Holdings

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

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BE Group is a trading and service company in the steel and metal industry. The company’s approximately 10,000 customers are primarily in the engineering and construction industry in Sweden, Finland and the Baltic States, where BE Group is one of the market’s leading suppliers. With solid expertise and efficient processes in purchasing, logistics and simple production, BE Group offers stock sales, production service and direct deliveries based on their specific needs for steel and metal products. The head office is located in Malmö.

In 2023, sales amounted to MSEK 5,328 (6,875) and the underlying operating result was MSEK 30 (488). Cash flow from operating activities was MSEK 491 (204). The year was characterised by a weak market situation, particularly in the construction sector, and lower material prices, which in principle have been declining for 1.5 years. The tough market situation affected the operating margin, which, adjusted for inventory gains/losses, amounted to 0.6 percent for the full year 2023, which can be compared with 7.1 and 9.8 percent for 2022 and 2021, respectively. BE Group has a margin target of more than 5 percent over time, which, in addition to a stabilised price level, will be achieved through continued streamlining of the supply chain, cost focus and deeper customer cooperation. A savings and efficiency programme was initiated in 2023 with expected savings of MSEK 50 on an annual basis.

Traction has been involved in the company’s Board of Directors since 2012. BE Group has been listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm Small Cap list since November 2006.

Drillcon

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Drillcon is Europe’s largest core drilling company and a major raise boring contractor. The company’s market consists of customers in the mining and construction industry. The Nordics segment accounts for just over half of the Group’s sales. The remaining sales are from the Iberia segment, which includes Portugal and Spain. The main operations are currently run through subsidiaries in Sweden, Portugal and Spain. Through these subsidiaries, Drillcon provides services to customers in several countries. In Sweden, Drillcon supplies drilling services to Boliden, LKAB and Lundin Mining, among others. Core drilling is used to take material samples in rock and can also be used for concrete reinforcement, while raiseboring is a method for drilling shafts in rock, including for ventilation and mine lifts. The services are offered in all geographical markets. Drillcon has been in business since 1963 and is headquartered in Örebro, Sweden.

In 2023, Drillcon’s sales increased to MSEK 474 (415), corresponding to growth of 14 percent. Operating profit amounted to MSEK 35 (3), resulting in an operating margin of 7.3 (0.8) percent. Drillcon ended the year strongly and in the fourth quarter showed good growth and an improved operating margin of 14.1 (9.9) percent. The Nordics segment delivered improved profitability during the year, while a strong contracted production volume extends to 2028. In the Iberia segment (Portugal and Spain), a new CEO took office in 2023, most recently coming from a management position at Sandvik Mining. Going forward, the work continues with targeted efforts for increased efficiency throughout the Group.

Traction has been a co-owner of Drillcon since autumn 2008 and since 2013 owns more than 50 percent of the shares. Drillcon is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm First North.

Driver Group

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Driver Group is a UK-based consultancy and one of the global leaders in dispute management, specialising in the construction, infrastructure and energy sectors under the Driver Trett and Diales brands. The company also offers traditional technical project management services under the Driver Project Services brand. Driver Group has the expertise to offer customised services in all different phases of the project cycle. The geographical presence extends across five continents via 28 offices in 16 countries. The operating segments consist of Europe & Americas (EuAm), Middle East and Asia Pasific, of which EuAM accounts for about 50 percent of the group’s revenue.

During the financial year 2022/23 the company had sales of MBP 43. The company was founded in 1978 and the head office is in London, UK

Traction bought into Driver Group at the end of 2019 and today owns 27 percent of the company. The company is listed on the AIM list, London Stock Exchange.

Hifab Group

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Hifab Group is one of Sweden’s leading project management groups, with over 75 years of experience in the property industry and all its disciplines. Hifab offers independent advice and project management where the company helps clients with strategy, projects and management. Hifab’s clients own, invest in, develop and manage land, buildings, premises, facilities, infrastructure and social resources such as energy and water. To meet the civil engineering industry’s increasing need for strategic advice, Hifab Advisory was launched at the end of 2022, which is a wholly owned start-up in the Hifab Group. Hifab Advisory is growing rapidly with several large assignments with real estate companies and offers advice in business development, sustainability, energy strategy and digitalisation to management teams and decisionmakers in the industry. Through Hifab OY, the company also has a presence in the Finnish market with an increased focus on energy consultancy and project management.

In 2023, the work to transform Hifab and lift profitability has come a long way, with an operating margin of 5.2 (1.5) percent. Sales amounted to MSEK 309 (296), of which the Swedish operations grew by 8 percent organically. The fullyear revenue was negatively affected by MSEK 20 attributable to the streamlining of the foreign operations, where Hifab is increasing its focus on the Finnish market and the energy sector. The operational improvements in 2023 can be attributed to initiatives that began in early 2022, including the implementation of a clear strategy, efficiency improvements at all levels and a more dynamic organisation.

The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm First North.

Nilörngruppen

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Nilörn is an international group, founded in 1977, which adds value to brands through branding and design in the form of labels, packaging and accessories for customers primarily in the fashion and clothing industry. The customers can simply be categorised as brand owners and chain companies. Nilörngruppen endeavours to increase its customers’ competitiveness by offering services that cover all design resources, including a logistics system that guarantees reliable and short delivery times. Nilörngruppen is one of Europe’s leading players with a revenue of MSEK 870, where about 90 percent of the revenue takes place outside the Nordic region. Nilörngruppen delivers over 1.5 billion labels per year of different sizes and types. Nilörngruppen is represented through its own companies in Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Hong Kong, India, Turkey, China, Bangladesh, Italy, Switzerland, Vietnam, USA and Pakistan. The group has its own production of printed labels in England, Turkey, India and Hong Kong, and production of woven and printed labels in Portugal and Bangladesh. Since Traction bought out Nilörngruppen from the stock exchange in 2009, the company has developed strongly.

For the full year 2023 sales amounted to MSEK 870 (943) and operating profit to MSEK 63.0 (136.4), corresponding to an operating margin of 7.2 (14.5) percent.

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

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OEM International is one of Europe’s leading technology trading groups in industrial components and systems. In total, the group sells to over 30,000 customers in selected markets in Europe and the British Isles. OEM offers a broad and deep range of more than 60,000 products from more than 400 leading and specialised suppliers in electrical components, fluid power, motors and transmissions, bearings and seals, appliance components and lighting. By having a well-developed local market organisation and efficient logistics, OEM is a better alternative for suppliers than their own sales companies. OEM provides a high level of knowledge and service and markets the products based on the specific conditions of each market. In addition, the product range is adapted to each individual market and the local organisation is tasked with continuously searching for new products and companies to further increase the competitiveness of the customer offering.

OEM International delivered a new record result for 2023 with sales of MSEK 5,145 (4,731) and EBITA of MSEK 811 (763), corresponding to an EBITA margin of 15.8 (16.1) percent. During the fourth quarter of 2023, three companies were acquired with aggregate sales of MSEK 197.

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.

Portmeirion

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Portmeirion Group Plc is a British product company within tableware and homeware. The company owns and markets a number of well-established brands such as Portmeirion, Spode, Royal Worcester and Pimpernel. In total, Portmeirion owns six global brands with sales in over 80 countries. The brands have an accumulated history of over 750 years. For example, the Spode brand’s Blue Italian collection, launched in 1816, is an iconic British design classic of crockery and plates. The company has two factories in the UK and deliveries are mainly made via the company’s distribution centres in the UK, USA and Canada. Clear focus is on growth in own e-commerce, D2C for retail customers and building partnerships with retailers who are strong in e-commerce.

Portmeirion’s sales in 2023 amounted to MBP 103 and operating profit to MBP 5.

The company is listed on AIM in London. Traction bought into Portmeirion in 2020 and currently owns 12 percent of the company

Softronic

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Softronic is an IT and management consultancy whose services range from consultancy and new development to management and operation. Softronic has a holistic approach to change, which means that the company can support customers in everything from strategy to structure, including organisation, processes and IT. Its customers are mainly medium-sized and large companies and organisations in Sweden. Customer relationships are characterised by a long-term approach and the company’s partnerships often extend back 10-20 years. One example of Softronic’s offering is the anti-money laundering service CM1, which helps customers to monitor and identify transactions that may be associated with criminal activity and terrorism. The service is available 24/7/365 and processes more than 100 million customers per day. CM1 handles all information in accordance with antimoney laundering regulations and GDPR.

In 2023, sales amounted to MSEK 838 (797), corresponding to an organic growth of more than 5 percent. Operating profit amounted to MSEK 105 (88) and the operating margin was 12.5 (11.0) percent.

Most of Softronic’s 432 employees are represented in Stockholm. The company also operates in Gothenburg, Malmö, Sundsvall, Arjeplog, Karlstad and Visby. Softronic is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, Small Cap list.

Unlisted Holdings

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

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Ankarsrum Kitchen markets, develops and sells the Ankarsrum Assistent Original® household appliance. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ankarsrum Industries, which is 100 percent owned by Traction. Ankarsrum Assistent Original® is a Swedish classic from 1940. Over the years, the machine has been improved with a more powerful motor, equipped with stepless speed control and overload protection, which has made it stronger and more reliable. The machine comes with a wide range of accessories such as a meat grinder, blender, vegetable slicer, pasta roller and ice cream maker. The plan is to launch more accessories in the coming years to further expand the machine’s areas of use.

The company markets Ankarsrum Assistent Original® through physical and digital channels globally. The company has strong established sales in the Nordic domestic market and export sales through mainly distributors. In addition to the Nordic countries, Ankarsrum Assistent Original® is mainly sold to the US, Germany and other countries in Europe. In 2023, Ankarsrum Kitchen has expanded with wholly owned subsidiaries in the US and Germany.

 

Sigicom

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Sigicom is the Nordic region’s leading supplier of field measurement systems for unmanned monitoring of vibrations, noise and other environmental disturbances (such as particles in the air). The field measurement systems wirelessly monitor construction and civil engineering works, mines, quarries and road and rail traffic. Sigicom sells its measurement systems and services on a global market, with exports accounting for the majority of its revenue and continuing to grow. Major markets for Sigicom are the USA, the UK, France, Canada and the Nordic region. The company has developed the market’s most innovative and complete field measurement system from sensor to web presentation and reporting. For Sigicom’s customers, this means simple installation, automated measurements and cost-effective monitoring. The sensors continuously measure what is happening and can be triggered by a certain disturbance and can then record detailed signal sequences and alert selected users. The measuring instruments withstand harsh environments and have very high accuracy and reliability. In addition to web-based application programmes, Sigicom also offers support, service and regular calibration. Sigicom has an ambitious growth agenda based on product leadership and internationalisation. Sigicom is in an intensive internationalisation phase with its own operations in the UK, France, USA and Canada, and a growing number of customers globally. In 2023, sales increased by 9 percent to MSEK 203 (187) with a double-digit operating margin.

 

Recco Holding

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Recco Holding owns RECCO, which is a rescue system used by more than 800 rescue organisations, mountain rescue services and helicopter companies worldwide to find avalanche victims and missing persons. The two-part system consists of RECCO detectors used by professional rescue teams and RECCO reflectors which are built into ski equipment such as clothing, helmets and boots. RECCO is based on a radar technology that enables a quick and accurate localisation of a person wearing a RECCO reflector. The reflectors are completely passive and require no battery or expertise to operate. The RECCO system is intended for organised rescue and is not an alternative but a complement to the use of search equipment enabling peer rescue. Because the RECCO system enables a faster search effort, skiers and snowboarders caught in an avalanche have an additional chance of being rescued in time. The RECCO system is established in every major ski resort in the world.

For several years, Recco has been developing a system that will enable searches over large areas of land in an efficient manner, and for some years now the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector has been established in several markets around the world. With RECCO SAR, which is attached to a helicopter as shown on page 15, searches can be made at a speed of up to 100 km/h over an area 100 metres wide. This means that an area of 1 km2 can be searched within six minutes. The company has a presence in 32 countries and in over 900 ski resorts.

 

Medino

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Medino is a fast-growing online pharmacy based in the UK. Medino sees opportunities to digitalise and streamline the pharmacy trade with the ambition to take a leading position in the country. Co-founders are Christian Jakobsson (CEO), Lars Elfversson (Chairman), Henrik Blomkvist and Viktor Holmberg. Traction’s ownership share amounts to approximately 8 percent. Investment year: 2020.

 

Tengai

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Tengai is a start-up company specialising in AI technology for recruitment and personal assessment. The company offers an automated interview software that ensures an unbiased and efficient recruitment process. The founder of Tengai is the recruitment and staffing group Key People/ TNG Group, which owns approximately 56 percent of the shares. Traction’s ownership amounts to approximately 14 percent. Investment year: 2020.

 

Brillianze

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Brillianze Sweden has invented and patented the Transversor technology. A Transversor detects and prevents movement before it causes damage or waste of resources. The first product to use a Transversor is the RolloGuard Instant Fall Protection for walkers. Here the technology acts as fall protection and prevents dangerous movement from occurring, enabling a better walking aid which in turn creates safety. The Transversor technology has the potential to be used in several other applications, such as fishing reels, in order to create a controlled movement that is both safer and more sustainable. The company is founded by entrepreneur Patrik Zander (CEO). Traction’s ownership share amounts to approximately 24 percent. Investment year: 2021.

 

Financial investments

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.

 

Other listed shares where Traction’s holding exceeds five percent:

Duroc

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Duroc is an industrial group that owns and acquires industrial and industrial trading businesses in a variety of industries. The group’s current seven companies include IFG and Drake, which together account for 55 percent of the group’s revenue. IFG is a market-leading producer of polypropylene-based staple fibres in Europe, while Drake is North America’s leading manufacturer of filament yarn and staple fibres. Other companies are active in the tool trade, maintenance of railway wheels and production of climate fabric for greenhouses. Duroc’s revenue amounted to MSEK 3,250 as of December 2023 for a rolling 12-month period.

The company is listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm, Small Cap list and Traction’s ownership amounts to 8 percent.

 

PION Group

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PION Group’s operations consist of the Poolia, QRIOS and Uniflex segments. The largest segment, Uniflex, accounts for approximately 54 percent of the Group’s sales and operates in the staffing and recruitment of personnel for the industrial, logistics and customer service sectors. Poolia, which accounts for 35 percent of sales, is mainly focused on the recruitment of salaried employees. In 2022, a new strategy was implemented to combine consulting and strategy services with tech solutions. The strategy permeates the entire Group, but with an emphasis on the QRIOS segment. PION Group’s sales in 2023 totalled MSEK 2,020.

The company is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, Small Cap list. Traction’s ownership share is 6 percent.

 

 

Underwriting

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.