Ladies and gentlemen,
It has been a very generous evening so far. We have all come here to celebrate the centennary of SKF - Svenska Kullagerfabriken - which, after a hundred years, is still one of the solid cornerstones of Swedish industry. And I hope it will continue to be so also after this celebration.
When I listened to the CEO of Volvo, Mr Leif Johansson, I reflected over the fact that already as a Crown Prince I payed my first visit to SKF. This was 37 years ago, in 1970! After that I have continued to come across the company, in many places around the world. One occasion that still stands out in my mind is Italy, where I was allowed to test one of the more advanced products of SKF : the very first car that was fully « by-wire « driven. I tell you, that was a challenge !
SKF is among a handful of Swedish companies that stand out as a pioneer, and today also veteran, on the European industrial scene of the 20th century. SKF belongs to a group of industries that have been built around a Swedish invention of worldwide importance and reputation. A significant reason for the success of SKF is no doubt the early international expansion of the company. It went global long before the word even existed in its modern sense. Already after a decade SKF was manufacturing in five countries and had sales organizations in eighteen. Quite extraordinary at that time!
But the global actor SKF is also a traditional Swede, hard-working, low-key, tough and successful.
Today, on the centennary of Svenska Kullagerfabriken, SKF, I wish to express my admiration and warmest congratulations on what has been accomplished this far.
But I also want to forward to everyone in the company my very best wishes and hopes for the future. There are many new stars in the industrial sky and the competition is tough. It takes know-how and fighting spirit to continue to develop in the quick pace that industry is using today.
This evening has been sparkling so far. We have all enjoyed a delicious dinner, great company and generous hospitality. I am sure that you all agree that the one hundred years of management of this brilliant invention and the hard work of SKF have been succesful, and I feel that we all look forward to a bright future for the company.
Please join me in a final toast for SKF.
Thank you, good luck and