Swedish trio awarded the Argentum Award 2018

An innovative master’s thesis that examines how the private equity model can create value for listed companies, received Argentum’s annual award of NOK 20,000 for the best thesis in the Nordics.

This year’s winners are Linnéa Ekroth, Debbie Fellmerk and Filiph Nilsson with their thesis “Applying the Private Equity Model in Another Organizational Setting – A Study of Nordic Firms”.

─ The private equity model has proven very successful for private equity funds, so our hypothesis was that the model would create value also for listed companies, explains this year’s winners.

The students analysed 16 listed companies in the Nordics that have applied common private equity value creation drivers, such as a decentralized ownership structure, knowledge transfers and operational enhancements.

─ The paper is innovative and highlights that the practices favoured by private equity can be applied to other forms of organizations to create value. The paper meticulously conducts the empirical analysis and provides supporting evidence, says Carsten Bienz and Kyle Lee from the Norwegian School of Economics and members of this year’s jury.

Higher profitability than its peers

The trio wrote the thesis while studying for a master’s degree in finance at Stockholm School of Economics in 2017. They initially got interested in the topic after discussing two American companies that applied PE strategies with Per Strömberg, Centennial Professor of Finance at SSE.

─ We then identified similar Nordic companies and found that they have a higher profitability than their peers and create above stock market value for their shareholders. The development is driven by the application of value-creating strategies traditionally employed in PE, says Debbie Fellmerk.

Fancy a future in private equity

─ Since we worked as a trio, we were able to analyse a broader topic and dig deeper into the research question and analysis. The thesis is both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis, whereas most master’s theses use only one of these methods, says Linnéa Ekroth.

The winners graduated from SSE in the spring of 2018. Debbie and Linnéa now work as management consultants in Germany and Sweden, respectively, whereas Filip has moved to London where he works in investment banking. When asked about their future career ambitions they have a clear goal: They all see themselves working in the private equity industry.

Argentum would like to thank everyone who submitted their thesis for the Argentum Award 2018 and congratulate this year’s winners.

Read more about Argentum’s annual award.