It sounds to me like you want to have enough funds so that if something pivots, you have the flexibility and the speed to go after that particular new thing, right?
Hakan Samuelsson: Yeah, I think you could say that. I mean, it's very difficult to know exactly what will happen in the next five or six years. Either way, our ambition is to be the fastest transformer. With this issuing of new shares, we want to secure that. It's fair to say we don't know exactly what could happen in the future, but we want to stay in the lead. This helps secure the transformation, which is very important. We have talked a lot about our plans. Now are saying how we are going to secure this financially, all while making the company a real, global listed company. I think that will be appreciated by people who want to work for us and for investors.
Volvo has been making strong profits for years. Couldn't the company have covered the costs of the transition without taking this step?
Annwall: Part of it is we want to be proactive if opportunities present themselves. Another factor is that you can't count on having five years in a row with sunny weather [positive financial results]. There might be rain or other things that happen. Therefore, I think it is good to have a bit of insurance because this is a transformation that you need to complete. You can't stop halfway. It's important when going into this transformation that you have the funds needed to come through it. That's the main objective of this [IPO]. On top of that, being a listed company and having the constant challenge that comes with answering to a global investor base will make our company stronger, better and quicker.
Some companies struggle with that quarterly pressure to perform. It seems to keep them from making long-term decisions that require big investments and patience like the ones Volvo has made as is revived after struggling in the early 2000s. Has Volvo reached the point in which that quarterly pressure can do more good than harm?
Annwall: Investors can look at the volumes and the margin every quarter. That's important. I think the investors we are talking with now are clear that we have a dual objective: Delivering the numbers every month, but also doing what it takes to complete the longer term transformation of going full electric and going into the software development world. So, I'm sure investors will value Volvo's desire to deliver on both our strategic objectives and the short-term operational result. There can't be one without the other. We can't just deliver the operational result and forget about the strategic transformation. Then Volvo's valuation will tank. I think the investors are coming with the expectations of both. That is the type of pressure we need.
How will you deal with any outstanding debt on the balance sheet?
Samuelsson: This is a new issuance of shares. It brings in in equity to the company. If you look over the future development process, there are three sources of money. Either you make the money and finance things from your cash flow, or you go to a bank and borrow, or you have equity. Like Bjorn said, it's impossible to know the future condition of the debt market or how much cash will we make. That is why we want to secure the equity for that. This will help us if we go to the debt market or even if there are some rainy years here. But if we look at our plan, I think we could probably do this without this [the IPO]. But are credit markets going to be this favorable with these low interest rates in the next five years? Who knows?
Were you surprised by the $20 billion enterprise valuation for your subsidiary Polestar? And do you expect Volvo to have that same kind of enterprise value?
Samuelsson: Maybe a year ago we would have been surprised, but we have seen the valuation of EV companies really go up. I think that shows confidence from investors about the transformation into electrification. In addition, customers are more and more interested in electric cars. This has developed very rapidly. That is what you see in the valuation of Polestar. Volvo is a company that is also going to develop in this direction. I expect that we will also see that type of the recognition from the investors in Volvo. The question is: How big will that be? We are coming out with credible plans to show the investor community. I think the timing is good. Interest in the electric car is rising, and we have a solid strategy that we are going to execute.