Ferd Capital achieved a return of 21% in 2017
Almost all of the companies in the portfolio delivered strong financial performance, and all the companies achieved an improvement in operating profit compared to 2016
In 2017 Ferd Capital invested in Dr. Fürst Medisinsk Laboratorium and increased its ownership interest in Interwell. In addition, Mestergruppen completed acquisitions of Saltdalsbygg and Pretre, and Swix acquired Helsport in June
Ferd Capital further increased its focus on listed companies segment, and the portfolio now comprises PGS, Scatec Solar, Benchmark Holding, NKT, Nilfisk, Boozt and XXL
2017 was characterised by favourable global macroeconomic conditions, and both stock markets and corporate transactions benefited from low global interest rates and good access to financing. In Norway, the residential property market showed some signs of weakness in the autumn, but this did not spill over to other sectors. Almost all of the portfolio companies reported strong earnings performance, and all the companies achieved an improvement in operating profit compared to 2016.
In 2017 Ferd Capital strengthened its focus on investment opportunities that make use of Ferd’s competitive advantages, such as its flexibility and ability to take a long-term approach. In the market for more traditional transactions we again experienced a high level of competition in 2017, and we expect this to continue.
In 2017 Ferd Capital strengthened its focus on investment opportunities that make use of Ferd’s competitive advantages, such as its flexibility and ability to take a long-term approach.
2017 was an eventful year for many of our portfolio companies:
- Aibel delivered strongly on existing contracts in 2017, including the Johan Sverdrup drilling platform which is the company’s largest project to date. In addition, the company was involved in a number of successful assignments for the modification/completion of FPSOs at its yard in Haugesund. Aibel had an order intake in excess of NOK 5 billion in 2017 for projects such as Snorre EPCIC, Johan Sverdrup Hook-up and Troll C.
- Interwell performed very well in 2017 and was able to re-establish organic growth with increased profitability. Activity and revenue has increased in all regions, but particularly in the Middle East and America. The company developed and launched several new products in 2017, including a new record for the company’s ability to develop a product from initial concept to a fully available commercial product. Interwell took important new steps in the development and commercialisation of a permanent plugging solution for the closure of oil wells (P&A).
- Elopak continued to ramp up volumes to utilize free capacity within the roll fed aseptic carton segment and in its factory for gable top cartons in Both areas achieved strong growth. Commercialisation of the aseptic filling machine for dairy products also continued. The new product is gradually becoming accepted by customers. Elopak also launched a comprehensive improvement program in 2017 to further increase the competitiveness of its core areas.
- Mestergruppen reported good organic growth in 2017. It also focused on realising synergies following the acquisitions of Byggtorget and Nordek in 2016. The group acquired two more companies in 2017. In August Mestergruppen acquired a majority shareholding in Saltdalsbygg, and in December it signed a share purchase agreement with the owners of Pretre. These acquisitions will further strengthen Mestergruppen’s position in the house building and recreational property markets.
- Swix reported strong earnings for 2017, reflecting both a good start to the 2017-18 winter season and continued growth for its ‘outdoor’ brands. Swix further strengthened its market position with the acquisition of Helsport, which was completed in June. During autumn 2017 Swix worked on implementing a revised corporate strategy with increased focus on organic growth, digitalisation and strengthening of the brands in the portfolio. As a result, the Swix Group was reorganised, and the company has now established a strong platform for continued growth.
- Servi continued to experience challenging market conditions in 2017 because of the downturn in the offshore segment. However, the company did see some signs of the market decline flattening out and stabilising at a lower level. Servi continued to focus on adapting its cost level to the current market conditions, and implemented several measures to improve its competitiveness. In particular, Servi has continued its focus on after sales and service.
- Fjord Line reported revenue growth of almost 20% in 2017. This was driven by a combination of increased passenger numbers, higher ticket revenue and growth in on-board sales. Growth in passenger numbers was particularly strong on the company’s Langesund-Hirtshals, Sandefjord-Strömstad and Bergen-Stavanger routes. The combination of high revenue and improved operational efficiency resulted in a significant improvement in profitability in 2017.
- Fürst Medisinsk Laboratorium became part of Ferd Capital’s portfolio in June 2017 when we acquired 40% of the share capital from the Helgheim-family, with the family continuing to own the remaining 60%. The company supplies laboratory services for primary health care, and continued to deliver strong volume growth in 2017 as it has in recent years.
Over the course of 2017, Ferd Capital increased its shareholdings in the listed companies NKT, Nilfisk, Scatec Solar, Benchmark Holding, Boozt and XXL. Ferd Capital wishes to actively contribute to the development of these companies.
In the business area’s private company mandate, we acquired 40% of Dr. Fürst Medisinsk Laboratorium and increased our ownership interest in Interwell. In addition, we carried out three acquisitions through the portfolio companies Mestergruppen and Swix, with Mestergruppen purchasing Saltdalsbygg and Pretre and Swix purchasing Helsport.
Special Investments made three investments in 2017, one direct investment and two investments through Broodstock Capital. These were all equity investments.
The Ferd Capital business area invests on the basis of three investment mandates: private companies, listed companies, and special investments. At the close of 2017 the business area had 12 employees with a wide range of experience from both Ferd and other companies.
Ferd Capital has a portfolio of strong companies that are well placed to continue to create value in 2018. Ferd also has sizeable unused investment capacity, and will focus on working proactively on new investment opportunities, both in the form of add-on investments to existing portfolio companies and potential new portfolio companies. The current pricing of investment opportunities, both for listed companies and in the private company market, is at a high level by historical comparison, so Ferd Capital will continue to focus in 2018 on investment opportunities where we can make good use of Ferd’s competitive advantage.