Active Listed Holdings
Traction is an active major owner in a number of smaller and medium-sized listed companies. We invest in companies where we see a significant revaluation potential and where the risks are manageable. Other involvement in listed companies can be in the form of underwriting equity offerings in companies in need of new capital and where we see a potential for good returns. Traction has been an owner in some of the companies listed below before they became publicly listed and we participated actively in their respective processes of going public. Below listed companies refers to companies where Traction has an ownership stake exceeding 10 percent of the votes or where Traction has an active role as represented in the companies’ Board of Directors.
BE Group is a trading and service company in the steel and metals industry. The company’s approximately 10,000 customers are primarily found in the engineering and construction industries in Sweden, Finland and the Baltic States, where BE Group is one of the market’s leading suppliers. With solid competence and effective processes in purchasing, logistics and simple production, BE Group offers sales from inventory, production services and direct delivery based on their specific needs for steel and metals products. BE Group has just over 650 employees and sales of MSEK 4.8 billion in 2018. The head office is located in Malmö. Traction has been involved on the company’s board of directors since 2012. BE Group is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, the Small Cap list since November 2008.
Drillcon is Europe’s largest company in diamond core boring and a major raise boring contractor. The company’s market consists of customers in the European mining and construction industries. The main business is currently run via subsidiaries in Sweden, Portugal, Spain and Norway. In 2016 Drillcon started operations in South America by establishing subsidiary in Chile. These subsidiaries perform services for customers in several countries. In Sweden Drillcon delivers boring services to Boliden, LKAB, Lundin Mining and others. Core boring is used to take samples in rock formations and can also be used for concrete reinforcement, while raise boring is a method for drilling shafts in rock for ventilation purposes and for mining lifts and such. The entire offer is available in all markets. Drillcon has been in the business since 1963 and its head office is located in Nora. In recent years Drillcon has invested heavily to meet growing demand in both core boring and raise boring. Traction is a part owner of Drillcon since the autumn of 2008 and since 2013 ownership exceeds 50 percent. Drillcon is listed on NASDAQ Stockholm, First North.
Duroc is an industrial group that owns industrial and industrial-trading businesses in a number of different market segments. The group’s business is conducted by subsidiaries in business areas Fibre, Industrial Trading and Other Industry. Duroc has undergone substantial restructuring over the past several years as unprofitable subsidiaries have been sold terminate, followed by a merger with International Fibres Group AB, ”IFG”. IFG manufactures approximately 100,000 of fibre and yarn at its subsidiaries in USA, Great Britain, Austria and Belgium. The fibre is used in a number of applications by industrial buyers in, for instance, the automotive and textile industries. Universal Power Nordic was acquired during 2018. UPN is a distributor of diesel engines for industrial use. Peter Gyllenhammar AB is currently the largest owner with a holding of 80 percent of the share capital and votes in the expanded Duroc. Traction’s ownership stake in Duroc is approximately 10% of the shares outstanding. The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, the Small Cap list.
Hifab Group is one of Sweden’s leading groups in project management, with more than 65 years of experience in the real estate business and all its disciplines. Hifab provides project management and advisory services in housing and industry, transportation and infrastructure, environment & energy as well as process technology and in all of these areas there is focus on sustainability. There is considerable international involvement via subsidiaries Hifab International and Hifab OY, active in a number of development projects in some 20 countries. The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm First North.
Nilorn is an international group, founded in 1977, that adds value to trademarks through branding and design in the form of labels, packaging and accessories for customers, primarily in the fashion and garment industries. Slightly simplified, the customers can be categorized as trademark owners and chain companies. Nilorn strives to enhance its customers’ competitive edge by offering services covering all design resources, plus a logistics system that ensures reliable and short delivery times.
Nilorn is one of Europe’s leading players with revenue of MSEK 729. Nilorn supplies more than 1.5 billion labels per year of different sizes and types. Nilorn is represented by subsidiaries in twelve countries: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Portugal, Hong Kong, India, Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China. Approximately 80 percent of sales are outside the Nordic countries. Nilorn is also active in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Spain. Nilorn has established logistics centres at important locations such as Hong Kong, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan. The group has its own production of printed labels in Great Britain, Turkey, India and Hong Kong, and production of woven and printed labels in Portugal. Since Traction took Nilorn private in 2009, the company has showed a strong development and is currently operating with good profitably. In June 2015 Nilorn was listed on NASDAQ First North in Stockholm and since April 2018 the company is listed on NASDAQ Stockholm Small Cap list.
OEM International is one of Europe’s leading technology trading groups in industrial components and systems. The group sells to more than 25,000 customers in selected markets in northern, central and eastern Europe. OEM offers a broad and deep range of goods, entailing more than 50,000 different products, from some 300 leading and specialized suppliers of electrical components, flow technology products, motors and transmissions, ball bearings and seals, apparatus components and lighting.
Thanks to a well-developed marketing organization and effective logistics, OEM is a better alternative for many suppliers than to have their own sales companies. OEM contributes a high degree of expertise and service, and markets the products based on the specific requirements of each individual market. The product range offered is also adapted to each respective market and the local organisation is assigned the task of continuously searching for new products in an effort to further developing the competitive edge in OEM’s offer to its customers.
Traction has been a major owner of OEM since the end of 2009 and is represented on the Board of Directors since the spring of 2010. OEM International is listed on NASDAQ Stockholm.
Softronic is a consultancy company in IT and management, the services of which span the spectrum from consulting and new development to management and operation. Softronic has a holistic approach to change, which means that the company can support its customers in everything from strategy to structure, including organisation, processes and IT. Most customers are medium-sized and large companies, and organisations in Sweden. Customer relationships are distinguished by a long-term approach and the company’s co-operation agreements often go back 10-20 years. One example of Softronic’s offer is the antimoney-laundering service CM1, with which more than 100 customers are assisted in monitoring and identifying transactions that may be associated with criminal activities and terrorism. In CM1 more than 600 million transactions are examined on a daily basis. Softronic was founded in 1984 by Anders Eriksson, who vacated the presidency in January 2019. The new CEO is Per Adolfsson. Anders Eriksson is the company’s largest owner in terms of votes and will also in the future be represented on the Board of Directors.
Most of Softronic’s employees are located in Stockholm. The company is also active in Göteborg, Malmö, Sundsvall, Arjeplog, Överkalix and in Denmark. Softronic is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, the Small Cap list.
WYG plc is a global management and technology consultancy based in Great Britain with operations in some 35 locations in Great Britain, Europe, Africa and Asia. WYG’s revenue amounts to more than MBP 154, about 75 percent of from the consultancy business and 25 percent from international development projects. The company has a staff of approximately 1,600.
WYG’s business is to create and manage strategic assets for clients, both at early project phases and in continuing operations. WYG offers a broad range of services, such as project management in construction, infrastructure, urban planning, international development projects, environmental and climate investigations, etc.
WYG has developed weakly in recent years recording losses at the same time as the company’s shares have fallen sharply. Traction acquired just below 15 percent of the shares outstanding in 2018 and in the beginning of 2019 additional shares were bought in the market. Ownership now stands at just over 19 percent of the shares outstanding. The purchase of shares in 2019 has been after a sharp drop in price (more than −60 percent) when the company reported that its operative development was significantly weaker than expected. WYG is in need of restructuring and streamlining and the company’s management working to do so. The assessment is that WYG, after completed restructuring, has the potential to be revalued in the market. WYG is listed on the AIM list of the London Stock Exchange. Traction is not represented on the company’s Board of Directors.
Active Unlisted Holdings
Traction’s active unlisted holdings consist of wholly- and majority-owned companies as well as minority-owned companies. In the minority-owned companies we co-operate with entrepreneurs and other active owners. The business concept is to develop successful companies as an active partner. The majority-owned companies are usually turn-around projects, reorganisations, management buy-outs or similar situations. Over the years Traction has participated in bringing several unlisted companies public.
Ankarsrum Industries is an industrial group based in Ankarsrum close to Västervik and is the modern form of a mill with a history that spans over more than 350 years. Today’s business in Ankarsrum Industries is to manufacture electrical motors and sell the classic household appliance Assistent Original™. These are the businesses in subsidiaries Ankarsrum Motors and Ankarsrum Kitchen. Then there is the subsidiary Ankarsrum Fastighets AB that leases premises to the sister companies and external tenants.
Ankarsrum Motors develops and manufactures electric motors and associated components and products in which an electric motor is a part. Most of Ankarsrum Motor’s customers are industrial companies in the United States and Europe. Operations are divided into DC motors, universal motors and kitchen appliances.
In the field of DC motors, and the welding wire segment, Ankarsrum Motors is today one of the leading independent producers in the world with a large number of customers. Production is characterised by customer-adapted solutions where the requirements for quality and reliability are high, and where often specific requirements for encoder and gearing are important prerequisites to being competitive. Other buyers of DC motors are found in the health care sector, agricultural machinery and other industry. In the field of universal motors Ankarsrum has customers who make household appliances with high demands on quality and longevity. The company often assumes integrated development responsibility for products in close co-operation with the customer. The company also makes the classic Swedish household appliance Assistent Original™, which has been in production since 1940 and is sold by sister company Ankarsrum Kitchen. Production at Ankarsrum Motors is highly automated and the company invests in cooperation with its customers in the process of in adapting to quieter, more reliable and vibration-free motors.
Ankarsrum Kitchen is a company that markets and sells the classic household appliance Assistent Original™ from Ankarsrum. Assistent Original is a Swedish classic from 1940. It has been updated many times since then. The machine is manufactured and assembled by Ankarsrum Motors. Since 2014 the company owns the trade mark Assistent Original™. The company has strongly established sales on the Swedish home market, but most of the production is today exported via distributors. Aside from in the Nordic countries, Assistent Original is sold in Germany, England, USA and several countries in Asia. The number of distributors increases year by year. In Sweden almost half of the kitchen appliances are sold online.
Recco Holding is the owner of the RECCO rescue system which is used by more than 800 rescue organisations, mountain rescue services and helicopter companies all over the world to locate avalanche victims. The system is comprised of two parts and consists of RECCO detectors used by organized rescue missions and RECCO reflectors built in to skiing equipment, such as clothing, helmets and boots. RECCO is based on a radar technology, which allows for rapid and precise locating of avalanche victims carrying a RECCO reflector. The reflectors are entirely passive and require neither battery nor knowledge about how to use them. The RECCO system is intended for organized rescue missions and is not an alternative to but a complement to the use of transceivers allowing companion rescue.
Since the RECCO system enables much faster organized searching, skiers and snow-boarders who have been overcome by an avalanche have one more chance of being saved in time. The RECCO system is established at all skiing resorts of distinction in the world.
Successful tests were conducted during 2018 of a new, helicopter-based search system, which in addition to avalanche rescues significantly widens the ability of RECCO to search for victims in the wilderness and at sea. RECCO is therefore expected to grow in coming years when RECCO reflectors can be installed in other outdoor products and equipment.
Sigicom is the leading Nordic supplier of field measuring systems for unmanned monitoring of vibrations, noise and other environmental disturbances (such as particles in air). Field measuring systems monitor construction sites, mines, quarries, and road and rail traffic. Sigicom sells its measuring systems and services on a global market. Exports account for most of the company’s revenue. USA, England and the Nordic countries are large markets for Sigicom.
The company has developed the market’s most innovative field measuring system, from sensor to web presentation and report. For Sigicom’s customers this means simple installation, automated measurements and cost-effective surveillance. The sensors constantly measure what is going on and can be triggered by a certain disturbance and will the register detailed signal sequences and trigger alarms to selected users. The measuring instruments are ruggedly construed and are highly accurate and reliable.
Aside from web-based application programs, Sigicom also offers support service and regularly scheduled calibration.
Sigicom has an ambitious growth agenda based on product leadership and internationalization. Sigicom has invested heavily in development of a new instrument platform launched during 2017. Sigicom is in the midst of an intense phase of internationalization and during 2017 subsidiaries were established in Great Britain and USA and business relationships were established with a large number of customers all over Europé.
Traction’s investments that are not categorized as active holdings are classified as financial investments, for instance in the form of equities, corporate bonds or CDs. The composition of different classes of assets is largely dependent on prevailing market conditions.
The purpose of the financial investments, as opposed to the active holdings, is not to create value through active ownership. The goal is rather to generate a current return through more traditional management, also on the portion of Traction’s capital not engaged in active holdings. The magnitude of the financial investments thus depends on how large a portion of the net asset value is invested in active holdings from time to time. The financial investments are evaluated on an ongoing basis and on average have a shorter investment horizon than active holdings.
An equity investment that is initially classified as a financial investment can, over time, develop into an active listed holding. By following companies as a minor owner, we have better opportunities to evaluate business models as well as corporate managements.
A major portion of the financial investments consist of liquid holdings that can be sold on short notice. This is important in order to retain the flexibility to be able to support on short notice existing active holdings, to invest in new holdings, and to participate in underwriting consortia for new issues and other refinancing situations.
Traction has a long history as an underwriter of public issues. This has occurred in a number of different situations, such as In connection with widening ownership through private placements, initial public offerings, financing acquisitions and expansion, refinancing maturing debt, saving the company from insolvency, or simply strengthening the balance sheet in general.
- Traction has issued guarantees for companies where we already are part owners, or merely to safeguard the Issue itself. On occasion we have been the sole underwriter and sometimes we are part of an underwriting consortium.
- Traction has also been engaged in ancillary services, such as being a lender until the company has completed the issue.
- Related services include subscribing for securities in private placements, without pre-emptive rights, and to purchase a major shareholder’s lot of shares.
- Traction views this as a financial service, but is also prepared to become a long-term owner.
Over the years Traction has participated in some 30 underwriting consortia.