Banana fever rages

At the beginning of the 1920s Sven Salén meets Norwegian Carl Matthiessen who intends to start importing bananas into Sweden. Transporting bananas is a risk filled operation as bananas require a cool atmosphere so as not to rot during transportation. After a load of bananas is ruined after re-loading in Rotterdam on the way to Gothenburg, Sven Salén and Carl Matthiessen decide to transport the loads themselves. Bananas quickly become very popular and banana sales in Sweden increased very considerably from less than 500 tons in 1920 to more than 10,000 tons in 1930. This development also means that the Banana Company’s shipping department becomes a pioneer in the development of completely refrigerated vessels. At the beginning of the 1940s Sven Salén becomes the owner of the Banana Company whilst Carl remains as Managing Director.

During the 1930s a close contact is also established with Jacob Wallenberg and the Enskilda Bank, where Jacob Wallenberg’s collaboration with and confidence in Sven Salén is a directly determining factor for the development of the operations. For several decades into the future the board of directors solely consists of Sven Salén and Jacob Wallenberg.