Forecast boosts SAS

The board of the airline SAS gained authorisation to implement a new issue of a maximum of 66 million ordinary shares during an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on Friday. This corresponds to almost 20% of the number of common shares outstanding. It remains unclear whether the board is going to use the mandate, and if so, when.

On Friday the airline’s shares climbed after SAS presented new forecasts for the 2017/2018 financial year. SAS expects profits before tax and one-off posts to be between SEK 1.5 and 2 billion. This would constitute steady progress from the recent financial year.

The forecast indicates the company is in a significantly stronger position than several years ago, says Jacob Pederson, aviation analyst at Sydbank.

Ambitious goals lift Volvo’s shares

AB Volvo’s shares gained over 7% on Friday after the vehicle giant presented a new aggressive target for its operating margin. The operating margins are to be ten per cent over an economic cycle.

When asked whether this is a realistic goal, head of investor relations, Christer Johansson, said, “This is a long-term goal and not a vision. At our capital market day earlier this year we presented a number of priority areas for gradually improving profitability.”

Few in parliament own shares

Only 32 of a total 362 politicians have declared shareholdings in listed companies, according to an excerpt from the Riksdag’s financial register. Joakim Bornold, from Nordnet, is surprised about the low figure.

H&M is the big favourite among those politicians who do hold shares. Sharing second place are SAS and the investment company Kinnevik. Furthermore a majority of shareholding politicians are alliance politicians while not a single Left Party politician holds shares.

Only one party leader, Jan Björklund has reported any holdings. The Liberal leader has invested in the bank SEB and in a Sweden fund.

Finance ministerial candidate Oscar Sjöstedt (SD) owns shares in the prospecting company Africa Oil, which Joakim Bornold considers to be controversial. “Africa Oil has, to say the least, a turbulent history and is a company that has been called into question a good deal, which means it is surprising that it turns up in a portfolio of this kind of politician.”

Pressure at H&M’s AGM

Clothing giant H&M’s AGM on Wednesday was the ninth under Karl-Johan Persson as CEO. He is now one of the longest serving CEOs on the OMXS30. However investors with shares in H&M during his steerage have made a bad deal. The shares have had an annual total return of under seven per cent, which is eleven percentage points lower than the annual return of the Stockholm stock market total return index, SIX Return.

To boost confidence institutional owners want DI to report more information about the progress of the company’s concept brands (see SPR 10/5 Early Ed.). Neither chair Stefan Persson or CEO Karl-Johan Persson gave interviews at the AGM, but Karl-Johan Persson said, “We listen to good ideas, take them in and discuss whether we can do better. It is always a balancing act. We think that it is most important for the shareholders that we have lots of focus on the customers and the business. We have annual and biannual press conference when I meet investors and analysts.”

Ericsson sheds 20.2% after profit warning

Yesterday Ericsson issued a profit warning resulting in its biggest plunge on the stock market in nine years as the company shed 20.2% and a share value of SKr 40 billion went up in smoke.

According to preliminary figures Ericsson’s operating results for Q3 were SKr 0.3 billion. Growth in turnover was 14% as network income fell by 19-30% during the quarter. Organic growth has fallen eight quarters in a row. The gross margin shrank from 32.2% to 28.4%. It has not looked this bad for Ericsson since just after the IT bubble burst.

Acting CEO Jan Frykhammar blames poorer Brazilians, Russians and Arabs in the Middle East after the fall in oil prices and a stronger dollar. European operators are also putting their purchases of Ericsson’s software on hold.

Enterprise minister Mikael Damberg did not want to comment on the stock fall but predicts a few tough years ahead for the company while Moderate leader Anna Kinberg Batra says it is a reminder of the pressure on Swedish industry.