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. The head office is located in Malmö.
In 2021, BE Group delivered the best operating margin since the IPO in 2006, driven by sharply rising steel prices, material shortages in combination with the effects of previously made structural changes. In total, sales increased by 47 percent and the underlying operating profit improved sharply and amounted to MSEK 529 (96). Delivered tonnage increased by just above 11 percent. Rising steel prices resulted in inventory gains of MSEK 92 (-17) and operating profit increased to MSEK 621 (39), which is the best result since 2006. BE Group’s share developed strongly in 2021, where the company’s net profit exceeds the market value at the beginning of 2021.
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, Ireland, Norway and 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 Örebro. In recent years Drillcon has invested heavily to meet growing demand in both core boring and raise boring.
Drillcon’s sales increased by just above 20 percent in 2021, while the company showed a negative result. EBITDA decreased from MSEK 44 to just over MSEK 23. The weak result is explained by a number of operational disruptions and delays in the projects related to technical problems, spare part shortages, geological challenges etc. During the year, Drillcon established operations in Ireland, where the company also began drilling on behalf of customers. In total, the assessment is that the negative impact on earnings for the above-mentioned costs and establishment in Ireland amounted to approximately MSEK 28.
Traction is a part owner of Drillcon since autumn 2008 and owns more than 50 percent of the shares outstanding since 2013. Drillcon is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm First North.
Driver Group is a British consultancy company and one of the globally leading players in dispute management, with primary involvement in construction, infrastructure and energy sectors under the Driver Trett and Diales trademarks. The company also offers its services in traditional technical project management and advisory services under the Driver Project Services trademark. Driver Group has the competence to offer tailor-made services in all phases of the project cycle. The geographic presence spans five continents via 31 offices in 18 countries. The operating segments consist of Europe & Americas (EuAm), Middle East and Asia Pacific, of which EuAM accounts for about 50 percent of the group’s turnover.
For the financial year 2020/21 the group’s turnover amounted to just below MBP 50. The company was founded in 1978 and the head office is located in Haslingden, UK.
Traction bought into Driver Group at the end of 2019 and owns more than 21 percent of the shares. The company is listed on the AIM list of the London Stock Exchange.
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.
2021 was a challenging year for Hifab with declining sales and negative operating profit. The result is charged with several non-recurring items, including dismissal costs for employees who have not been covered for a longer period of time and termination costs for the previous CEO. Change work is underway with the aim of increased commercial focus and efficiency in a market with favourable conditions in the coming years. At the beginning of 2022, the order backlog was rising in the Swedish operations. New CEO Nicke Rydgren will take office in the spring of 2022.
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 788. 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, UK, 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 UK, Turkey, India, Bangladesh 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.
2021 was Nilorn’s best year ever with sales increase of 28 percent to MSEK 788 (618) at the same time as operating profit more than doubled to MSEK 120 (51).
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 30,000 customers in selected markets in northern, central and eastern Europe. OEM offers a broad and deep range of goods, entailing more than 60,000 different products, from more than 400 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.
OEM has developed strongly in recent years and during 2021 the company generated a record result of MSEK 590 (422), equivalent to an EBITA growth of 40 (10) percent.
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 Mid Cap list.
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 where customers are assisted in monitoring and identifying transactions that may be associated with criminal activities and terrorism. The service is available 24/7/365 and processes more than 100 million customers on a daily basis.
During 2021 the company showed a record profit of MSEK 94, equivalent to an operating margin of 11.9 percent.
Most of Softronic’s approximately 430 employees are represented in Stockholm. The company also has operations in Göteborg, Malmö, Sundsvall and Arjeplog. Softronic is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, the Small Cap list.
Traction’s 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 household appliance Assistent Original®. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ankarsrum Industries, which is 100% owned by Traction. Assistent Original® is a Swedish classic from 1940. The company markets Assistent Original® through physical and digital channels globally. The company has strongly established sales on the Nordic home market and export sales via distributors. Aside from in the Nordic countries, Assistent Original® is mainly sold in the USA, Germany, China and other European countries.
The company has had a strong development during 2021 with record sales amounting to MSEK 265 with an operating profit exceeding MSEK 30. A major focus has been on enhancing capacity in the supply chain to meet the increased demand. The larger markets in the Nordic countries, Germany and the USA continue to develop the strongest. Activities to increase sales of all the accessories that expand the assistant’s areas of use have also been prioritized, and during the year an ice cream machine and a pizza steel was launched.
Medino is a fast growing online pharmacy based in the UK. Medino sees opportunities to digitize and streamline the pharmacy industry with the ambition of taking a leading position in the country. Co-founders are Christian Jakobsson (CEO), Lars Elfversson (CoB), Henrik Blomkvist and Viktor Holmberg. Traction’s ownership amounts to 5.7 percent. Investment year: 2020.
Recco Holding is the owner of RECCO, 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 snowboarders 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 have been performed during the recent years 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. The company has presence in 28 countries.
Sigicom is the Nordic Region’s leading supplier of field measuring 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, UK, France, Canada and the Nordic countries are large markets for Sigicom. The company has developed the market’s most innovative and complete field measuring system, from sensor to web presentation and report. For Sigicom’s customers this means simple installation, automated measurements and costeffective surveillance. The sensors constantly measure what is going on and can be triggered by a certain disturbance and will register detailed signal sequences and trigger alarms to selected users. The measuring instruments are ruggedly constructed and are highly accurate and reliable. Aside from web-based application programs, Sigicom also offers a support service and regularly scheduled calibration. Sigicom has an ambitious growth agenda based on product leadership and internationalization. Sigicom is in the midst of an intense phase of internationalization with subsidiaries in USA, UK, France, and Canada, as well as an increasing number of customers globally. In 2021, sales increased by 40 percent with good profitability
Tengai is a newly established company specializing in AI technology in recruitment and personal assessment. The company offers automated interview software that ensures an unbiased and efficient recruitment process. The founder of Tengai is the recuitment and staffing group Key People/TNG Group which owns approximately 60 percent of the shares. Traction’s ownership amounts to approximately 20 percent. Investment year: 2020.
Brillianze Sweden has invented and patented the Transversor technology. A Transversor detects and prevents motion before it becomes dangerous and utilizes unnecessary resources.
RolloGuard Instant Fall Protection for wheeled walkers is the first Transversor powered solution where it prevents dangerous motion that causes falls, transforms the walker into a better walking aid that provides safer mobility. The Transversor technology can be used in many other solutions to provide much safer and sustainable rotational motion. Founder is Patrik Zander (CEO). Traction’s ownership amounts to 18.9 percent. Investment year: 2021.
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. The size of individual financial investments may vary as especially major equity investments may occur and from time to time constitute complements to the active holdings.
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.
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.
In addition, financial equity investments consist of slightly larger holdings in small and medium-sized listed companies, where Traction can also be involved in the Nomination Committee’s work such as in Poolia where Traction is the second largest owner. In 2020, the holding in Duroc was reclassified from active listed holdings to financial investments as Traction is not involved in the company’s board and the ownership is already less than ten percent of the votes.
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.
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.