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Many shopkeepers at the Västermalmsgalleria are up in arms against Boultbee

Shopkeepers accuse British company

"No one in Sweden trusts Boultbee"
3:54 min

Many of Stockholm's most important shopping centres could be in trouble, as their landlord is raising rents and also having financial problems. Tenants now complain that the British-based Boultbee company is taking out such high profits that the Swedish shopping centres are at risk.

Boultbee Stockholm, an umbrella for all the local stockholm shopping centre companies, was seriously in the red in it's last report - by about 349 Swedish kronor, or $US 54 million.

Nevertheless the company has been paying out millions to shareholders, which the Swedish business magazine Market says may be against the law.

The shopping centre in Stockholm's Kungsholmen - the Västermalmsgallerian - is owned by a sub-business of Boultbee Stockholm, which is also doing badly financially, but paying out big profits to shareholders. Some Swedish politicians say this is illegal and have reported the company to the economic crimes department for investigation.

And the shopkeepers at the Västermalmsgalerian are worried that if their landlord collapses, all the rent they've paid will be lost. Steffan Johansson is a manager at the Ica supermarket, in the Västermalmsgalerian. He says that the rent rises go hand in hand with a lack of maintenance of the centre by Boultbee, and that the root cause is the high price that Boultbee paid for the centre, when they bought it from the city of Stockholm.

"Today all the shops are getting together and discussing what we can do. We hope we will have a solution in a couple of days."

He also says that Boultbee has now destroyed its credibility. "No one in Sweden trusts Boultbee - any more".

Radio Sweden has tried to get a comment from Boultbee's representatives in Sweden and the UK, but they did not want to make a statement. A press release may follow in the near future - so keep following the story on Radio Sweden.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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