By Dominic Chopping
STOCKHOLM--Investor AB (INVE-B.SK) on Thursday reported a drop in fourth-quarter net asset value while its net loss widened sharply on lower valuations of its investments, but lifted its full-year dividend.
Investor's net asset value fell to 428 Swedish kronor ($47.45) at the end of 2018 from SEK440 at the end of 2017. The net loss widened to SEK45.09 billion during the fourth quarter from a loss of SEK1.01 billion a year earlier.
The company raised its total full-year dividend to SEK13 a share from SEK12.
The company recorded a negative total return on its listed core investments of 15% in the quarter with an 8% fall in total shareholder return.
Many of Investor's companies grew profits and generated strong cash flow through the year, it said, but were weighed by significant market multiple contraction during the latter part of the year, Chief Executive Johan Forssell said.
"Today's world is characterized by significant uncertainty and rapid change," he added.
In a separate announcement Thursday, Investor said it plans to offer the chairmen of companies within its listed core investment portfolio the chance to invest in call options with a duration of five years.
The offer is voluntary and implies an exercise price of 110% of the share price, and the participants can invest SEK2 million to SEK5 million.
"The chairperson has a particularly important role in driving successful board work," Mr. Forssell said.
"It is our ambition to create further incentives for the boards to act and take decisions that long term are best for the companies and thus their shareholders," he said.
Investor wants board members to build up an ownership stake that corresponds to one year's gross board fee over a five-year period and the options plan announced today will not replace that ambition.
The offer will not include listed companies that are chaired by Jacob Wallenberg or Marcus Wallenberg.
Investor is the investment vehicle of Sweden's prominent Wallenberg family and owns stakes in some of the country's largest companies, including telecom giant Ericsson AB (ERIC), home appliance manufacturer Electrolux AB (ELUX-B.SK) and lender Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB-A.SK).
Write to Dominic Chopping at email@example.com; @domchopping @WSJNordics