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.


Sweden financier Peter Wallenberg dies in sleep

UPDATED: One of Sweden's most powerful financiers, Peter Wallenberg, has died at the age of 88, with the country's King Carl XVI Gustaf saying he had lost "a close and loyal friend".

Sweden financier Peter Wallenberg dies in sleep
Peter Wallenberg in 2014. Photo: TT
Peter Wallenberg, who was born in 1926, came from one of Sweden's most prominent families, with other relatives active in banking, politics, diplomacy and business.
His most famous relative was Raoul Wallenberg, a diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust during World War Two and who went missing seventy years ago this weekend.
Peter Wallenberg had a long career in finance after graduating from law school. He worked in the UK, the US and Africa, before settling in Sweden and working on the board of several leading industrial companies including Electrolux and Ericsson. He also helped establish Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca in 1999.
Until earlier this month he had remained active in the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, a Sweden's largest private financial research organisation.
During the past five years, the foundation has granted a total of five billion kronor for various projects, mainly at Swedish universities.
"With deep regret, the Management Board of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation announce that its honorary president Peter Wallenberg died in his sleep at his home on Monday at the age of 88," said a statement from the foundation.

"Peter Wallenberg has been active on the board since 1971 and has held the presidency from 1982 until recently," it added.

Wallenberg became heavily involved in the foundation after his older brother Marc Wallenberg killed himself in 1971.
“Marc and I were very close,” he told Sweden's Sydsvenska Dagbladet newspaper back in 2006.
“I didn’t see what was coming, despite sitting talking to him two hours before he took his life. It was a big misfortune and I felt a terrible emptiness.”
Reacting to the news of Peter Wallenberg's death, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf said in a written statement: "Peter Wallenberg has meant a lot to Swedish industry. He was also deeply involved in the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, which contributed to scientific development in Sweden. For the royal family, Peter was a close and loyal friend."
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that he had "great respect" for the financier, who he said had played a "big role in Swedish business for decades."
Peter Wallenberg was married three times and leaves behind two sons.