Mayday, mayday!

The 1980s began as the ’70s had finished, in turbulence. But Saléns made another giant effort to adjust to poor business conditions for the erstwhile winner, tank. The three divisions were made semi-autonomous companies at the end of the 1970s but the money still went up top to the mother company. The result was still three fairly independent daughter companies, each with its own boss.

“It was no secret that Sture had made mistakes. By the time they were spotted, it was too late. And everyone knew that management’s investment in tank was wrong. It wasn’t easy to predict the oil crises but when they came we lost huge amounts on our tanker investments. We got by for a long time because other divisions were showing a profit and because we had always had reserves. When the reserves were gone, profits dived.

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The 19 December press conference, 1984. A dejected management group announces the bankruptcy. Sven Hampus (left) says that “our togetherness has been shattered and our father is very much with us.” CEO Gunnar Rosengren to the right.

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