Investor plunges into the red in second quarter

Investor, Northern Europe's biggest industrial holding company, fell into the red in the second quarter with a net loss of 3.52 billion kronor ($585 million) due to the global economic turndown.


In the same period a year earlier, Investor reported a net profit of 19.3 billion kronor.


“The second quarter was another turbulent period in the financial markets. After a solid start, the markets experienced sharp declines towards the end of the quarter,” Investor's chief executive Börje Ekholm said in a statement.


“The credit squeeze and a general economic slowdown in the developed countries, combined with concerns about rising inflation, troubled the markets considerably,” he said.


Investor's net asset value totalled 138.8 billion kronor at the end of June compared to 182.5 billion at the end of June a year earlier.


Per share, net asset value fell from 203 kronor at the end of December 2007 to 182 kronor on June 30th.


Among Investor's main holdings are Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB, Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, Swedish bank SEB, industrial equipment manufacturer Atlas Copco, and the world leader in telecoms networks, Ericsson.


Investor, which is controlled by the influential Wallenberg family, has also been one of the main shareholders in Swedish truckmaker Scania.


Among its holdings, only Scania and aviation and defence group Saab had a positive impact on earnings, Investor said.


Scania had a positive impact on earnings of 3.2 billion kronor, while SEB had a negative impact of 6.51 billion.


Investor said it believed however it was in a good position to face the market turbulence thanks to its strong financial health.


“Our balance sheet will be even stronger when we receive the proceeds from the divestiture of our shares in Scania to Volkswagen,” Ekholm said, adding that the transaction was to be completed during the third quarter.