17 Mar 2020 10:31

"Annual dialogue and keen interest in our business"

Annika Fogelström Helmer and Martin Kommes of Klädesholmen Seafood AB

“We have strong mutual trust. SEB has shown a keen interest in our business, and we have an open and honest dialogue,” says Martin Kommes, CFO of Klädesholmen Seafood AB, which has used SEB as its home bank since 2014. 

Klädesholmen is a family-owned company with a long tradition, where generation after generation of fishing families from the Swedish west coast island of Klädesholmen have refined herring into the pickled delicacy it is today. The island’s original fishing families joined together in 2001 under the Klädesholmen brand to preserve the Swedish tradition of pickled herring.

“We actually have one person in the firm who represents the sixth generation of herring families,” says the company’s CEO, Annika Fogelström Helmer. “We rest on a foundation of deep knowledge and tradition, but we also work relentlessly to be innovative and meet the emerging tastes of tomorrow’s herring fans.”

As for the future, she stresses the importance of nurturing and developing the company’s relationship with its existing customers while at the same time attracting new customers in Sweden and the other Nordic countries.

“But it is also important to work in a structured fashion and efficiently with our costs. Today we have the Nordic region’s most modern factory for herring production, which gives us a solid foundation,” she says.

SEB has been Klädesholmen’s home bank since 2014. Prior to then, it did most of its business with another bank.

“When we took the decision to build the new factory, SEB proved itself to be more positive and more creative in finding novel ways to finance the entire project,” says Martin Kommes. “We therefore chose to move more of our business to SEB, and today we do essentially all of our banking there: transactions, foreign exchange, long-term bank loans, lines of credit, leasing arrangements and certain pension solutions.”

Mutual trust is most important for a banking relationship, as is knowing that you can stick together in upturns as well as downturns, he notes:

“We conduct an annual dialogue, and neither of us appear to have any hidden agendas; rather, we try to focus on an arrangement that is beneficial for both parties. We have several contact persons whom we can call, who have their finger on our pulse, so we don’t need to start from the beginning when we have something we need to discuss.”

Is there anything you are missing – something that could be done better?  

“The internet bank is getting better and better all the time, and we appreciate that we can now handle a lot of our foreign exchange transactions ourselves. It would be interesting to have a similar function also for certain currency options. But what we would like to see most of all is more digital contract handling, so there would be less paperwork.”