Swedish companies see positive opportunities in Russia

The number of Swedish companies setting up a presence in Russia is increasing all the time and they are very positive to the opportunities Russia offers. However, there remain considerable challenges, particularly corruption which is considered a problem. This is highlighted in a business climate study jointly undertaken by the Swedish Trade Council and Swedbank.

The study shows that the number of companies operating in Russia is on the rise and that they see a very positive future. A majority of companies anticipate strong growth in the next few years: 82 percent of respondents stated that the country offered very good growth opportunities. Russia’s middle class is enjoying strong growth and is expected to drive the economy. At the same time, Russia is facing challenges which prevent businesses from developing to their full potential. Corruption, communication difficulties, a shortage of educated workers and an under-developed financial sector are problem areas identified in the study.

-  The study indicates that Russia has an underdeveloped banking sector. Swedish companies require stable banks, entailing a business opportunity for us. “We anticipate significant growth potential, although there is much that can be done in Russia to improve the business climate” said Raimo Valo, head of Swedbank Russia.

Sweden’s trade relations with Russia are growing from strength to strength. Russia is currently Sweden’s thirteenth-largest export market accounting for around 2.0 percent of Sweden’s total exports. Russia is also Sweden’s fourth-largest import market, particularly following significant fuel imports.

-  Russia is extremely self-confident on the back of its successes in all areas in recent years, notwithstanding the turmoil the country has undergone in recent months. “We believe that despite Russia’s structural problems, Swedish companies operating in Russia are very optimistic about the future” said Fredrik Häggström, the Swedish Trade Council’s trade secretary in Russia.

The study was undertaken from June to August 2008. A large group of Swedish companies operating in Russia answered a questionnaire and/or were interviewed. The full report is available for downloading from www.swedishtrade.se/ryssland/ and www.swedbank.se

For further information, please contact:

Carl Louis De Geer, Swedish Trade Council, Russia, tel. + 7 495 788 11 30, + 7 985 160 44 87

Sara Arborén, Press Officer, Swedbank, tel + 46 76 118 07 95

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