Active Listed Holdings
Traction is a 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. Peter Andersson took over as new CEO in September 2019. The head office is located in Malmö. Traction has been engaged on the company’s Board of Directors since 2012. BE Group is since November 2006 listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, the Small Cap list.
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 First North Premier Growth Market.
Driver Group, founded in 1978, is a global multi-disciplinary professional services consultancy to the construction and engineering industries, providing multi-disciplinary services including expert witness, claims and dispute resolution services. The company delivers bespoke solutions from the outset of a project to its completion, and beyond. Its core brands are Driver Trett, Driver Project Services and the market-leading expert witness service, Diales. Driver Group operates across 26 offices in 14 countries, spread over 5 continents, and is organised into three operating divisions: Europe & Americas (EuAm), Middle East and Asia Pacific. Currently, EuAm constitutes approximately 50% of group sales. In 2018/19, consolidated sales were almost £60m. The company is headquartered in Haslingden, the United Kingdom, and the shares are listed on AIM London Stock Exchange.
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. The French-Belgian corporate group Cotting Group, a producer of technical textiles, was acquired during 2019. The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, 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 First North Growth Market.
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 that ensures reliable and short delivery times.
Nilorn is one of Europe’s leading players with revenue of MSEK 715. 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 90 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 anti-money-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.
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.
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 Kitchen is a sales company that markets and sells the Assistent Original™ home appliance. Assistent Original™ is a Swedish classic from 1940, continuously developed and improved by Ankarsrum Kitchen. The company also markets the Ankarsrum ™ and Assistent Original™ brands through physical and digital channels globally.
The company has strong established sales in the Swedish domestic market and export sales through distributors. In addition to the Nordic countries, Assistent Original™ is also sold in Germany, England, USA and several countries in Asia. The number of distributors is increasing every year. Almost half of the household appliances are sold online through the in-house web shop Ankarsrum.com and external digital sales channels.
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.
Additional successful tests were performed during 2109 of a new helicopter-based search system, which in addition to avalanche rescues significantly broadens the area of use for RECCO to search for people lost 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.