Investor ‘ready to invest’ as assets climb

Swedish holding firm and Wallenberg family powerhouse Investor has reported a net asset value of 152.4 billion kronor ($22.9 billion), up 9 percent on year-end 2009.

Investor 'ready to invest' as assets climb

The profit for the period, including unrealized change in value, was 13.2 billion kronor (26.4). The corresponding figure for the third quarter was 4.9 billion kronor (12.5).

“The markets have remained unsettled during the quarter. Even though we have been discharged from the Emergency Room after the financial crises, the rehabilitation process continues,” said CEO Börje Ekholm in a statement.

Core investments contributed 12.8 billion to growth in net asset value over the period with Atlas Copco having the largest positive impact (5.7 billion), and Saab AB having the largest negative impact (-342 million).

Significant events during the period include the acquisition and consolidation of healthcare provider Aleris for a sum of 2.5 billion kronor.

Furthermore Investor announced the purchase of an additional 34 percent of the equity in Mölnlycke Health Care for approximately €510 million. Investor will own 96 percent of the company after regulatory approval, which is expected during the fourth quarter.

The firm made no further investments in core holdings during the period, but Ekholm said that “we remain prepared to invest when we find the valuation attractive”.

Operating investments contributed 1.2 billion kronor to net asset value over the period, while private equity investments contributed -437 million kronor.

The firm reported that telecom operator 3 Scandinavia continued to grow during the quarter on the back of demand for smart phones and continues to be cash flow positive with net debt down to below 10 billion kronor.

“All in all, we are pleased with the portfolio of companies we have within Operating Investments, and we continue to see many opportunities to generate proprietary value,” Ekholm said.

Leverage (net debt/total assets) amounted to 4.7 percent at end September 2010.

The total return on the Investor share was 6 percent (13) during the period. The total annual return averaged 6 percent over the past 5-year period.

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Swedish banking giants report mixed fortunes

Swedish bank Nordea on Thursday posted falling profits in the second quarter while competitor Handelsbanken announced growing figures for the same period.

Swedish banking giants report mixed fortunes
Handelsbanken CEO Pär Boman. File photo: TT

Nordea's net profit fell by 11 percent to €686 million ($928 million), compared to €771 million a year earlier.

"Interest rates continue to come down and the general level of economic activity as well as volatility is low," Nordea chief executive Christian Clausen said in a statement.

"We have seen continued strong activity in our savings area and in the corporate advisory business."

Revenue was almost stable at €1.368 billion, compared to €1.391 billion for the same period last year.

"Low loan growth and interest rates also put pressure on our net interest income," Clausen said.

The bank said that its cost-cutting plan was "progressing as planned" and that it expects to see the results by the end of 2014 and onwards.

Nordea said it has saved €300 million since the launch of the cost-reduction measures at the beginning 2013.

The second quarter looked better for Handelsbanken, which posted profits increasing by 9.0 percent compared to a year earlier to 4.034 billion kronor ($590 million).

Revenue reached 6.704 billion kronor, slightly above the 6.653 billion kronor the bank posted in the same period of 2013.

The loan loss ratio was 0.07 percent, the same as last year.

Handelsbanken is Sweden's largest bank in terms of deposits.

Between April and June, its liquidity reserves stayed above 800 billion kronor, as the bank continued its expansion in the British market.

"The bank has decided to establish a fifth regional bank in the UK, with its head office in Leeds," Handelsbanken said in a statement, adding that this would start in the first quarter of 2015.