Kopparfors and Holmen

In addition to its subsidiaries and its significant shareholdings, Ratos also had ownership interests in several other companies. A couple of these commitments were built, at least in part, upon inheritances or other transfers from relatives. This was true for the forestry company Kopparfors, where Ragnar Söderberg’s first father-in-law, Axel Wallenberg, had been a large owner. It can also be noted that Ratos held a large portfolio of shares in NK (Nordiska Kompaniet). In 1970, Ratos was the fifth largest shareholder. At that time, Erik Söderberg was managing director of NK.

Kopparfors AB was founded in 1855 under the name Kopparbergs och Hofors Sågverksbolag. Investors included stakeholders in Stora Kopparbergs Bergslag and Hofors Bruk. The newly formed company acquired forests and timber rights and established sawmills, primarily in Dalarna, Gästrikland and Hälsingland.

The company that stood closest to Ragnar Söderberg’s heart, other than his family’s own company, was Holmens Bruk och Fabriksaktiebolag, in which Ratos acquired its first shares in 1941. Ragnar joined the board the following year and served as chairman of the board from 1955-74. Erik Söderberg was elected to the board in 1964. The Bonnier family also had significant ownership interests there.

Holmen is one of Sweden’s oldest companies, dating back to the armaments industry that Duke Johan (son of King Johan III) established on Kvarnholmen in Norrköping in 1609. The company subsequently became a major player in the forestry industry. During Ragnar Söderberg’s term on the board, a number of large investments were made, including Hallstavik paper mill north of Norrtälje. Wargön paper mill outside of Vänersborg was acquired in 1969 and planning for a large new mill outside of Norrköping got underway. That mill, Braviken, opened in 1977.