Ownership Philosophy

HomeApproachOwnership Philosophy

A Different Kind of Owner and Investor

Axel Johnson has a long-term perspective that allows us to do business and build businesses in a way that is consistent with our values.

Ownership Philosophy

Family company owned and governed by fourth and fifth generation of the Johnson family investing our own money. No external parties or limited partners.

Bill Stone, CEO of Mountain Lumber, at Axel Johnson Inc.’s annual leadership conference.

Investment Context

Co-owners. We are strongly committed to our company’s management teams and work together to build the best company we can. We provide counsel, decision support, and experienced resources to committed leadership teams running the business day-to-day.

Value Creation Strategy

Build great companies based on long-term competitive advantage. When needed, periodically inject new capital to provide access to new opportunities.

Following Axel Johnson's initial investment in Cadence, we invested additional growth capital in the company to fund new equipment and R&D services.

Return expectations

Consistent and sector appropriate return on capital over time. Tolerant of year-to-year fluctuations and reinvestment for long-term growth. A balance between asset appreciation and cash yield when warranted.

Governance Provisions

Focused on co-ownership and alignment of mutual interests – both risks and opportunities. Where minority ownership is involved, simple governance principles to ensure reasoned and rational joint decision making on the issues that really matter.

Axel Johnson holds a minority position in Walk2Campus. Pictured above is Matt King, Founder & CEO of Walk2Campus.

Axel Johnson has been an owner of Sprague Energy since 1971.

Time Horizon

Indefinite. No structure or obligation to sell a business in a certain time frame. We believe in continuing to own and invest in businesses as long as we are the best owner for the company.

Capitalization Approach

Appropriate and conservative use of debt. We do not believe that using excessive leverage is a real means of creating great companies.