Investment firm Kinnevik buys into Swedish online grocer MatHem

STOCKHOLM, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Kinnevik is spending 900 million Swedish crowns ($97 million) to buy a 38 percent stake in MatHem, an online domestic grocery retailer that it sees benefiting from more Swedes shopping online for food items, the investment company said.

The investment will include 400 million crowns in capital and 500 million in secondary shares and will give it exposure to a grocer that completed over one million deliveries last year, Kinnevik said as it fourth quarter results.

Founded in 1936 by the Stenbeck, Klingspor and von Horn families, Kinnevik today holds stakes in telecom players like Tele2 and Millicom, as well as tech startups like payments group Qliro and online classified platform Quikr.

Under new Chief Executive Georgi Ganev, the Swedish firm has been pursuing a strategy of increasing its exposure to private Nordic companies as it battles for assets with larger hedge funds and private equity firms muscling in on its territory.

Kinnevik reported on Thursday a 10 percent fall in net asset value during the fourth quarter to 256 crowns per share, blaming negative share price development in Global Fashion Group (GFG) and other e-commerce assets.

Ganev said Kinnevik would focus on “active ownership, increased activity in the private portfolio and an increased engagement in the Nordics”.

“In 2019, we will continue to drive this agenda, but I expect the number of new investments during 2019 to be fewer in favour of more sizeable investments as demonstrated by the investment in MatHem,” he said in a statement.

MatHem had a turnover of around 1.5 billion crowns in 2018 and in December partnered up with Clas Ohlson to deliver the hardware store chain’s products and services on top its own food assortment.

Kinnevik said its ambition with MatHem was “to deepen the relationship with customers, extending it beyond the scope of the online grocer itself”. ($1 = 9.2421 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Stockholm, editing by Anna Ringstrom and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)