Major shipyard acquisitions

The single biggest single event for the Salén Shipping Company during the 1970s was the taking over of the country’s biggest shipyard, Götaverken. The yard has a weak profitability and has difficulty in competing, in terms of prices, with foreign competition. With a promise of tax reductions the Swedish Finance Minister, Gunnar Sträng, succeeds in persuading Sture Ödner in carrying out a reconstruction of Götaverken. In 1971 the Salén Shipping Company takes over. For 150 million in fresh capital Saléns can reduce the taxes on their profits with the help of new depreciation rules, but in the long-term, the acquisition takes much of the executive leadership’s time.

With oil crises, a stone dead tanker market and cancelled major bookings for ships, problems rapidly accumulate. When the state, in 1977, buys back Götaverken again, in order to secure employment for the 10,000 shipyard employees, Sture Ödner states: “Saléns should never again go in as owner of a shipyard”. At the end of the day, a summary by the Minister of Industry, Rune B Johansson, showed that the state support of the shipyard industry cost the tax payer 12.5 billion Swedish Kronor in order to keep a doomed industry alive.