måndag 12 maj 2008

The state of the Swedish cleantech market

According to E24 (in Swedish), Swedish cleantech companies face a dismal outlook, with only 3 out of 14 publicly traded companies making a profit last year.

A few observations could be made however. First of all, these numbers should not be taken as a representation of the whole cleantech market. Many successful cleantech companies are not traded on the public stock market. It is also important to remember that many companies not mentioned in the article work with cleantech in one way or another, but only as a part of their product or service portfolio. For instance: Sweco (consulting), ABB (energy efficiency, etc) and Alfa Laval (biofuel equipment, etc). Further on, in the long term several of the companies mentioned in the article face growing demand for their products.

To invest in a company that is yet to make a profit requires excellent market insight and at least a basic technical understanding of the products being offered. And even more so than in the case of investing young but profitable companies. Rome wasn't built in a day and many cleantech companies will need several years of R&D before being able to launch a competitive product. Ambitious innovators may become early leaders in developing markets. But without an initial knowledge, the outside investor might as well bring her or his money to a racecourse, where the gambling is equally risky but more exciting.

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