Meet Magnus Persson - adding life and color to numbers
The Skanska share price is in a positive trend and was sniffing on the all-time high of SEK 164 earlier this year. Asked what drives the share price Skanska Investor Relations Senior Vice President Magnus Persson explains:
"I am afraid I can’t take the credit for this. In part, it is the effects of a general economic improvement and low interest rates that have led to a very strong overall stock market. Then, of course, our strong order bookings, the acceleration of our project development business and a positive outlook for our most important markets creates positive expectations around the share."
Big numbers and high pace is what attracted Magnus to Skanska in 2006. In November 2013, he took office as Senior Vice President Investor Relations and became even more involved with big numbers - now with a mission to explain the business behind the numbers.
Reporting annually and quarterly
A couple of weeks before quarterly reports he has full focus on getting the numbers right and putting together a report. And each new year starts with preparation of the company's annual report. So far Magnus has delivered three quarterly reports and one Annual Report.
"The ultimate goal is to satisfy the need for information by helping investors understand the company, including financials, key strategies and market developments, which hopefully also help boost the Skanska share," Magnus says.
One of the analysts that follows Skanska is Erik Granström at Carnegie.
"Skanska has a long and strong tradition in investor relations. Skanska is definitely one of the best in its class. Magnus is very professional, structured and knowledgeable. With his background in Skanska Financial Services and Mergers & Acquisitions he understands the business, the financial markets and our needs as analysts and investors. He understands our questions and he responds quickly and accurately," says Erik Granström.
"I have also noticed that Magnus is good at explaining Skanska's complex structure to new investors who are not so familiar with the company."
The weeks following the reports are intense
"We are busy with roadshows meeting international investors in Europe, USA and Canada, both our existing ones and potential new ones, in order to clarify and answer questions about what we do," says Magnus.
But aren’t the reports self-explanatory?
"Yes, in a way they are, but you can't cover everything; that would make the reports thick as a brick. So I add some life and color to the numbers, and give the background to why they look as they do."
What is the most common question you get?
"How is your business doing in USA? It is natural because it is the world's largest construction market, and also our single biggest market and we are one of the top five players there. So it is very satisfying to be able to give positive signals from the U.S."
What are the trickiest questions you get?
"I find that many have a hard time understanding our balance sheet. Generally people are not familiar with how our construction operations and project development businesses are interacting and boosting our results. It can be complicated when excess capital in construction is used for investments in development projects. Explaining how that works, the synergies and the benefits of it, is a key task for me."
Apart from the numbers, what's cool about Skanska?
"I like that we do real stuff, things you can see in real life and live with every day. We build society, and improve how we live, work and travel," Magnus concludes.