Investor AB | Sweden

INVESTOR AB & THE NORWEGIAN WEALTH FUND

I recently purchased INVESTOR AB shares (class B shares, without voting rights) under the Ticker Symbol INVEB or ISIN: SE0015811955.

The stock entered my radar when Nicolai Tangen, CEO of the Norwegian Global Pension Fund (NBIM), mentioned INVESTOR AB stock in his Podcast “In Good Company” with John Elkann. Nicolai stated that John’s Exor NV stock (ticker: EXO) reminded him of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and the Swedish Wallenberg family’s holding Investor AB.

That reference was enough to make me dig deeper into the stock. First of all, I value Nicolai’s judgment because his NBIM, the Norwegian Wealth fund with 1,48 Trillion USD of investments (December 2023), owns 2,47% of EXOR NV (0.57 Billion USD) and  1,58% of INVESTOR AB (1,1 Billion USD) (Data: December 2023). As a satisfied owner of EXOR NV, and knowing the exceptionality of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, I was immediately intrigued to learn more about INVESTOR AB’s history and business model.

To keep things in perspective, it is worth mentioning that Investor AB’s market capitalization (December 2023) was SEK 711 billion, or EUR 60.4 billion. Exor’s market capitalization was EUR 22 billion, while Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had an approximate USD 800 billion capitalization. So, in the case of INVESTOR AB, we are talking about a very sizable holding. 

INVESTOR AB | THE HISTORY

Investor AB is a Swedish investment company founded by the Wallenberg family in 1916. It is one of Europe’s largest and oldest industrial holding companies, with a diverse portfolio of holdings in various sectors. Investor AB became the investment arm of the family. Its members are renowned as bankers, industrialists, politicians, bureaucrats, and diplomats, present in most large Swedish industrial groups, like Ericsson, Electrolux, ABB, SAS Group, SKF, AIK, Atlas Copco, Saab AB, and more. In the 1970s, the Wallenberg family businesses employed 40% of Sweden’s industrial workforce and represented 40% of the total worth of the Stockholm stock market. In 1990, the family was estimated to indirectly control one-third of the Swedish Gross National Product (ref.). The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundations is the single largest owner, with 20.07 % of the capital and 42.96% of the votes (ref.).

INVESTOR AB website states:

We create value for people and society by building strong and sustainable companies. Through substantial ownership and board participation, we drive initiatives that we believe create value and support our companies to remain or become best-in-class. Our portfolio is organized in three business areas: Listed Companies, Patricia Industries and Investments in EQT.

Investor has operated with the same business philosophy since the company was founded in 1916 – to invest in companies and actively contribute as a leading shareholder to their long-term success. Over the years, we have steadily evolved in step with boom times, depressions and recessions, with globalization trends and with constantly changing capital markets, all to capture new opportunities and create value.

We have invested in companies in new and attractive markets and industries, but have also divested holdings along the way. Since 1916 our willingness to invest has been consistently based on the same business philosophy.

INVESTOR AB | 3 BUSINESS AREAS

Investor AB organizes its investments into three main areas: Listed Companies, Patricia Industries, and Investments in EQT. Each of these areas has distinct characteristics and strategies that contribute to the fund’s overall performance and diversification.

 

INVESTOR AB_business areas

INVESTOR AB | THE INVESTMENT CASE

While the holding appears highly concentrated in Swedish companies (primarily under its listed companies) and benchmarks its performance against the Stockholm Return Index (SIXRX), through Patricia Industries and EQT AB, it has numerous investments worldwide. 

The Investment CASE_INVESTOR AB

 INVESTOR AB | NEWS  

For the highly motivated, its INVESTOR AB AGM recordings can be watched on YouTube. However, they are all in Swedish with English subtitles. Luckily, we can still download its Annual Report 2023 in English (here) to look into other KPIs.

 INVESTOR AB | BENCHMARK  

When buying an investment, it is not wise to look only at its total return without having a clear Benchmark in mind. However, too often, I see hard judgments over investments due to comparing them to a wrong benchmark.

You noticed how Investor AB compares its performances against the SIX Return Index. The index is designed to measure market equity performance in Sweden and is calculated using reinvested dividends as of the ex-dates. Frankly, I don’t find it extremely informative for a global investor. 

Therefore, let me compare INVESTOR AB’s performance over the last five years with that of EXOR NV and the S&P500 Index (source: Google Finance). 

2024 Investor AB Benchmark

Check out this table with Exor NV, Investor AB, and the S&P500’s year-over-year total returns (including re-invested dividends), where the S&P500 is the most used Equity Index. As you can see, Investor AB, through its highly concentrated stakes in high-performing businesses, has an impressive record. We could say that it “beats the market,” not only the local Stockholm index but also the highly competitive S&P500.

Investor AB_Sweat Your Asset - benchmark

 

INVESTOR AB PRO & CONS

 

INVESTOR AB pro & cons

 

INTERIM REPORT- Q1 & 2 (Jan-jun) – 2024

“Our goal remains to generate attractive total shareholder returns by growing our net asset value, paying a steadily rising dividend and delivering on our ESG targets. To succeed, we focus relentlessly on performance, portfolio and people.”

Christian Cederholm
President & CEO of Investor

Highlights during the second quarter

Adjusted net asset value (NAV) amounted to SEK 969.4bn (SEK 317 per share) on June 30, 2024, an increase of SEK 69.0bn, or 8 percent, with dividend added back, during the quarter. Total shareholder return amounted to 9 percent, compared to 2 percent for the SIXRX return index.

Listed Companies generated a total return of 11 percent. We invested SEK 2.8bn in Ericsson.
Based on estimated market values, the total return for Patricia Industries, excluding cash, amounted to 2 percent (2 percent including cash), driven by earnings growth.

Within Patricia Industries, sales growth for the major subsidiaries amounted to 9 percent, of which 7 percent organically in constant currency. Reported EBITA grew 7 percent and adjusted EBITA grew 10 percent.

Mölnlycke reported organic sales growth of 8 percent in constant currency, with the largest business area Wound Care also growing 8 percent. The profit margin was unchanged.

Sarnova and BraunAbility completed strategic add-on acquisitions for a total enterprise value of SEK 5.6bn. All acquisitions were financed by each respective company. Mölnlycke and Permobil distributed EUR 200m and SEK 600m respectively to Patricia Industries.
The value change of Investments in EQT was -4 percent. Net cash flow to Investor amounted to SEK -5m.

Leverage was 1.4 percent as of June 30, 2024 (1.7 percent as of December 31, 2023). Gross cash amounted to SEK 25,510m and the average maturity of  Investor AB’s debt portfolio was 10.3 years.

Link: Files available for download.

 

BOTTOM LINE

As Warren Buffett once stated, it is important to buy assets we are ready to hold indefinitely. I am very satisfied with having INVESTOR AB in my portfolio. The fund’s history, model, strategy, and financial statements are more than solid.

It is comforting that the Wallenberg family still holds around 20% of the stock through its foundation (Skin In the Game).

The fund Equity concentration fits my Asset Allocation strategy, which I felt was overly diluted by a large stake in the MSCI World Index and S&P500.

I am also satisfied with the access to the AGM, interim, and Annual Reports. This is a great way to better understand and study specific business niches and macroeconomic trends, which I usually miss as a passive index investor. 

Still, my notes don’t represent investment advice. I only share these updates for financial education purposes.

If you like this article, check out other Financial Wisdom in my Archive, YouTube videos, and Audio Podcasts.

Enjoy your financial journey. Sweat Your Assets!

Financial Wisdom + Discipline = Financial Freedom

 

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