State-owned companies jump in value

The 57 Swedish state-owned firms are estimated to have increased their total worth by 24 percent or 120 billion kronor ($15.77 billion) to 620 billion kronor in 2009, according to new government estimates.

In 2009, revenue from state-owned enterprises grew to 352.7 billion kronor from 312.5 billion kronor. However, profit after tax declined to 34.7 billion kronor from 43.4 billion kronor. Dividends also trimmed to 20.8 billion kronor from 21.8 billion kronor.

The government outlined how it has evaluated the portfolio of state-owned companies throughout its mandate period to determine which ones it can privatize.

Since its election in 2006, the government has sold its shares in Vin & Sprit, Vasakronan and in OMX, netting slightly more than 119 billion kronor. It also oversaw the merger of Sweden’s Posten and Post Danmark.

In addition, it has renewed and clarified the goals of Sveaskog and Vattenfall. The government also undertook a comprehensive restructuring of Apoteket, which resulted in the sale of some of its retail outlets. The government claims this has brought more players into the market and increased competition.

The government’s holdings in TeliaSonera, Nordea Bank and SAS also rose in value by 55 percent to 147.2 billion kronor by the end of the year from 94.67 billion in 2008. The value of the holdings slipped slightly by 3 percent to 142.99 billion as of June 16th.

In addition, the government’s efforts to increase the proportion of women on the boards of state-owned companies has paid off. The proportion of women on state-owned company boards continues to increase and now stands at 49 percent in the fully owned state-owned companies, compared with 21 percent at listed companies.

The proportion of chairwomen at state-owned companies is also increasing and now stands at 34 percent, compared with 3 percent at listed companies, an enormous improvement from 2005, when the figure was 22 percent.

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Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.