19 investments in new companies in 2020
Axel Johnson’s move towards the transformation target of 10/50 is driven by constant change in our existing companies. In addition, acquisitions and investments in new businesses are particularly important tools for creating growth in the new areas.
Even regarding investments, 2020 was a bumpy year. The year began at a fast clip with, among other things, two new solar companies. The great uncertainty about the pandemic’s impact on society and the economy meant that the transaction market was virtually stagnant during the second and third quarters. Thereafter, the year ended with a large number of acquisitions. Once again, Axel Johnson International was the group company that acquired the most diligently. But in addition, Axel Johnson’s presence deepened in a number of sectors, such as solar energy, health, food tech and technical security.
The common denominator for investments in 2020 was the long-term perspective – the ambition to create new significant business areas within Axel Johnson.
“1.4 billion sek was invested in new and existing companies, 19 investments where we became owners in new companies, 103 – Total number of investments in new companies 2016–2020″
Axel Johnson International invests in Automation
Industry group Axel Johnson International has long been our most acquisition-intensive company. Axel Johnson International has made 59 acquisitions in new companies in the last five years. In 2020, eight acquisitions were made.
With the acquisition of Caldan Conveyor, an important step was taken in the investment in automation, one of the really big industrial megatrends. Caldan Conveyor designs and produces automated overhead and floor conveyors. Its customers include manufacturers of large appliances and excavators, among other things, that use the transport tracks for painting, varnishing or other surface treatment.
Axel Johnson’s investment company Novax has over the past two years moved towards becoming more focused on a number of sectors, with the ambition of building new significant areas for Axel Johnson. The four themes where Novax builds its presence are: health & wellness, food value chain and food of the future, technical security and digital infrastructure for retail.
Aqua Dental: Investing in Dental Health
Novax’s single largest investment during the year took place just before the end of the year and with Novax becoming a major owner in Aqua Dental, Sweden’s fastest growing dental care player. The ambition is to create a nationwide dental chain focusing on care quality and modern and safe patient service. A major task going forward is to reach Swedes who today are least likely to visit dentists regularly, which would create great benefits for both the individual and society.
Future food: Investment in protein change
During the year, Novax also invested in ProLupin, a German company that manufactures protein-based input material for the food industry, but also develops its own plant-based dairy products aimed at consumers, such as ice cream, yoghurt and milk. During the fall, Svensk Baljväxt-
färs, a lupine-based veggie mince product, was also launched, which Novax commercializes based on the development work done by Axfoundation on the experimental farm Torsåker.
AxSol grows further
During the first months of the year, AxSol became part-owner in leading Swedish solar energy companies, Svea Solar and Solkompaniet. All AxSol companies have now taken their first steps into the European market. Among other things, the digital marketplace player Otovo – which connects solar panel installers and homeowners – in addition to Sweden and Norway, is also today on the Polish, French, Italian and Spanish markets.
The companies AxSol owns in part had a total turnover of around SEK 1.2 billion in 2020. Through continued growth in existing holdings in combination with additional investments, the goal is to multiply that figure already in a few years’ time.