The Riksbank's companies
The Riksbank has historically been responsible for a large part of the practical process of distributing banknotes and coins. For many years, the Riksbank had offices in almost all areas of Sweden, where banknotes and coins were stored and distributed to banks and post offices. These offices were also responsible for authenticity checks, destruction and counting. The number of offices was gradually reduced, totalling eleven at the end of the 1990s. The activities were conducted by a department within the Riksbank.
The General Council of the Riksbank decided in 1998 to separate the greater part of the cash management activities and convert them into a separate company, which was given the name Pengar i Sverige AB (PSAB). The purpose was to concentrate the Riksbank’s operations on its core objectives and to achieve a more rational structure in the cash market. The idea was to rationalise the activities within the framework of the subsidiary company and then divest them to the commercial banks or other private companies.
Svensk Kontantförsörjning AB
In spring 2002 the Riksbank decided to implement a new structure for cash management, which entailed the activities in PSAB being divided into two separate companies. The commercial operations were transferred to a new company, Pengar i Sverige AB (PiS). The intention was to sell this company to private owners as soon as possible. The central bank-related, non-commercial wholesale tasks, including value-dating, were transferred to Svensk Kontantförsörjning AB (SKAB).
The number of offices through which SKAB carried out its activities was reduced to four. The company’s activities were transferred to the Riksbank in 1 October 2004. Some parts of the company still have to be wound up.
Pengar i Sverige (PiS)
The activities in Pengar i Sverige AB were streamlined considerably in 2003 at the same time as efforts were being made to sell the company.
An agreement was signed with Securitas at the end of 2003 with a view to transferring the greater part of the assets in Pengar i Sverige AB to Securitas Värde AB. According to the agreement, Securitas Värde AB would take over the bulk of the assets in Pengar i Sverige AB and offer employment to the majority of the company's employees. The deal was subject to the approval of the Swedish Competition Authority.
When the Authority in May 2004 decided to conduct a special investigation, Securitas cancelled the agreement in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions. The activities in the company were wound up in July 2004 and the staff given notice of termination of contract. The assets were sold by open tender. The liquidation of the company is expected to continue during the coming year.
AB Tumba Bruk/Crane AB
Tumba Bruk was founded in 1755, making it one of the world’s oldest banknote paper mills. Previously, the Swedish Mint in Eskilstuna was also a part of Tumba Bruk. As a result of the Riksbank’s endeavour to concentrate its operations on its core objectives, the sale of Tumba Bruk was initiated in 2001.
According to an agreement signed at the end of 2001, the responsibility for managing Tumba Bruk was taken over by Crane & Co Inc., which has its headquarters in Massachusetts, USA, with effect from 2002. This company is a well-reputed manufacturer of banknote paper and other fine papers and has a long tradition as producer of banknote paper for US dollar notes. The company has operated under the name of Crane AB since 2002.
A final agreement was signed in December 2003, which entailed Crane & Co Inc. acquiring all shares in Crane AB with effect from 30 December 2003. Within the scope of the concluded agreements, Crane AB has a delivery agreement with the Riksbank that runs until the end of 2005.
Crane AB in Tumba consists today of a paper mill for banknote paper and a printing works. The company currently has substantial exports of mainly banknote paper. It has around 250 employees and annual turnover of approximately SEK 400 million.
The Swedish Mint was separated from Tumba Bruk and sold in 2002 as a separate unit to the Finnish mint, Rahapaja Oy. Coin production has continued in Eskilstuna under the name AB Myntverket.
The Riksbank has transferred, with the approval of the Riksdag (the Swedish parliament), the parts of the area in Tumba designated as cultural heritage buildings, to the National Property Board. The Riksbank has also decided to fund a paper mill museum in the area, where Tumba Bruk’s 250-year history will be on display to the general public. The museum will be run by the Royal Coin Cabinet and will open in spring 2005.