Photographer: Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg

Swedish Sisters Become Billionaires on Soaring Family Fortune

  • Father’s 2015 transfer lifted daughters’ stakes to 14%
  • Value of investment company rises 28% in the past 12 months

The two daughters of Swedish industrialist Fredrik Lundberg have become billionaires as shares of the family’s investment company climbed to a record high.

Louise Lindh, 36, and Katarina Martinson, 35, each own a 14 percent economic interest in publicly traded Lundbergfoeretagen AB, according to the company’s 2015 annual report. Shares of the Stockholm-based business have risen 28 percent in the past 12 months and matched their all-time high of 517.5 Swedish kronor ($61.08) on Thursday.

Louise Lindh and Katarina Martinson
Louise Lindh and Katarina Martinson
Source: Lundbergfoeretagen AB

The stock is in part benefiting from a rise in real estate values in Stockholm, where apartment prices have climbed 24 percent in the past year, according to researcher Real Capital Analytics Inc. Property made up about 40 percent of the company’s 59 billion kronor of market-valued assets at the end of May.

A scarcity of publicly available shares -- the family controls 70 percent of the capital and more than 90 percent of the voting stock -- is amplifying the price gains, according to Gustav Oesterberg, a Stockholm-based analyst at Pareto Securities.

The siblings’ ownership increased from 7.6 percent at the start of 2015 after their father almost doubled their stakes in the family business by transferring some of his holdings. The value of those shares, along with dividends and interests in other publicly traded assets, has given each of the sisters a $1.1 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The family declined to comment on their wealth, according to spokesman Roger Ekstrom.

About four-fifths of the company’s net asset value comes from listed stocks, including property business Hufvudstaden AB, which manages commercial and residential properties mainly in Stockholm, and Holmen AB, which owns forest land it uses to produce paper products. Unlisted real estate arm Fastighets AB L.E. Lundberg makes up the remainder.

Lundbergs was founded by the sisters’ grandfather, Lars Erik Lundberg, an engineer who in 1944 started his own construction firm focused on developing residential buildings. Fredrik took over in the 1980s and managed its diversification into other industries, including banks and manufacturer Alfa Laval. It began trading on the Stockholm exchange in 1983.

Family Stakes

The sisters disclosed 6.8 percent stakes in the business in 2001 following the death of their grandfather. Lindh, who trained as an accountant, joined Fastighets AB L.E. Lundberg in 2005 as an assistant to its chief executive officer, Peter Whass. She became executive vice president two years later and joined the board in 2010. Her younger sister, Martinson, has been a director since 2009.

Fredrik, who’s the group’s president and CEO, has a $3.7 billion net worth and remains in control of the business. The 65-year-old still owns 80 percent of the company’s Class A shares that each carry 10 votes, giving him a 42 percent economic interest in the company and 71 percent of the voting rights.

“It’s so far away that I do not think about it," Lindh said in a 2013 interview with industry magazine Fastighetsvaerlden when asked about succession planning. “It works great as it is."

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE