April 30, 2020 / 9:11 AM / a month ago

Swedish govt offers companies $4 billion to replace revenues lost to virus

FILE PHOTO: Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson speaks during a news conference on approved extra means for the unemployment benefit scheme during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, in Stockholm, Sweden, March 30, 2020. TT News Agency/Janerik Henriksson via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s government said on Thursday it would offer companies financial support for revenues lost due to virus outbreak in a measure worth around 39 billion Swedish crowns (3.18 billion pounds).

While Sweden has opted against a total lockdown, businesses have been hard hit by the outbreak of the virus and measures to bring it under control. The government reckons the export-dependent economy will shrink around 7% this year.

In its latest move to cushion the blow, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said the government would partly recompense companies for lost revenues in March and April up to a value of 150 million crowns each.

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said the measure would bring the government’s spending package to cushion the effects of the virus outbreak on the economy to around 170 billion crowns. It has also offered up to 600 billion crowns in loans and guarantees.

“This is over 3% of GDP, so clearly the measures we have taken as a result of this crisis are very substantial,” she told a news conference. “This is another measure to save Swedish companies and Swedish jobs.”

She said the government’s total package was estimated to save around 175,000 jobs.

Revenue support is the second costliest measure taken by the government in the wake of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, with wage support for workers on reduced hours estimated to cost around 49 billion crowns.

Reporting by Simon Johnson; editing by Johan Ahlander and Niklas Pollard

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