Proventus’ investment in Industrivarden was not solely a financial matter. Since Industrivarden was the largest stockholder in Fermenta, the Swedish chemical concern that received a great deal of international press for the problems of its owner, Refaat El-Sayed, we felt it was important that Gotabanken and Proventus were fully informed of the company’s difficulties. This made an investment in Industrivarden even more interesting.

A large part of our management’s time in 1987 – particularly Robert Weil’s and director Joakim Santesson’s – was devoted to assisting in saving Fermenta from bankruptcy. The direct benefit from this work, which proved to be successful, was to limit the losses suffered by Gotabanken, one of Fermenta’s banks. Had Fermenta been forced to suspend payments, its creditors would have had great difficulty being reimbursed for its loans.

Gotabanken, under its previous management, had granted the Fermenta group around SEK 500 M in credits and had written down its loans to Mr. El-Sayed by SEK 250 M in its 1986 accounts. By all indications, Gotabanken should be able to recover between SEK 50 M and SEK 100 M of this amount thanks to these efforts. Today Gotabanken’s loans to Fermenta have been considerably trimmed to only normal credit risks.