Investor: Absolut owner ‘is attractive’

The Wallenberg family's investment company Investor has expressed an interest in buying the state-owned maker of Absolut Vodka, Vin & Sprit.

Venture capital company EQT, which is part-owned by Investor, would lead any purchase of the drinks maker, which the government has said it wants to sell.

“We are working together with EQT and Vin & Sprit,” said Investor CEO Börje Ekholm. He said he did not think that it would be hard to finance a deal to buy the drinks maker, despite the current turbulence on the credit markets.

“It is an attractive company which I believe we can finance jointly,” he said in an interview with news agency TT, as Investor presented its third quarter report.

Ekholm was also asked about rumours that Investor was interested in buying German truckmaker MAN, a competitor to Scania, in which Investor is a major shareholder. Ekholm said he “has nothing specific to say” about any potential deal.

He indirectly referred to rumours that SEB, the Swedish bank in which Investor is the largest owner, wants to buy the state’s shares in rival bank Nordea. He said that there was movement on the bank market.

“We will naturally follow developments in order to do what is best for the bank and for Investor,” he said.

Investor’s net asset value at the end of the third quarter was 174.6 billion kronor, or 228 kronor per share. At the start of the year the company’s net asset value was 159.3 billion kronor, or 208 kronor per share.

Profits for the company were 18.86 billion kronor for the year’s first nine months, up from 17.91 billion in the same period last year.

The company increased its shareholding in SEB and Husqvarna during the period.