“Very good year” for Investor

Investor, Northern Europe's biggest industrial holding company, on Thursday announced a strong rise in earnings for 2005 as its core shareholdings staged a spectacular rally.

Net profit for the Swedish investment firm was 43.9 billion kronor, up from 8.7 billion in 2004, which translated into earnings per share of 57.15 kronor compared with 11.39 the previous year.

Investor owns shares in more than 130 companies worldwide, but its core Swedish holdings made up the bulk of the profit rise, with AstraZeneca, Atlas Copco and ABB alone between them accounting for nearly 24 billion kronor of profit.

The total value of Investor’s net assets rose by 42 billion kronor, or 46 percent, and the shareholders’ return from holdings in Investor was 68 percent.

Investor described 2005 as “a very good year”.

The average annual return on Investor holdings has been 17 percent over the past 20 years.

Investor proposed a dividend of 3.50 kronor per share, up from 2.25 kronor in 2004.