Throughout the years, and still today, has MSAB been an active driving force in our holdings' journeys from local or regional companies to global market leaders. There is no easy way to define successful relations but over the years we have proved our ability to create value through long-term commitment, engagement and knowledge transfer among the board of directors, management and our network. We are often able to contribute with experience for a successful international expansion and we can support large strategical acquisitions as well as bolt-on acquisitions. We are also fully committed to bring in as much resources as possible to make the company prosper.
Board and management
MSAB works long-term to develop the holdings and closely monitors its financial development, risk profile and reporting. By being a large owner and having adequate board representation, we are able to influence our holdings. We actively participate in the nomination committees in our holdings to make sure that the companies have a professional board with adequate experience. In this way we assure a constructive and positive dialogue between the board and the company's management. In most cases MSAB strive for at least two representatives from our network to be represented on the board, of which one is the chairman and one of them are also a participant in the nomination comittee. As of today, MSAB has representatives on the board as well as in the nomination committees in all core holdings.
Among the most important tasks to our network is to generate new business opportunities and provide a recruitment base for the board and management in each company. Having the right board and management team are crucial for the future success of all companies. It is also important to be able to keep high performing people over time. On a relatively small market with extensive competition for talented people, it becomes important to offer competitive renumeration packages. The renumeration policies in our holdings are continously assessed to make sure they are efficiently constructed in order to create maximum value for the company's shareholders.
What MSAB can do for a new company
When we are assessing potential new investments we are looking among publically listed companies, but particularly we are interested in finding private companies. There are many fine Swedish and foreign companies which are managed by the founder or second or third generation entrepreneurs. Companies which has been built by hard work, commitment and industry knowledge. To these entrepreneurs it is important that their company continues to excel with competent owners which are able to see the company's continued potential. We believe we are able to contribute to these companies. We have a solid reputation and a history as engaged and active owners with vast experience from long-term business development. We also have experience from managing and implement expansive strategies to give the company a strong global position. We are also flexible regarding the ownership structure when we make a new investment. Sometimes the seller wants to continue as a minority owner and perhaps reduce its ownership gradually. In other cases there might be several owners where some would like to continue as owner while another prefer to sell its stake. MSAB are open to many different kinds of solutions and we look positively on former management to continue as shareholder since they usually possess valuable experiences and knowledge that the company can utilise also going forward.
AAK - An example of MSAB's active ownership
In 2000 Melker Schörling became owner in Karlshamns, the vegetable oil company. The company then had revenues of approximately three billion SEK and an operating profit of approximately 60 million SEK. In 2001, Kooperativa Förbundets shares in Karlshamns was acquired and Melker Schörling became the main owner of the company with 31 % of the capital and votes. After this acquisition a new strategy was implemented together with the management, the remaining shareholders and other board members. The two main parts of the new strategy was to consolidate the Nordic market and specialize into individual niches within the speciality vegetable fats industry where competition was less pronounced and the profitability higher. Since then the specialisation has been implemented both through organic and acquired growth. An example is the business area AAK Bakery Services which produces fats to the bakery industry and has become a vital part of AAK.
A major step in achieving the goals of the new strategy was the merger between Karlshamns and Aarhus United (Denmark) in 2005. From an industrial perspective the merger had several attractive advantages. The deal created a consolidation for bulk products on the Nordic market and it also made it possible to specialise each production facility in Århus and Karlshamn on profitable speciality vegetable oil segments. As an example the world's largest facility for cacao butter equivalents was built in Århus in 2007.
As a consequence of the merger, MSAB became the main owner of the company AarhusKarlshamn. Before the merger, the Bek-Nielsen family was the main owner of Aarhus United. The family remains as large owners in AAK and we actively cooperate with the family in the development of the company. The Bek-Nielsen family has long experience and an extensive know-how of the complete value chain in the vegetable oil industry as they also manage their own palm plantations in Asia.
Today, AAK's revenue is approximately 16 billion SEK and the operating profit is approximately 830 million SEK. The company has production facilities in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Great Britain, USA and Mexico and the sales are truly global. The company still has great potential to grow within vegetable oil niches and MSAB will remain as an active owner to support the company into the future.