bank ABN Amro (from 2000 to 2017). His replacement at Danske Bank, Carsten Egeriis, has more than 20 years of experience in the financial sector. Chief Risk Officer since 2017, he has been on the bank’s board of directors for nearly four years, and has played a central role in the bank’s risk and crisis management policy in recent years. Before joining Danske Bank, he spent more than ten years at Barclays Bank in London, after working for General Electric in Hanover and Lisbon. Carsten Egeriis is also chairman of the Finans Denmark organization. Finans
Donkey Republic goes public
The bike-sharing company Donkey Republic, founded in 2014, has a fleet of more than 13,000 bikes in 60 cities in 14 European countries (including Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany). In France, the orange bikes are present in Valenciennes. Donkey Republic will soon be listed on the stock exchange, with the aim of raising DKK 100 million (€13.5 million). This capital injection will be used, among other things, to invest in new markets. Since 2016, Vækstfonden has been one of Donkey Republic’s investors. The company expects the bike-sharing market to grow by 15-20% per year over the next five years, and hopes to reach 50,000 bikes in Europe by 2024. Finans
Record funding by Vækstfonden in 2020
In 2020, 1,561 companies received more than DKK 11bn (€1.5bn) in funding from Vækstfonden, a record for the Danish state investment fund. By comparison, 825 companies had received funding from the fund in 2019, amounting to DKK 2.4bn (€320m). As part of the coronavirus crisis, Vækstfonden received a capital injection of DKK 4.9bn (€660m) from the state in 2020 to provide financial leverage to hard-hit companies. The injection has enabled the sovereign wealth fund to strengthen its lending, guarantee, equity and investment activities. According to Vækstfonden’s director, this funding has helped create and maintain about 20,000 jobs in 2020, and increase GDP by more than DKK 15 billion (€2 billion).
The government has released its plan for public infrastructure to 2035
The government’s new plan includes infrastructure projects totalling DKK 106 billion (€14.3 billion). DKK 47 billion (€6.3 billion) will be dedicated to new road projects, including the upgrading of a number of highways and roads, and DKK 40 billion (€5.4 billion) to public transport, including the transition to electric trains. This is in addition to the DKK 55 billion (€7.4 billion) of public infrastructure projects already voted on that will be completed by 2035. According to the government, the new plan is not expected to increase CO2 emissions from Denmark’s transport network. Brian Mikkelsen, CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce (DE), congratulated the government on this very ambitious plan, while regretting the absence of the Hærvej freeway between Hobro and Haderslev. This freeway project in central Jutland is also mentioned by many companies in the region, as well as by the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI). The Confederation of Danish Industries (DI) is also calling on Parliament to conclude a broad agreement for the next ten years, which should include specific construction dates for each project. The government hopes to sign a broad political agreement on new infrastructure projects up to 2035 before the summer.Børsen, Børsen, Børsen, DI
Denmark ranks third in the World Economic Forum’s energy transition ranking.
The Energy Transition Index developed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) compares 115 countries on the performance of their energy systems. It measures the ability of these systems to support economic development and growth, ensure universal access to a secure and reliable energy supply, and promote environmental sustainability along the energy value chain. In 2021, Denmark is ranked third, after Sweden and Norway. The three Nordic countries, along with the UK (7th), France (9th) and Germany (18th), are the only G20 countries in the top 20. In its report, the WEF notes that Denmark’s leading position on energy transition is due in particular to a strong political commitment, ambitious long-term objectives, and stable policies
Ørsted and ATP prepare bid for North Sea energy island
The Danish energy giant and the state-owned pension fund have announced their collaboration to bid for the world’s first artificial energy island, which will be built in the North Sea, about 50 miles off the Danish coast. While Ørsted has expressed concern about the technical challenges of the project in the past, CEO Mads Nippen said energy islands could potentially become a new business area for the company, which has already built more than 25 offshore wind farms worldwide. Bo Foged, director of ATP, also sees the project as an opportunity to help build Danish leadership in the green transition. At a cost of DKK 210 billion (€28.2 billion), the artificial energy island is the largest construction project in Danish history, as well as a pillar of the Danish government’s climate ambitions. According to the Danish Energy Agency, the first phase of the project (3 GW) would generate a profit of DKK 13 billion (€1.8 billion) over a 30-year period. According to Jan Bentzen, associate professor at the University of Aarhus, however, this is an unrealistic estimate: this first phase would result in a deficit of DKK 12 to 21 billion (€1.6 to 2.8 billion). The Danish think tanks Kraka and Cepos recommend stopping the project because of the great uncertainty surrounding its financing. On the other hand, Axcelfuture maintains that the project is still necessary to meet the growing need for green energy by 2030. Finans, Børsen
Risk of abandoning the Omø Syd offshore wind farm project
Danish energy developer European Energy has been working for nearly a decade to develop the first state-supported offshore wind farm, Omø Syd, 7.5 km south of the island of Omø. With a capacity of 320 MW, the project would provide green energy to 350,000 Danish homes. But the project, which has already cost European Energy DKK 20 million (€2.7 million) to prepare, could be abandoned. This is because the waters of Småland, where Omø Syd is to be built, are in the process of being designated by the government as a bird protection area. A concrete evaluation of the project will be carried out, with a deadline for consultation set for 7 May. Dansk Energi and the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI) point out that several onshore renewable energy projects have already suffered from the contradictions between the government’s climate and nature conservation considerations. Berlingske
Ørsted acquires Brookfield Renewable Ireland (BRI)
Ørsted has entered into an agreement with Brookfield Renewables to acquire the onshore wind business of this operator in Ireland and the UK. This consists of wind farms with a total of 389 MW (in operation and under construction), as well as a pipeline of more than 1 GW in the development phase. Ørsted entered the onshore renewables business in 2018, with an initial focus on the US. Today, Ørsted’s- U.S. onshore business has reached a significant level, with a 4 GW wind and solar operation and construction portfolio. Building on its success in the US, Ørsted is now looking to strengthen its onshore renewable energy business in Europe: according to Mads Nipper, CEO of Ørsted, the acquisition of BRI represents a first step and a solid foundation for expanding into the European market. Børsen