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SEB becomes principal partner in Volvo Ocean Race project. A Swedish boat will be on starting line with 'Gurra' Krantz as skipper

SEB has become the principal partner in a project for The Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002, organised by Global Team AB. As the principal partner, SEB has the right to name both the project and the boat and will take advantage of all opportunities offered by the project for two-and-a-half years. A Swedish boat, with Gurra Krantz as the skipper, will thus be on the starting line for The Volvo Ocean Race. SEB is investing approximately SEK 100 M in the project over the two-and-a-half-year period.

"Our strategy is to grow in Europe within Asset Management and e-banking," says Lars H Thunell, president and CEO of SEB. "We have decided to operate under a single brand name, SEB, in Europe. It is therefore important to create greater awareness of SEB.

"Participation in The Volvo Ocean Race with our 'own boat' will create interest on the part of present and prospective customers and will also involve and bring together all sectors of SEB and its employees. The fact that the competition this time has stop-overs in four European ports and ends in Kiel and that it will probably include a large number of syndicates from other European countries has further increased our interest."

The project is based on a partnership and is being conducted in co-operation with the more than 20 companies who will constitute the commercial partners and a syndicate company whose representatives are Gunnar "Gurra" Krantz, the noted sailor; Lars Åhren, corporate and information consultant; Hans Liljeblad, lawyer; and Raymond Emtemark, media/Internet entrepreneur. The syndicate company is co-ordinating the project and the project-related promotional activities, and is also organising and implementing the sports programme.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002 will start from Southampton on June 23, 2001. The race comprises nine sections and eight stop-overs: In Cape Town, Sydney (with the start of the Sydney-Hobart Race and a so-called "pit stop" in Hobart), Auckland, Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Baltimore/Annapolis, La Rochelle and Göteborg. The race will end in Kiel on June 8, 2002.

This project, with SEB as the principal partner, and which is being organized by Global Team AB will be implemented through two campaigns, a "summer campaign" during the June-August period of 2000 and a "campaign 2000-2002 for The Volvo Ocean Race" during the period beginning September 2000 and extending through November 2002.

"From a project point of view, the summer campaign will be utilised to make preparations with respect to design studies and construction development, planning, and building of the racing boat," says Gurra Krantz, the skipper. "We have purchased Silk Cut, the English boat that competed in the most recent Whitbread Race. It will be our first training boat and with it we will begin to work on sail-handling and other training, and begin to select a crew."

The summer campaign will be used by the syndicate company for contract negotiations involving the purchase of partnerships in other partner categories. SEB plans to use the smmer campaign primarily for internal preparations and to promote knowledge of the project.

"The project will generate commercial values -- in the form of 'exposure,' 'contact opportunities' and 'institutional values' -- that can be utilised by the companies involved in image-building, marketing or internal communications programs," says Lars Åhrén, Global Team's promotion manager. "Involvement in the project will also create other benefits for our partners. Experience gained in earlier projects shows that they stimulate a willingness to co-operate and contribute to increased knowledge. In addition, the project offers good opportunities for business-to-business transactions between companies that become involved in the project."

SEB is becoming involved, due to its interest in sports, in a commercial project that is based on peoples' interest in sailing. Accordingly, SEB also wants to help stimulate interest in sailing and boating on the part of young people, handicapped persons and other groups. This will be done through "projects within the project."

The summer sailing and project events include participation in the "Gotland Runt" competition, the Tjörn Runt race in the middle of August and events at Ellös, on Orust, in connection with the boat industry's exhibition and open house at the Orust Yard the last week in August. The project's training boat will also take part in various events in Stockholm connected with Dagens Industri's Match Racing Cup for companies in the middle of September, which involves V.O.60 boats.

"The 2000-2002 campaign is based on participation in The Volvo Ocean Race as well as in activities before and after the Race," Gurra Krantz says. "It will begin with the purchase of a second training boat during the late summer of 2000. The purchase is being made in order to conduct sail tests and training activities, and to continue the selection of crew members in Portugal or Spain during the autumn of 2000. Construction of a new V.O.60 will begin in September 2000, with a scheduled launching at the end of March 2001."

Jan Torstensson has been named project manager within SEB. Marketing Manager Ingrid Jansson is a member of the board of directors of the syndicate company, which also constitutes the board for the project.

The Volvo Ocean Race, formerly known as The Whitbread, is the world's most challenging sailing race and most demanding team sport, but it is also one of the great adventures of our times. It pits human capacity against nature's most extreme forces, and this has helped to make the Race one of the world's greatest media events in the sports field. The special character of the Race is one of the reasons why participation attracts so much attention. Attention in Europe will now increase as a result of the inclusion of four European port stop-overs, and because a large number of European syndicates will probably participate. Thanks to modern communications technology, the Race will have greater exposure than ever before, notably through increased global TV exposure and increasingly efficient Internet communications.