Investor posts 36 billion kronor loss for 2008

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 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.