Investor posts 36 billion kronor loss for 2008

The Wallenberg industrial holding company Investor reported huge losses for 2008 on Monday, despite a reduction in fourth quarter losses.

Investor posts 36 billion kronor loss for 2008

Investor reported a loss of 15.5 billion kronor ($1.8 billion) in the final three months of 2008 compared with 19.2 billion kronor in fourth quarter 2007.

But for the full year the loss came to 36.73 billion kronor against 367 million in 2007, notably as a result of its investment in the bank SEB, Investor said in a statement.

“2008 was an unsatisfactory year to be a shareholder of Investor AB,” chief executive Börje Ekholm acknowledged.

“We experienced stock market declines of a magnitude not seen since the 1930s.

“Although we had previously expressed concerns about risks in the financial system and its effect on the real economy, we failed to see the force and speed of the correction.”

But he said the company, having taken measures several years ago such as net divestment and extending the maturity of its debt, was now able to cope with the global financial downturn.

“Fortunately, today, we are in this downturn with a net cash position of 9.0 billion kronor.”

He said that during the year the group had invested in Atlas Copco, Electrolux, Husqvarna and SEB.

“We are convinced these investments will offer good longer term value, although we could have timed them better in the short term.”

Investor, controlled by the Wallenberg family, is the biggest industrial holding company in northern Europe, holding stakes in most of Sweden’s leading companies, such as telecom equipment maker Ericsson and appliance maker Electrolux.


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.