April 28, 2014 / 9:31 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kinnevik to keep up spending on online, financial services

3 Min Read

* To invest 2-3 bln SEK in 2014

* Mainly in online and financial services

* Net asset value rises 16 pct to 66.2 bln SEK ($10 bln)

* Says a "long-term approach" needed for Zalando (Adds quote, details)

By Mia Shanley and Helena Soderpalm

STOCKHOLM, April 28 (Reuters) - Swedish investment firm Kinnevik, a major investor in the telecoms sector and internet start-ups, plans to spend 2 to 3 billion crowns ($303-455 million) on new investments this year, mainly in online and financial services.

The company, which has a major stake in Europe's biggest online fashion firm Zalando, has already spent 469 million crowns in the first quarter, the bulk of which went into e-commerce and businesses such as India's leading online classified site Quikr. It spent 2.4 billion crowns in 2013.

Kinnevik, which has recently focused on young, high-growth online ventures, said earlier this month it had picked former Goldman Sachs banker Lorenzo Grabau as chief executive as it deepens its push into technology.

Its outgoing CEO, Mia Brunell Livfors, said she expected Kinnevik would continue to operate a mix of assets.

Mobile communication holdings such as Millicom and Tele2 make up 56 percent of the group's overall portfolio followed by internet investments at 32 percent.

Shares in Kinnevik, up nearly 40 percent from a year ago, have tumbled more than 20 percent since the start of the year due to worries over its large exposure to Russia and slowing sales at Zalando, in which it has a 37 percent stake.

The German company, which competes with Britain's ASOS , has been viewed by bankers as a possible IPO candidate.

Investors have, however, focused more recently on slower growth in first-time visits to its website as it spends less on marketing and stopped opening in new markets.

Kinnevik said that a "long-term approach" to ownership was needed to guide a firm such as Zalando as it navigates through a relatively new and fast-changing industry.

Brunell would not speculate about a potential listing.

"We are mainly focusing on that the company shows good growth and is on a path to profitability. How it is owned or listed or not listed is of second importance," she told Reuters.

Kinnevik's first-quarter net asset value rose 16 percent to 66.2 billion crowns ($10 billion) from a year ago, with a sharp increase in smartphone use boosting both its old and new holdings.

Zalando has in the past provided an overview of its performance on the same day as Kinnevik earnings but this time will publish first-quarter results on May 9.

Brunell said Kinnevik had a number of assets in Russia and had been affected by a weakened rouble. Still, a focus on consumer services and domestic customers in Russia meant there had not been any major impact on business.

Founded in 1936, Kinnevik is one of the largest listed investment companies in Europe, having transformed itself from an industrial concern into a telecoms and media group and in recent years expanded into online services.

It is controlled by Sweden's wealthy Stenbeck family.

$1 = 6.5898 Swedish Crowns Editing by Mark Potter

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