NOTES WITH EXPLANATIONS --
The Roots of Saab AB.
Long Version 1.2. . May 17, 2015.
When new facts appear or errors are identified, text will be corrected
Bofors Hammarbruk, a tilt-hammer factory using bar iron as raw
material, was founded 1646 in Karlskoga, Sweden. The company was in
operation from around 1649 and continued as a rather small factory under
many different owners during 200 years
In 1812 a new owner, scientifically educated, started systematic studies on
the iron manufacturing process. From late1860’s steel-maker Krupp was the
first company able to produce high strength cast-steel quality to endure the
high inner pressure (5000 bar) of the more efficient rear loaded cannons.
But their cast-steel still needed to be forged to reach the necessary
quality level. For the first time since the1500’s, the Swedish Army bought
the superior Krupp cannons in 1879 to be able to get the best cannons.
Bofors this year made a metallurgic break-through for cast-steel after years
of systematic trials. Bofors was the first company to produce cast-steel
quality strong enough, without the need of forging, to handle the extreme
high pressure in rear-loaded cannons. Already in 1880 Bofors could deliver
this high strength cast-steel to established cannon maker Finspång, which
would complete the rear-loaded cannons and made them ready for use.
In the aftermath of the WW1 peace agreement, Krupp and Bofors agreed on
future cooperation in October 1919. To cooperate and use Krupp technology
Bofors paid 1,5 million SEK. Bofors also took over Krupp’s blocked orders
(12 million SEK).
After emission of new Bofors shares in February 1921, Krupp paid 4.5 million
SEK for 25 % of Bofors shares.
Transaction was made through an intermediate company called AB
Bofors-intressenter (=BI) ≈ Bofors stakeholders/Interested partners. The
share capital was 10 000 Swedish Kroner !! This cooperation agreement would
create political tensions in Sweden during early 1930s.
BI Chairman Mauritz Carlsson, also a Bofors Board Member, succeeded in 1934
by Sven Wingquist who had negotiated the deal with Krupp in 1921 as Chairman
of the Board for Bofors! Sven Wingquist is inventor of the spherical ball
bearing and founder of SKF AB. in. He was CEO from 1907 -1919 when he left
the company but remained on the Board of Directors.
War Material Agreement was signed in October of 1921 valid until 30 June
1941. (Facts in p. 328-336 in Steckzén’s book on Bofors from 1946.)
German armament industry intensified its activites operations from 1934 and
Bofors cooperation with Krupp was no longer acceptable for the Swedish
government. Dr. Sven Wingquist, Bofors CEO at the time , succeeded after
long negotiations to convince Krupp to give up its control of
BI-shareholding of Bofors. From a Swedish perspective this ownership was
very politically sensitive at the time.
The shares in Bofors-intressenter” were sold in Private Placement June 4th
1935 to Swedish owners. Axel Wenner-Gren (at the time major owner of a few
companies e.g. Electrolux) bought the major portion of these shares.
Bofors AB sold of all its sprawling business areas step by step and
dissolved 1991. High-tech weapon-systems were acquired fully by Saab AB in
1999. It was owned by earlier spun-off Bofors business area with Saab AB
already a minority owner since 1991.