Difko is founded....
Difko was founded in 1976 at a time when the Danish business sector was plagued by high interest rates and was suffering from the general lack of capital for investment.
Difko and the Danish Investment Foundation began life with the founding of a partnership - "A.p.S. af 15.2.1976". The company had 20 founding members, each of whom invested DKK 5,000. The purpose of the company was to form an organization that could raise capital from salaried employees and the self-employed for investment in the Danish corporate sector.
A few months later, "A.p.S af 15.2.1976" incorporated the Danish Investment Foundation and donated DKK 5,000,- as a gift to the Danish Investment Foundation. The mission of the partnership was partly to act as a financial safety net for the Danish Investment Foundation, and partly to deal in saleable projects which could then be taken over by the Danish Investment Foundation and sold to investors as shares.
The projects were sold as shares in limited partnerships in which the investors were jointly liable for company operations. The name of the first company was K/S Difko 1. Being somewhat easier to say, Difko stands for Danish Investment Foundation Companies.
The three founders:
Knud Larsen P.G. Jensen Niels Åge Bjerre
The first project
The investment foundation quickly found its first project. This was a contract with ship builders B&W for delivery of a vessel which a subsidiary in the B&W Group itself wished to lease on a 13 year contract. The financing for the vessel which cost DKK 72m was to be raised by selling shares. Two years were set aside to sell the shares and right to the end there was some uncertainty as to whether sufficient investors would sign up. But by early 1978, all 1,000 shares in K/S Difko 1 had been sold. Shortly after, Danish Investment Foundation was in a position to sell K/S Difko 2. The asset was a vessel of the same type as the first and it was also leased by B&W on a 13 year contract.
K/S Difko 3 and K/S Difko 4 followed soon after and up to 1980/81, Danish Investment Foundation started a total of 16 companies. For all of them, the capital came from the sale of shares. Marketing was first and foremost directed at professional investors and the self employed. But with K/S Difko 16 which owned the M/S Kalle III, partnership shares very much entered the public domain. The vessel sailed the Juelsminde - Kalundborg ferry route and helped make the general public aware of Difko and to give the partnership concept a foothold in Danish society.