THE PORTRAIT - ROY BERG
A MASTER ANALYST
For 23 years, Roy Berg’s in-depth analyses and recommendations have laid the foundation for many successful investment decisions made by the Group and the various business areas.
Roy Berg grew up in Kungsbacka and Hällefors. In 1970, he started studying for an MBA and a complementary master’s degree in economics at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. After university he worked as tax auditor at the Swedish Tax Agency and equity analyst at private stockbrokers and banks, including DNB.
After some years in Stockholm he was headhunted to the position of Chief Analyst at Stena Finans in 1996. A job that covered stock and equity analyses, giving investment recommendations for the Group. As well as acquisition and competition analyses for individual business areas.
In 1999, the assignment grew to cover major analyses of the motivations, risks, threats and possibilities for all of Stena’s business areas. Analyses that were used for strategic decisions throughout the Sphere.
“It was an exciting and formative assignment. Another exciting period was when Bo Lerenius and I searched for new growth companies to invest in. We looked at many unlisted companies, which demands a completely different methodology than analyses of listed companies.”
Before Stena’s Investment Committee decided to invest in a company, it had often been visited by Roy several times. And it’s especially these investment trips and meeting the different companies that he finds most rewarding of his 23 years at Stena. Trips that have taken him to all the capitals in Europe and many other interesting places.
”We, for example, went to the Faroe Islands and met the salmon producer Bakkafrost, which became a very good investment.”
MANY INVESTMENT TRIPS TO RUSSIA
There have also been many trips to Russia, which is one of Roy’s major interests. In 2005, the Finance Committee made its first visit to St Petersburg. Since then, Roy travelled to Russia a couple of times a year until 2014. His visits led to many good investments, for example in Lukoil and Sberbank Rossii, Russia’s biggest bank, which dates back to the Russian Empire.
”It’s also to Russia that I’ve made my most exciting investment trip, namely to the mine in Norilsk. A city by the Arctic Ocean, north of the Arctic Circle, in Krasnoyarsk Krai, that can only be reached by ship or plane. We went down 800 metres below ground and then by train for two kilometres into the mine that has the largest known deposits of nickel, copper and palladium in the world.”
His interest in Russia originates from his great interest in chess and the broadcasts of the World Championship Match between Mikhail Botvinnik and Tigran Petrosian in Moscow in 1963.
”I started playing chess at a young age. And since the end of the ‘90s I play in the chess club Majorna’s Schacksällskap. In 2004-2006, I played my way up to the rank of Master.”
He’s also had the pleasure of meeting the current World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen from Norway, in simultaneous chess twice. On the latest occasion, in December last year, he managed to stay in the game for 58 moves and was the last one standing of Carlsen’s 20 opponents.
”It’s very rewarding to play against him. I deem Magnus one of the greatest grandmasters of all times. Complete in the different phases of the game and who uses a lot of imagination and creativity in his game.”
HIS OWN WAY OF THINKING
Apart from being reflective and analytical, Roy is also a person that thinks big and freely. He is early with many things and good at foreseeing the future.
”I want to think for myself. It means that I sometimes reach a different conclusion than my associates. But I stand up for that and don’t follow the flock. Often, my thinking has been proved right.”
Early on, he for example saw great potential for improvement of Russian companies. Which was confirmed on his following visits to the country, when he saw how the quality of life and of the companies increased year by year.
He was also one of the first to see the potential of Axis Communications, based in Lund, who had an interesting business connecting camera systems via the internet. However, it was clouded by their more unprofitable IT services that they also offered in the IT boom of the early 2000s.
”They had developed a spearhead technology and I got great confidence in the founders. I managed to convince the Investment Committee to make a substantial investment there. It gave a great return when the company was later acquired by Panasonic.”
In 2003-2004, he also saw the investment potential in renewable energy. He, for instance, visited Vestas Wind Systems, which became one of Stena Finans’ best investments.
TIME FOR HIS INTERESTS
As he now retires, it’s the inspiring journeys that he will miss the most. And the good fellowship and the intellectual environment with its interesting discussions on economics, geopolitics, stocks and methodology. Now, on the other hand, there will be more time for chess tournaments and travelling with his partner.
”That’s true, we’ve actually booked a river cruise on the Volga, from Moscow to the Caspian Sea. We also like going to the Concert Hall and the Opera. Then I have many books waiting to be read. About Russia, history, religion, as well as some fiction. I also enjoy kayaking by our summerhouse in Sotenäs,” says Roy and concludes by thanking his colleagues for the nice reception at his retirement.
|TITLE||Chief Analyst, Stena Finans|
|YEARS AT STENA||23|
|FAMILY||Partner with Gunnel for 35 years. A bonus son and three grandchildren.|
|INTERESTS||Chess, is a member of the chess club Majorna’s Schacksällskap and has been ranked Master. Other great interests are Russia, classical music and opera. He also plays some golf in the summertime.|
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