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Danish report Danish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-08-22 08:39:29
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Danish report regional banks dump assets to avoid international funding wall

Denmark’s regional banks are cutting lending and selling off assets to generate cash needed to escape an international funding wall as policy makers grope for measures to boost liquidity. “It still looks difficult for banks of our size to get money in the international markets,” Lasse Nyby, chief executive officer at Spar Nord Bank A/S, Denmark’s fourth- largest listed lender, said in an interview yesterday. “We think it will remain that way for some time.”

Spar Nord is now looking for buyers to offload its leasing business, for which it hopes to generate about 7 billion kroner ($1.35 billion). That will cover the 7.2 billion kroner in state-backed bonds the bank needs to repay by 2013, Nyby said. Such a sale “would mean we’d be completely independent of having to get funding internationally,” he said. “We want to be free of having to get funding in the international markets.”

Denmark’s bank industry is still reeling from the fallout of two regional bank failures this year that triggered the European Union’s toughest resolution laws and resulted in senior creditor losses. While the government is working on measures to allow lenders to sidestep the bill, banks still face liquidity shortages. The central bank this week responded by extending its collateral terms indefinitely, as policy makers’ hammer out the details of proposals to ease Denmark’s banking crisis.

Sick leave costing economy

According to a new study on sick days in Denmark, people called in sick approximately six million times in the second quarter of 2011, a period with a total of 64 workdays – and seven of those were national holidays. With a total employed workforce of under 2,600,000 people, it meant that the average working Dane called in sick more than twice in the three-month period.  Those six million lost work days accounted for some 12 billion kroner in lost economic productivity, according to the study by Medhelp, which administers sick leave for many of the country's public and private workplaces. Most of the sick days were taken on Mondays. Women between the ages of 15 and 29 took the most sick days, whereas men between the ages of 30 and 54 took the least.

Another study released in June by Personalestyrelsen, which acts as the state’s human resources department for some 185,000 state employees, revealed a worrying rise in the number of sick leave days taken by young employees and particularly young men. Sick days for young state employees between the ages of 20 and 29 increased by 51 percent between 2002 and 2011, with an especially strong spike after 2008, according to Personalestyrelsen. While employees between the ages of 20 and 29 accounted for just 14.6 percent of the public sector workforce, they were responsible for more than 33 percent of all sick days taken. The number of sick days raised the most among young men under the age of 25. Their sick day totals nearly tripled per capita from 2003 to 2009. Revealingly, the same demographic – young men under 25 – were hired in large numbers in the same period.

“It indicates that this group of workers is not optimally integrated. Exactly this kind of development has to be taken seriously,” senior researcher Thomas Lund from Arbejdsmedicinsk Klinik in Herning, told Politiken newspaper. At Arbejdsmedicinsk Klinik, doctors, sociologists and other specialists, study causes and means of prevention for workplace related illnesses. Lund’s colleague, senior researcher Merete Labriola, concurred that the high number of sick days among young employees would become an expensive problem for society if left unaddressed. “In general, it could have to do with having a generation of especially vulnerable young people,” Labriola said. “It is incredibly important to prioritise our resources and learn the reasons for their high absence on account of sickness and then find a solution for it. If they continue to call in sick so much it will be very expensive for society as they get older.”


5 men face terrorism charges

Danish police say five men face preliminary charges of attempted terrorism after trying to burn down two police buildings and a bank in Copenhagen earlier this year.

Prosecutor Dorit Borgaard said on Thursday that she has expanded preliminary arson charges to include attempted terrorism. Preliminary charges are a step short of formal charges.

Four men were arrested in April when trying to torch a police academy. They are also suspected of attempted arson against Nordea bank's headquarters in January.

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