Ratos pins hopes on recovery

Swedish private equity firm Ratos has expressed confidence in the business outlook, despite its interim results showing a fall in pre-tax profits and earnings per share.

Ratos, the listed Swedish private equity firm, has pointed to a mild improvement in fortunes having experienced some tough times recently.

The firm saw its pre-tax profits fall from SEK564m (E62.8m) to SEK486m (E54.1m) and earnings per share from SEK4.56 (E0.5) to SEK4.08 (E0.45) in the period January to September 2003.    

In a statement, Ratos said that it had now moved from a “managing to get along” scenario since the end of 2001 to a “managing to get along better” phase. It said the performance of its portfolio companies had improved in the third quarter, assisted by US monetary and financial policy and an upturn in corporate investment activity.

“The gradual recovery in the US continues, large parts of Asia are developing very well, and even in the problem-filled Japanese and central European economies there are early signs of a possible recovery,” the statement said.

In July, Ratos received a SEK56m dividend from portfolio company Arcorus, a supplier of hydraulic drive systems, motors and piping systems, which it said was made possible by the firm’s ‘strong financial capital structure and good cash flow’.

Since the end of the reporting period, Ratos made a E543m offer alongside Lehman Brothers Real Estate for listed Swedish property group Tornet. The offer has so far received 55 per cent acceptance from shareholders, who have a deadline of 21 November 2003.

Also after the end of the period, Ratos sold IT consultancy DataVis for a ‘small exit gain’ to Finnish private equity firm CapMan.