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University of Copenhagen
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University turns surprise 160m profit

The University of Copenhagen made a DKK 160 million profit in 2010. But the good news from the annual accounts comes after dire predictions of a DKK 25 million loss. Losses that were the main argument for laying off 120 employees last year. Now staff representatives question the University’s ability to steer its budgets

82 employees were laid off last year, and a further 35 took up an offer to leave voluntarily.

The staff cutbacks were to save the University of Copenhagen DKK 60-70 million in costs, in an attempt to limit expected losses of over DKK 25 million. But the University of Copenhagen can now report a profit of DKK 160 million, according to an internal memorandum in the possession of our Danish sister site Universitetsavisen. Staff representatives question the university management’s ability to manage its finances.

»The University is expecting profits at the expense of the many staff members who were laid off in 2010. Staff representatives strongly advise that the University of Copenhagen gets better at managing their finances, so we don’t end up in the same situation this year, letting people go in spite of expected profits,« Poul Erik Krogshave, the Deputy Head of the staff representatives’ organisation HSU, said recently.

Profits saved for rainy day

Joan Lykkeaa, HSU staff representative, says that it is worrying that the university isn’t better at managing its budgets. This will make it harder for the university to successfully apply for funding for research and education in the future.

According to the University of Copenhagen’s director, Jørgen Honoré, the Board of the University asked management in the second quarter last year to improve the bottom line 2010 if possible as a buffer against future funding shortfalls: In 2012 the Danish government will cut a large amount of state funding for universities, as the so-called Globalisation Fund pool is terminated. The aim is to save profits from 2010 to 2012, so staff reductions can be kept to a minimum.

See earlier article: Director: University heading towards abyss

University targets increase in net worth

University director Honoré says that the improved numbers on the annual accounts are a direct result of the freeze on new hiring.

Another factor is a new budget model that allows individual faculties to carry unspent money over into the next fiscal year. This means, however, that the money one faculty saves up, cannot be transferred to another, Jørgen Honoré explains.

On top of this, the University of Copenhagen saved approximately DKK 20 million in property taxes in 2010.

The University of Copenhagen has a net capital of just over DKK 450 million, but management has decided on a target of DKK 525 million.

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