Sweden’s financial families ride economic rollercoaster

Two of Sweden's most powerful financial families, the Wallenbergs and the Stenbecks, have had a bumpy ride on this year's turbulent stock market.

Wallenberg’s Investor and Stenbeck’s Kinnevik are each majority shareholders in many of the main winners and losers on the Stockholm exchange.

Wallenberg’s cash cows for 2007 came in the form of OMX, Scania and ABB. A bidding circus surrounding OMX drove shares in the stock exchange operator up more than 100 percent, while Scania and ABB climbed more than 40 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Ericsson meanwhile has emerged as the rotten egg in the Wallenberg basket, with shares in the telecoms giant shedding 40 percent of their value since the end of last year. Although somewhat hidden in Ericsson’s shadow, shares in defence industry company Saab fared little better. Astra Zeneca and SEB bank also experienced a year to forget.

For Kinnevik and the Stenbeck clan, Millicom and Tele 2 brought home the bacon, growing in value by 85 percent and 45 percent.

But free newspaper provider Metro has plummeted since the start of the year, losing 40 percent of its value. Customer relations company Transcom has fared almost as poorly, shedding 40 percent.

In the head to head battle, Kinnevik is still very much on its feet as coming up to the end of the twelfth round, with its shares portfolio having grown by 35 percent. Investor on the other is punch drunk and on the ropes, down 10 percent since the beginning of the year.