Location, logistics and lifestyle swung the choice in Malmö's favour, according to Medac Scandinavia's managing director, Henrik Fenger. "Having an office in Malmö enables all our staff to get in and out of our Scandinavian locations in one day, which isn't possible for our three offices in Roskilde (Denmark), Varberg (Sweden) and Oslo (Norway)," he explains.
"The train from Copenhagen airport goes directly to Malmö Central Station, which is just five minutes from our office in Malmö. That's key for us. It means we or our colleagues can get from Hamburg to Malmö or vice versa the same day."
The company established its Malmö office in April 2016. From here, it sells pharmaceuticals across Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, specialising in prescription drugs for hospitals in the fields of oncology, urology and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Medac has annual sales in Scandinavia of around €20 million, roughly half of which are in Sweden. Solid growth in recent years has seen it steadily outgrow its Swedish office in Varberg, where Medac established an office in 1999.
The company considered Stockholm for its Nordic HQ, but was won over by Malmö's lower costs and closer proximity to Germany and the rest of Europe.
"The Malmö region offers us easy access and opportunities to meet with important stakeholders that we have in both Copenhagen and Malmö. Logistically it is easy to travel in and out of the region, which makes it attractive," Fenger says.
"Malmö is a great location for a Scandinavian or Nordic affiliate because the Öresund region is very multinational and has a very Nordic mindset. You will find many people in the region who know not just their national market but also know their way round the other Scandinavian markets."
Importantly for Medac, Malmö is also at the centre of the Medicon Valley pharmaceutical and biotech cluster, which brings together enterprises and research institutes in both Sweden and Denmark.
Over the years, this fertile environment has nurtured the emergence of a large talent pool in the life science sector. A thriving biotech sector, in southern Sweden especially, strikes a favourable balance between entrepreneurial biotech firms and established pharma companies.
For Medac, which sells its products directly to hospitals, easy access to major hospitals in Malmö and Lund in Sweden, and Copenhagen, Herlev and Glostrup in Denmark was also a major plus.
Fenger praises Skåne for its quality of life, low crime rate and international outlook.
"It's an attractive place to work and live. Living in Sweden is safe for your children and family and there's a lot of access to cultures from around the world – not least in Malmö, which is very international. You can see that in the entertainment scene and the restaurant scene and the many things Malmö has to offer as an international city."
That is not to say there's no room for improvement. The introduction of border controls between Sweden and Denmark in response to the Syrian refugee crisis has inconvenienced many workers and their employers – including Medac.
"Passport controls are obviously a blow to the open borders and integration of the Öresund region and cause us inconvenience in terms of time and hassle. We're following the situation very closely and hope it's only a temporary thing, though the extensions of controls keep on coming," he says.
Medac would also like to see easier access to healthcare professionals, which is limited by government regulations and strict ethical requirements. "In Scandinavia you cannot just walk into a hospital and say you want to speak to a doctor about your drug. This means we cannot interact with our customers as we would like to," Fenger says.
Still, the company sees strong potential in the Scandinavian market and plenty of room to grow.
"Our location is perfect for us and gives us an opportunity to expand," Fenger says. "Our sales growth has been in double figures in recent years and we expect double digit growth this year too."