What's Up in Scandinavia's EMS Industry?


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Scandinavia, consisting of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland is relatively small in regards to the overall European EMS revenues, and counts for less than 6% of the European EMS production value. Nevertheless, more than 160 companies offer EMS services, not counting companies who only manufacture cable harnesses or just do design work, box building, and after-sales services.

Even so, there are some larger companies with several different manufacturing locations; as long as these locations are separate legal entities, they are counted and analyzed individually at Weiss Engineering, rather than just looking at the numbers of the mother company, which might as well include revenues from countries outside of Europe.

By far, the biggest EMS hub in Scandinavia is Sweden, with nearly 50% of all EMS companies. Finland and Denmark are nearly equal regarding the amount of companies, and Norway has about half of the number of companies compared to Denmark. If one looks at the revenues, Finland is double that of Denmark; while Norway‘s EMS revenues are more than 30% than that of Denmark.

Talking about growth rates, it becomes tricky. Many people convert all numbers into U.S. dollars. Whereas, this might be a way to compare the countries on a global scale, it does not necessarily reflect what the situation in the individual country is. The US dollar is not the center of the world and neither is the euro. In Scandinavia, only Finland has converted its currency 17 years ago to euro. All other Scandinavian countries still have their individual currencies such as the Norsk krone, the Svenska krona and the Dansk krone. The Dansk krone has been stable to the euro over the last three years, but the Svenska krona changed nearly 9.5% to the euro from 2013 to 2016, and the Norsk krone even 19% at the same time.

Therefore, it is not a wonder that EMS manufacturers in Norway had a decline in revenues of more than 4% calculated in euro in 2016 compared to 2015, but in Norsk krone, it was just minus 0.5%. In Sweden, a decline of more than 2% in euro even turned into a plus of 0.5% when looked at in local currency. The same is valid for Great Britain and Switzerland, where negative growth in euro converted to a positive change in local currency. In Great Britain, the difference was even significant.

The worrying point of the Scandinavian EMS industry is that in Norway, 50% of all companies reported losses in 2015 as well as in 2016, and the average profit after tax fell to a low of 0.3% of revenues. In Sweden, Finland and Denmark, 25% of all companies reported losses. At least in Sweden, profitability was better and even improved compared to 2015.

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