Investor ‘ready to invest’ as assets climb

Swedish holding firm and Wallenberg family powerhouse Investor has reported a net asset value of 152.4 billion kronor ($22.9 billion), up 9 percent on year-end 2009.

Investor 'ready to invest' as assets climb

The profit for the period, including unrealized change in value, was 13.2 billion kronor (26.4). The corresponding figure for the third quarter was 4.9 billion kronor (12.5).

“The markets have remained unsettled during the quarter. Even though we have been discharged from the Emergency Room after the financial crises, the rehabilitation process continues,” said CEO Börje Ekholm in a statement.

Core investments contributed 12.8 billion to growth in net asset value over the period with Atlas Copco having the largest positive impact (5.7 billion), and Saab AB having the largest negative impact (-342 million).

Significant events during the period include the acquisition and consolidation of healthcare provider Aleris for a sum of 2.5 billion kronor.

Furthermore Investor announced the purchase of an additional 34 percent of the equity in Mölnlycke Health Care for approximately €510 million. Investor will own 96 percent of the company after regulatory approval, which is expected during the fourth quarter.

The firm made no further investments in core holdings during the period, but Ekholm said that “we remain prepared to invest when we find the valuation attractive”.

Operating investments contributed 1.2 billion kronor to net asset value over the period, while private equity investments contributed -437 million kronor.

The firm reported that telecom operator 3 Scandinavia continued to grow during the quarter on the back of demand for smart phones and continues to be cash flow positive with net debt down to below 10 billion kronor.

“All in all, we are pleased with the portfolio of companies we have within Operating Investments, and we continue to see many opportunities to generate proprietary value,” Ekholm said.

Leverage (net debt/total assets) amounted to 4.7 percent at end September 2010.

The total return on the Investor share was 6 percent (13) during the period. The total annual return averaged 6 percent over the past 5-year period.

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Was Norway ill prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic?

A report from a Norwegian commission appointed to assess the country’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic has concluded that while the government handled the situation well, it was poorly prepared for the crisis.

Was Norway ill prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic?
Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

The 450-page report was submitted to Prime Minister Erna Solberg by medical professor Stener Kvinnsland, who led the review.

The commission found that, generally, Norway had handled the pandemic well compared to the rest of Europe. That was in part due to citizens taking infection control measures on board.

“After a year of pandemic, Norway is among the countries in Europe with the lowest mortality and lowest economic impact. The authorities could not have succeeded if the population had not supported the infection control measures;” the report states.

However, the commission’s report also outlined that Norway did not properly prepare itself for the pandemic.

“The authorities knew that a pandemic was the most likely national crisis to have the most negative consequences. Nevertheless, they were not prepared when the extensive and serious Covid-19 pandemic came,” it said.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said during an interview with the commission, conducted as part of its work, that the government did not have an infection control strategy of its own.

“We had a ‘we have to deal with a difficult situation’ strategy. We had to do everything we could to gain control and get the infection down. It was really only at the end of March (2020) that we found the more long-term strategy,” she told the commission.

Low stocks of personal protective equipment were another source of criticism in the report.

“The government knew that it would in all probability be difficult to obtain infection control equipment in the event of a pandemic. Nevertheless, the warehouses were almost empty,” Kvinnsland said at a press conference.

Norwegian health authorities were praised for the swiftness with which they implemented infection control measures. But the commission said that the decision should have been formally made by the government, rather than the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

READ MORE: Norway saw fewer hospital patients in 2020 despite pandemic 

The implementation of restrictions in March 2020 was critiqued for failing to ensure that “infection control measures were in line with the constitution and human rights.”

One-fifth of municipalities in Norway lacked a functioning plan in the event of a pandemic according to the report, and the government did not provide enough support to municipalities.

“We believe that government paid too little attention to the municipalities. The municipalities were given much larger tasks than they could have prepared for,” Kvinnsland said.

The report was also critical of Norway’s lack of a plan for dealing with imported infections in autumn 2020.

“The government lacked a plan to deal with imported infections when there was a new wave of infections in Europe in the autumn of 2020,” the report found.

“When the government eased infection control measures towards the summer of 2020, they made many assessments individually. The government did not consider the sum of the reliefs and it had no plan to deal with increasing cross-border infection,” it added.

The report also concluded that Norway allowed itself to be too easily lobbied by business when deciding to ease border restrictions last summer.

The division of roles in handling aspects of the pandemic was scrutinised in the report. Here, the division of responsibilities between the Ministry of Health and Care Services, The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health were unclear.

The prime minister has asked the commission to continue its work.

“We are not done with the pandemic yet. Therefore, it is natural that the commission submits a final report. There will also be topics where the learning points can only be drawn later,” Solberg said.