Castle to nobleman: as a Swedish count earned $4 billion on security


Swedish entrepreneur of Scottish descent, count Gustaf Archibald Douglas Sigwarth one of the twenty richest people in Sweden. At the time of writing the latest Forbes list of billionaires in March last year, the magazine estimated his fortune at $4.9 billion in size, wealth Douglas took 12th place in Sweden and 393 place in the world. With the depreciation of the Koruna against the US dollar the status of Douglas decreased slightly at the beginning of February, “a real-time counter” Forbes estimated at $4.2 billion

Source state of Douglas is the holding company of Latour, 77% of which belongs to the businessman, its capitalization on 4 February was $3.5 billion Formally Latour calls himself an investment Fund, whose portfolio consists of shares in 70 companies from minority stake to full ownership. The greatest on the market value of the Fund’s assets are stakes in companies Securitas (creation of security) and Assa Abloy (manufacturer of mounted and mortise locks), where Douglas via Latour holds the largest stake. Their capitalization on February 4, was $5.2 billion and $21.2 billion respectively.

Nobleman philistinism

Gustaf Douglas comes from an old Scottish clan Douglas, and it is “Swedish-German branch”. The businessman ancestor in the direct line count Robert Douglas in 1627, left Scotland and entered the military service of the Swedish king. In 30 years of army career, he rose to the rank of field Marshal, after which for three years served as Governor-General of Swedish Livonia. From the mother in the family of Gustav were German princes Eulenburg, representatives of one of the oldest houses in Northern Europe. Through sister’s husband Gustav is in indirect relationship with Winston Churchill and Princess Diana.

However noble hardly contributed to Gustav hit Douglas in the Forbes list. The birth of the future billionaire in 1938 the title of count has little meaning; even in the First world war the king lost power, and the nobility — the remaining by the beginning of XX century privileges.

Father Gustav Carl Douglas, like many of his ancestors, was a career diplomat and on his son’s birthday, he worked as the second Secretary in the foreign Ministry of Sweden. Later he worked in the Swedish Embassy in Washington, and then another a year before his death in January 1961, served as Ambassador to Brazil. During the life of the father Gustav had enjoyed all the benefits available to the nobility: he studied at the prestigious Humanitarian school in Sigtuna, from which he graduated and king Carl XVI Gustaf, and then enrolled at the Stockholm school of Economics.

Despite noble origins, the family of Douglas belonged rather to the middle class: the salary diplomats, even of such high rank was low. A few years before his death, Carl bequeathed to their children for 20 thousand kronor at the time of study (now it is about 250 thousand CZK, or $30 thousand).

When in 1962, Gustav decided to go to graduate school at Harvard business school, he understood that money suffices only on payment of the first semester. Then he first had the idea to do the investing for Harvard, he won a scholarship Riddarhuset (noble Assembly of Sweden), the share of these funds invested in the shares of Volvo, which are then sold as their course. “I really could help many of those with whom I spoke, who I knew, but I would be ashamed to ask them for a favor — later recalled Douglas. — Go into minus was very enlightening to my self”.

Business journalist

Overcoming financial difficulties, Gustaf Douglas in 1964 successfully graduated from the business school, receiving an MBA. After that, he returned to Sweden, where he entered the service of a consulting firm [Bohlin & Strömberg. Traffic in Central Stockholm, the young businessman was an hour late for an interview, but it is still approved as a consultant for management. His work Gustav treated as receiving the necessary experience, and in his spare time continued to trade shares on the stock exchange.

In addition, Douglas tried his hand in journalism by publishing under the pseudonym of notes in the socialist newspaper Stockholms-Tidningen. The choice of publications seems rather strange, given the social origin and occupation of Douglas, however, by his own admission, in his youth, he was quite skeptical about capitalism. By then, Sweden was not yet established rules in regard to insider trading, and Gustav was able to combine trading with writing financial notes. Journalistic “outlet” businessman enjoyed long, because in February 1966 Stockholms-Tidningen was closed for lack of funding.

But even in such a short time, Gustav became friends with many journalists, and in 1968, 30-year-old businessman accepted the offer of one of your friends to head the TV channel TV2. For three years, Gustav was constantly fighting with the parent company Sveriges Radio for the right to form a broadcasting network, and then returned to [Bohlin & Strömberg (already in a leadership position), to death quarreled with many officials of the Swedish television and radio. For the nature and origin of many colleagues on TV2 called Douglas the count of Monte Cristo.

The entrepreneur hoped to make a career in the media Manager, and in 1973 he headed the publishing house that produces the popular Swedish Newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Expressen. This experience also was not too successful: Douglas demanded from the editors of maximum political objectivity in contrast to the then prevailing support for political parties. Shareholders were also unhappy that Director of media invests in real estate and plays the stock market, seeing in this a conflict of interest. In the spring of 1980, Douglas was fired, then was finally able to focus on creating your own investment Fund.

Professional gatekeeper

Funds for the establishment of such a Fund Douglas had planned to gain from the sale of their assets in real estate. His partners Adam Backstrom and Magnus Lindholm, with whom he worked as a Director of Dagens Nyheter, too, was going to exit the business, planning to wait for more favorable conditions, and help out triple to 2 billion kroons. But Douglas did not wait and was sold due to him for 40 million kronor. The subsequent drop of the real estate market of Sweden showed that Gustav timely cashed their assets.

In those years, they, according to the author of the book “Swedish billionaires” Birgitta Forsberg, was driven by the desire for revenge for unfair dismissal from the media, for self-realization. Founded investment company Wasatornet, the Earl of Douglas had set about forming the portfolio, but the first few years could determine the direction of the business and once almost went bankrupt. Finally, in 1985, he acquired a Fund of Hevea (renaming it in Latour), and through him received 95% of the Securitas company, specialized in security systems.

Under the leadership of Douglas Securitas has gone through a long restructuring: initially, the businessman got rid of the “extra” units, leaving the company only security functions. After that Securitas has started to expand the scope of activities, gradually buying up small firms of different profile. The implementation of this plan the Earl of Douglas instructed his friend businessman Melker the Sherling, who since 1987 has occupied the post of General Director of Securitas.

Soon Sherling began and the territorial expansion of the company, first in neighboring Norway and Denmark, then in distant Portugal, and with the fall of the iron curtain Securitas began active work in the countries of Eastern Europe, primarily in Hungary. Since 1991, Securitas securities are traded on the Stockholm stock exchange.

By that time, thanks to numerous mergers and acquisitions, Securitas has once again become a diversified group, which was not easy to manage, considering that this is only part of the investment portfolio Latour. In the end, Douglas and Sherling has decided to allocate in separate business, the manufacture of locks and locking devices, and in 1994 appeared Assa Abloy. Having received the “inherited” part of the assets of Securitas, since the Foundation and until now the company conducts active expansion, becoming the largest manufacturer of locks in the world. By the end of 2014, the revenue of the company amounted to about $7 billion.

Strategy M&A Douglas as the largest shareholder held in other companies from the portfolio of Latour. For example, in 1999, Securitas was in possession of the legendary Pinkerton detective Agency, and with the development of technologies identified in a separate company with its unit for the development of access control systems and home security systems.

Time quirks

At the moment all the companies included in the portfolio Latour employs more than 410 thousand people. Gustaf Douglas is no longer involved in direct control of his Empire, but retained control of her through his family. The Board of Directors Latour meet his wife and two sons. The eldest son (named after his grandfather Carl) is also Vice-President of Securitas and Assa Abloy, and younger son Eric works as the Vice President in the company Fagerhult — other asset Latour, producing lighting systems and lighting equipment.

Count Gustav himself now devotes himself to two Hobbies: politics and philately. Over time the views of the businessman became more moderate, and since 2002 he has actively supported the Moderate right-wing liberal party. The long-awaited victory for the party in the 2006 elections he writes including and at its expense, given its active media campaign in support of the movement.

In addition, Gustav is the owner of the so-called unique Swedish postage stamps from the first issue of stamps in the history of Sweden. A few such stamps were accidental painted in yellow instead of green. From this “wrong” series to our time preserved only instance that is considered the most expensive brand in philately. In previous times the “Swedish miracle” was auctioned in 2010 for $2.3 million Three years later the brand was bought by the Earl of Douglas — the purchase price this time he did not disclose.

Gustaf Archibald Douglas Sigwarth in numbers

$4.2 billion — the state of the Earl of Douglas in January 2016

70 companies are fully or partly included in his portfolio

$3.7 billion worth of Latour on the stock exchange of Stockholm

$30 thousand. corresponds Douglas received from his father’s legacy

More than 410 thousand. people working in companies from the portfolio Latour

$384 million cost holding buying Agency Pinkerton in 1999

Not less than $2.3 million worth it purchased Douglas postage stamp

143 Ducal family are in Sweden, one of which is headed by Douglas

2864 hectares occupies the estate of Douglas near Stockholm

Sources: Affärsvärlden, Forbes, Riddarhuset, Swenska miljardärer, company data