Coastline 2010–2011

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COASTLINE L I F E A N D B U S I N E S S O N T H E F I N N I S H W E S T C O A S T 2 0 1 0 – 2 0 11

The new power of Ostrobothnia The epicentre of Finnish wind power on the rise

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Business review: Close-up of the region’s export companies

Connect renewable power to the grid?

Electricity generated by water, sun and wind is most abundant in remote areas like mountains, deserts or far out at sea. ABB’s leading power and automation technologies help renewable power reach about 70 million people by integrating it into electrical grids, sometimes over vast distances. Our effort to harness renewable energy is making power networks smarter, and helping to protect the environment and fight climate change.

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“One   reason for business thriving in the region may be the Ostrobothnian tradition of taking responsibility for one’s duties.”

Every reason for optimism DEAR READER, What you’re holding in your hands is compelling evidence of the strong belief that Ostrobothnian companies have in their future. When we began to work on this edition of Coastline, the economy looked far from rosy, but companies in the region still showed great interest in publishing a new magazine. In addition to genuinely believing in their own abilities, Ostrobothnian entrepreneurs have an international perspective that helps them view changes in a wider context. Understanding the big picture makes it easier to deal with changes – and perhaps even benefit from them. What makes the entrepreneurial spirit in Ostrobothnia so powerful is that it isn’t restricted to those who start their own business, but is also shown by others. When the staff grasps why changes are needed, companies find it easier to ride out the storm. And even if Finns aren’t generally known for their loquacity, Ostrobothnian business leaders have a winning style of communicating, which involves interactive discourse rather than the presentation of ready decisions. One reason for business thriving in the region may be the Ostrobothnian tradition of taking responsibility for one’s duties. The combination of responsibility and business-supporting education is a powerful combo. For example, the region’s uppersecondary vocational education tops national statistics with the fewest dropouts, while its university-level education produces world-class project professionals. Studies, too, testify to the Ostrobothnians’ success in international projects. What this all means is that Ostrobothnians have every reason to believe in their future – as do their customers all around the world. Bengt Jansson Editor-in-chief

COASTLINE is regularly published by the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce. Office Runebergsgatan 11, FI-68600 Jakobstad. Tel. +358 6 781 6400, fax +358 6 781 6490, E ­ ditor-in-chief Bengt Jansson Executive editor Anna Jeanne Söderlund Editorial board Bengt Jansson (chairman), Juha Häkkinen, Peter Appel, Petra Nylund, Anna Jeanne Söderlund Project management Botnia Information, Storgatan 15, FI-68600 Jakobstad. Tel. +358 6 781 0702. Editors: Pia Backman, Timo Kankaanpää, Petra Nylund, Johan Svenlin, Anna Jeanne Söderlund. Art director: Glenn Nylund Layout: Annika Lillkvist, Janne Nylund. Translation: Tina Seidel, Nancy Seidel Printing UPC Print, Vaasa On the cover The city of Vaasa is the Finnish mecca for wind power. It is home to a strong and dynamic wind power industry, represented on the cover by Jouko Putkonen from Mervento and Tomi Mäkipelto from EPV. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Guldkusten Ab and the copyright holders, is strictly prohibited. ISSN 1235-6646.

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The creator of ecoluxury Camilla Norrback, the “maestra” Anna-Maria Helsing and the Dudesons, the crazy TV stars – meet them all in Coastline!


Here comes the entrepreneurial future! Ostrobothnia has more companies and entrepreneurs than any other part of Finland. What’s the secret?


There are many reasons for life being happy and business flourishing in Ostrobothnia. We present seven good ones.

COMPANIES PAGE BY PAGE A A.Häggblom 70 Ahola Transport  82 Alholmens Kraft  40 Anvia 81 B Backman-Trummer 52 Baltic Yachts  48 Beamex 54 Best-Hall 65 Boliden Kokkola  60 Botnia-Print 74 C Central Ostrobothnia University   of Applied Sciences  106 Centre for Economic Development,   Transport and the Environment  97 CENTRIA 107 Citec 44 Regional Development Centre Concordia 15 D Dermoshop 63 E EPV Energy  38 Eur-Mark 58 F FineWeld 66

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Finnvera 95 Fluid-Bag 77

Mervento 33 Muova 94

H Hanken School of Economics   and Business Administration  108

N Nautor 46 Nordautomation 61 Novia University of Applied Sciences  105

J JNT 80 K Kalle’s Inn 16 Kaskinen Industrial Park  92 Katternö Group  34 KewaTec Aluboat  49 KIP Infra  89 KIP Service  89 Kokkola Industrial Park  86 KOSEK 15 KWH Group  52 KWH Freeze  52 KWH Mirka  52 KWH Pipe  52 KWH Plast  52

O OMG Kokkola Chemicals  59 Optima 104 Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce  98 OSTP 78 P Port of Jakobstad  90 Port of Kokkola  90 Port of Vaasa  90 Prevex 52

L LKI Käldman  73 Leinolat Group  72

R Rani Plast  68 Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia 100 Regional Council of Ostrobothnia  101 Rettig Värme  56 Rolls-Royce 47 Roschier 84

M M.Rauanheimo 88 Mapromec 43 Maintpartner 89

S Sarins Boats  45 Sasken 55 Sesca Group  50


Wind power is the world’s fastest growing energy sector. The Vaasa region with its strong energy know-how has become the epicentre of wind power in Finland.


Ostrobothnian business and trade are firmly anchored in many sectors. Coastline presents all of the important export companies in the region.


Flourishing business calls for a functional infrastructure. Read about the organisations, universities and polytechnics that provide Ostro­ bothnian companies with an educated workforce and other support.


Matias Sandström

Scancool 76 Scott Health & Safety  71 Snellman 75 Solving 51 The Switch  30 T T-Drill 69 Technology Centre Merinova  24 U University of Vaasa  102 UpCode 57 UPM Pietarsaari  64 V Vaasa Airport Logistics Center  79 Vaasa Parks  29 Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK)  103 Vacon 41 VAKK (Vaasa Adult Education Centre)  109 Valioravinto 62 Vamp 32 VASEK (Vaasa Region Development Company)  15 VEO (Vaasa Engineering Group)  42 Viexpo 96 W Walki Group  67 Wedeco 93 Wärtsilä 36

Coastline is the result of a team effort by the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, the communication agency Botnia Information, the advertising agency Studio PAP and photographer Mats Sandström. Contributors from top left: Juha Häkkinen, Mats Sandström, Petra Nylund, Peter Appel, Johan Svenlin and Timo Kankaanpää. From bottom left: Bengt Jansson, Glenn Nylund and Anna Jeanne Söderlund.

Want to try UpCode? Every company in Coastline has a tag similar to this one on their page, directing you to their website. To use it, please download the UpCode reader at


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Luxury for everyone Your choice of clothes should first and foremost make you feel good. This has been the philosophy of clothes designer Camilla Norrback, born and bred in Jakobstad, ever since she launched her own brand in 1999. Camilla’s passion for design, however, started long before, at the age of twelve, when she got her first sewing machine. While her classmates took off to the stables or to track and field training, Camilla stayed behind to make her own clothes. As a twenty-year-old, she moved to Stockholm to cultivate her talent, and is now conquering Europe, the USA and Japan with an environmentally conscious brand called Camilla Norrback. The Indochine summer collection is characterized by a retro romantic style that takes us back to the Southeast Asia and Europe of the 1930s, when femininity was strongly expressed in clothes. Traces of the 1980s may also be detected in the collection, and understandably so: Camilla Norrback grew up in the golden decade of music videos, with the French band Indochine performing on TV while she worked on her own fashions.

Leading the way

Noolan’s unique clothes collections feature a simple style and lasting design. In the 2008–2009 season, Anna-Maria Helsing was one of three conductors invited to take part in the Allianz Inter­ national Conductors’ Academy, which offers exclusive conductor education in London, with world-renowned tutors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen.

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Anna-Maria Helsing, a rising star among conductors, will be the first woman in Finland to lead a professional orchestra when she takes charge of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra in August 2010. Anna-Maria, born in Munsala, Nykarleby, began her musical career as a violinist at the Jakobstad music school. After returning from her violin studies in Poland, she took over the leadership of the city orchestra. Anna-Maria later changed the violin for the baton and graduated from the Sibelius Academy conducting programme in 2007 with excellent grades. “It will be exciting to conduct the Oulu Symphony Orchestra. It is an ambitious orchestra anxious to become even better, and I’ve always felt good working with them,” says Helsing.

Dude, you are the star Bungee jumping in a car, throwing darts at your friend’s belly and gliding downhill in a shopping cart. That’s what being one of the Dudesons is all about. A childhood friendship that started in skateboarding circles ultimately evolved into a TV series and movies that have spread to over 40 countries. Hailing from Seinäjoki in Finland, the Dudesons have turned their dream into reality, performing tricks, pranks and stunts for millions of people. The cheap hand-held camera has been replaced by more advanced equipment, but the four still exhibit the same old comradeship and joyfulness in everything they do. Pain is part of the game, but never ever do they leave their friend behind. The Dudesons quartet is the epitome of a type of nutti­ ness and stubbornness associated with the Ostrobothnians: if doors don’t open easily, you barge through them. Remember, though, not to try any of this at home.

The Dynamo shows technical prowess

The blades of Windspiral, producing electricity for single-family homes, are made of Finnish pine wood and have a glass fibre coating.

Miniature wind farm at home

The Dudesons are the epitome of nuttiness and stubbornness the Ostrobothnian way.

Never too late to rock It all started with a guitar course at the Vaasa night school and ended in the world’s biggest rock band. The Gubb­ rockarna (“Rocker guys”) is a 30-strong band made up of men in the prime of their lives, who play rock classics from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The band has released seven albums to date, but the high point of their career so far is the Liverpool performance at The Cavern, possibly the world’s best known club. Not that the rockers plan to retire any time soon: their next goal is nothing less than the Abbey Road Studios in London.

How about having your own windmill on the roof? Well, why not. Matti Niemi, Ari Piikkilä and Klaus Berg from Vaasa have a dream: they want to revolutionize the electricity production of single-family homes. In the future, Windspiral, as the trio’s windmill is called, may actually generate more electricity than needed in a single-family home. Commercial production of Windspiral was launched in early 2010, and the creators expect it to be successful. “We have high expectations for this wonderful project. People showed great interest in it even before we launched production,” says Berg. The main advantages of the wooden-bladed windmill are its noiselessness, safety and the greenness of its electricity. Of greatest interest to consumers, however, are the savings it generates. The designers estimate the device’s payback time to be five or six years.

Leo Komarov, a Finnish national team hockey player from Nykarleby, Ostrobothnia, is known for his energetic style that drives his opponents mad. At his 2009 World Championship debut in Switzerland, Leo Komarov became a favourite of the Finnish fans, as he bravely tackled world stars, showing no awe of their greater physical size. Leo was born in the then-Soviet city of Narva, but moved early on with his family to Nykarleby, where his father Alexander played as a professional for the local soccer team, NIK. In the 2009–2010 season, Komarov followed his Russian roots and transferred from Pelicans, a team in the Finnish hockey league, to Dynamo Moscow, which is a member of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The Dynamo coach, Sergei Kotov, has encouraged Komarov to further develop his technical prowess and goal-scoring skills. “We’re lucky to have Komarov and his magic hockey stick on the team,” said Kotov after a match-deciding shot by Leo.

The 23-year-old whirlwind began his hockey career in the Munsala IK, was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006 and now performs an offensive role in his new team, Dynamo Moscow.

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The spirit of by anna jeanne söderlund & petra nylund

Ostrobothnians are clearly not afraid to jump into the unknown and start their own businesses – after all, the region has more companies and entrepreneurs than any other part of Finland. What is more, exceptionally many of the businesses are export-oriented. So what might explain this phenomenon?

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Mats Sandström


Here comes the future! Seventeen-year-olds Malin Westerlund, Conny Nymark, Ida Rebers, Kim Blomqvist and Sofia Seiplax got the chance to run their own businesses in school. “Great fun” is their comment.

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The teens are fully responsible for their financial undertakings, and their businesses are expected to make a profit.


ow about entrepreneurial studies at school? In the small coastal town of Nykarleby 17-year-old upper secondary school pupils have been able to study entrepreneurship in both theory and practice for nearly 20 years. It is no accident that the school, in this respect a pioneer in Finland, is located in the country’s entrepreneurially most active region. Teenagers show great interest in setting up shop, with around half the Nykarleby upper secondary school pupils planning to attend the course. “It’s great fun. We benefit from what we learn and earn some money on the side,” says Conny Nymark. During the course, all participants run their own company. Conny chose to launch a firm that produces men’s underwear with special print. His

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classmates have opted for companies that, for example, import jewellery from Ghana, make playing cards with local motifs or offer catering service. “The pupils take care of everything: they develop a good business idea, handle marketing and sales and ultimately present the results,” Jessica Lindgren

explains Ulf Sourander, who teaches the course. The company types have been specially adapted for educational purposes, but the teens are still fully responsible for their financial undertakings, and their businesses are expected to make a profit. A quick survey among the pupils shows that around 50 per cent come from entrepreneurial families and slightly over half could consider becoming entrepreneurs. Independent and bold

“People living on the coast have been farmers and fishermen. In other words, they have been entrepreneurs for centuries,” says Kjell Herberts.

People growing up in the region do not have trouble creating work for themselves. This is also backed by statistics: Ostrobothnia has the largest number of companies per capita on the mainland of Finland. But how

Mats Sandström

Jessica Lindgren

Arto Alho’s company has its roots in agriculture. Mats Sandström

Evert Aartsen found a composite company when moving to Finland.

does one explain this phenomenon? Why does entrepreneurship seem to be such an inherent part of the Ostrobothnian spirit? Let’s hear what Kjell Herberts, Sociologist at the Åbo Akademi University, has to say about this. “Ostrobothnians consider themselves to be independent, bold and capable of handling things on their own. To be an entrepreneur, you need an unwavering belief in yourself. Such a belief becomes self-enforcing.” Herberts also cites historical and geographical reasons for the phenomenon. “People living along the coast have earned a living as small-scale farmers and fishermen for centuries – in other words, they have worked as entrepreneurs since time immemorial. The

Half of the students come from entrepreneurial families and an even greater share consider becoming entrepreneurs themselves. Ida Rebers, Conny Nymark, Malin Westerlund, Kim Blomqvist and Sofia Seiplax took part in the course for young entrepreneurs.

ROOTS IN AGRICULTURE. “Entrepreneurship is in the blood of Ostrobothnians. My grandfather went by horse to Vaasa to sell butter at the market place,” says Arto Alho, who also chose the entrepreneurial path. After running a construction company for several years, he found a new niche. “I took care of a farm on the side and noticed that many of my colleagues needed wells. From there, it was a short step to begin welding plastic products.” Today Alho’s company, Plastweld, makes moulded plastic components using advanced rotation technology. The customer base ranges from boat businesses to waste companies.

COMPOSITE FOR ALL PURPOSES. When Evert Aartsen, a Dutchman, followed his Finnish wife to Ostrobothnia he adopted the region’s traditions and established a company. Charger Composites makes sea kayaks, sailboats and other composite products. “I used to be a professional water skier, and since my father-in-law owned a boatyard, this seemed the natural thing to do. The region is full of entrepreneurs: whatever your need, you can always find a small specialist company that is able to deliver it.” Aartsen now focuses on supplying composite products to several sectors. The company already makes components for rally cars and lorries.

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It isn’t possible to remain unique very long. If you get a good business idea, someone is bound to copy it. THE CHINESE LIKE LAPLAND CHEESE. Why are Finns the only ones who eat “bread cheese”, the traditional Ostrobothnian delicacy? Jukkola Food, a cheese producer, puzzled over this question a decade ago and finally decided to go international. “This type of cheese is difficult to export, since it is fresh produce and keeps for only two weeks. A few years ago, however, we launched cooperation with a dairy in Latvia, and are currently negotiating for local production in many other European countries,” says Veli-Matti Jukkola, Managing Director. Consumer surveys show that the mild cheese satisfies even the Chinese palate. The product has been christened Lapland cheese abroad, since the concept of Lapland proved to be much more familiar than that of Finland in other parts of the world. Jukkola Food is the embodiment of a family company, with VeliMatti’s brother, parents and uncle all working at the company. “As a young boy I was determined never to work for the family business, but as I grew older, it became the obvious choice.”

Mats Sandström

Veli-Matti Jukkola brings Ostrobothnian “bread cheese” to the world.

HOT TUBS FOR THE WHOLE WORLD. The tradition of bathing in wooden tubs originated in Canada, but has made a big breakthrough in the Nordic countries. Ole Sten now wants to introduce hot tubs to the rest of the world. “Our home market is too small – and too seasonal in nature.” Sten has worked as an entrepreneur for nearly 30 years, but hot tubs are a relatively new field for him. “I myself like to bathe in a tub, and that gave me the idea. One of my sons is a carpenter, the other one is an engineer, and they immediately got down to product development.” Sten’s company, SpaDealers, has made big investments in quality, for example, by using heat-treated wood and lining the inside of the tubs with a transparent elastic coating. The product range also includes several luxury models with bubble and massage. 12  coastline 2010

Jessica Lindgren

Ole Sten wants to introduce hot tubs to the whole world. His company SpaDealers has invested in quality and luxury tub models.

Jessica Lindgren

Linda Tallroth-Paananen

region was never characterized by big estates or a division into masters and servants. Instead, it has been populated by independent individuals. The proximity to the sea is another obvious explanation: in former times, oceans and seas were important links and trade facilitators.” Copying the neighbour

“Ostrobothnians are used to getting along on their own,” says Peter Boström.

Markus Myllymäki has always wantd to become an entrepeneur.

PARQUET ONLINE. Markus Myllymäki founded his first company as a 16-year-old. Besides taking care of school work he earned money by designing home pages for companies. A summer job at a wooden-floor manufacturer gave him the idea for his current company, Novafloor. “We are Finland’s biggest online parquet dealer. Since we don’t use middlemen to sell products to customers we can keep our prices competitive,” explains Myllymäki. Now 25, Markus runs his own company, which has four employees and a turnover of €1.5 million. Novafloor imports many special floors that are not available elsewhere. To actually see what they are getting, customers can order free parquet samples online.

“Setting up my own company has always seemed the natural way to go, since I come from a family of entrepreneurs. The fact that parquet became the company’s focus is more of an accident. I have many ideas for developing the business. This, for me, is a lifetime project rather than an investment. I have no plans to sell it off.”

The easy access to oceans also encouraged tens of thousands of Ostrobothnians to emigrate to the USA in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who returned came back with new languages and other skills. One of the returning emigrants was John Wickström, who is often called the father of the big energy cluster in Vaasa. Wickström had learned to build engines in the USA and founded a motor factory as soon as he returned home. World-class engines are still manufactured in Vaasa today. Wickström’s factory, launched in 1906, soon got many local competitors – another characteristic of Ostrobothnia. “It isn’t possible to remain unique very long here. If you get a good business idea, someone is bound to copy it,” says Herberts. What this means is that entrepreneurship in the region is not based on strong individualism alone, but also on a type of collectivism in which people are eager to imitate their neighbours. This has led to clusters of same-sector companies. It is true of greenhouse farming in southern Ostrobothnia and boatbuilding and fur farming (which was also imported from the USA) in the north. The Vaasa region houses numerous companies in the energy sector, which form a cluster that is considered to be the biggest of its kind in the Nordic countries. Spin-offs in the energy sector

OPPOSITE PAGE. Wärtsilä is today the leading supplier of flexible power. Above the Barrick power.

“Companies rarely emerge from nothing. Entrepreneurs often get ideas from neighbours and family or have acquired skills and competence that form the foundation for a new business. There are many examples of companies being born out of other enterprises,” says Peter Boström, himself an entrepreneur and a partial

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The myth of the lone, tough Ostrobothnian entrepeneur may be eroding. These days, success calls for networking skills. Mats Sandström

LUXURY LINEN. Clothes manufacture has become less common in Finland, but designer Marja Rak is not afraid to swim against the current. Ever since 2000, she and her husband Jonas Rak have been working slowly but surely to build their Noolan brand, which stands for timeless wool and linen clothing. 14  coastline 2010

“We retain the same basic collection and simply make small changes to it,” says Marja Rak. Noolan has approximately 50 retailers in the Nordic countries, and the goal is to gradually expand to other European countries. The company has nearly doubled its turnover every year since the launch.

Marja and Jonas Rak have created their own brand Noolan, which stands for timeless wool and linen clothing.

“I take the same approach to business development as I do to my collections: growth must be slow and controlled. I’m not in a hurry and also want to enjoy other aspects of life,” says Rak.

owner and board member of many companies. The powerful energy cluster around Vaasa is an excellent example of how the region’s energy competence has given rise to many flourishing firms in the past 20 years. One of them is Vacon, a listed company, which has manufactured variablespeed AC drives since 1993. One of its founders, Veijo Karppinen, believes the region’s economic structure makes it easy to establish new companies. “It is easier to set up an energy firm than a paper mill, which is why spin-offs have been so common in the Vaasa region. In addition, smaller towns have fewer jobs, which also lowers the threshold for starting your own business. I don’t know if Vacon would have come into being in, say, Helsinki, where people change jobs more frequently, making it harder to form tightly knit teams.” Team spirit Since Karppinen left his post as Managing Director of Vacon, he has been investing time and money to help new companies in the cleantech sector through his own investment outfit, VNT Management. The importance of a good team is highlighted time after time. “When we choose companies to invest in, we put strong emphasis on the team. The members must complement each other and show great trust in one another. Lone entrepreneurs may also succeed, but they must at least recruit dependable co-workers.” The myth of the lone, tough Ostro­bothnian entrepreneur may be eroding, though. These days, success calls for good cooperation skills and networking abilities. Nevertheless, toughness is still alive and well when it comes to surviving tough times. “It’s not for me to say whether we ride out recessions better than others,” says Boström, “but what I do know is that entrepreneurs in this region are incredibly hardy. They are willing to fight to the very end. What also characterizes Ostrobothnians is the determination not to be a burden on society: we’re used to getting along on our own.”

Business service points VASEK, KOSEK and Concordia offer help to both foreign and Finnish companies.

“Many spin-offs have emerged in the energy sector in Vaasa during the last twenty years,” says Veijo Karppinen.

■  Whether you want to start a business in Ostrobothnia, are looking for business partners or need advice on how to expand your existing business, the three regional development companies can provide help. VASEK, KOSEK and Concordia are all publicly owned regional companies, with the mission to promote business life in their home regions. VASEK concentrates on the Vaasa region, KOSEK on the Kokkola region, whereas Concordia is located in the Jakobstad region. “We want to to help the business life in Ostrobothnia to build networks and cooperate,” says Niclas Dahl, Managing director of Concordia. “We offer companies whatever information they need. In addition to business consultation, we carry out different development projects

and market the region,” says Pekka Haapanen, Managing Director of VASEK. “We can, for instance, find suitable premises for both Finnish and foreign companies. We offer foreign visitors the best and easiest way to establish a foothold in the region,” says Jonne Sandberg, Managing Director of KOSEK. VASEK – Vaasa Region Development Company + 358 6 317 7600 KOSEK – Kokkolanseudun Kehitys Ltd Tel. +358 6 824 3400 Concordia – Regional Development Centre Concordia Tel. +358 10 239 7550 Jessica Lindgren

Starting a business? Need a business partner or just a piece of advice? Niclas Dahl, Concordia, Jonne Sandberg, KOSEK, and Pekka Haapanen, VASEK, are the ones to help you.

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Wilderness w Kalle’s Inn in the Kvarken archipelago offers luxury and customized retreats in a unique world heritage surrounding.

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Mats Sandström

w ith class The sauna is the traditional Finnish place to do serious business. At Kalle’s Inn the sauna becomes a sophisticated and relaxing experience – for many foreign visitors a unique memory.

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The outdoor hot tubs are heated with wood and offer a pleasant and surprising complement to the sauna. You could easily spend hours here...


n the Replot bridge, Finland’s longest, you already become aware of the sea. The west coast archipelago with its islands and islets opens up before your feet. You continue as far west as you can get by car, through small villages, past shrinking meadows and through woods with stunted trees. When the land ends, just down the bend from a small fishing harbour, you have reached your destination. You are only a short car ride from Vaasa and an even shorter boat trip from the nearest Swedish islands. From here you can spot the lights of four light houses and during dark winter evenings sense the lights from the closest Swedish cities. That is, if you can be bothered about distant city lights while spellbound by the aurora borealis. Five star traditions The coastline of the Gulf of Bothnia is spotted with thousands of small summer houses, most of them pri-

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Mats Sandström

Anna Watkins. Maybe it takes some British roots and some experience abroad to see the business potential of the Ostrobothnian coastal nature? Both Margareta Morgan and Anna Watkins have backgrounds working for international five star hotels. The business idea of Kalle’s Inn is to combine traditional with international, wilderness with world-class service and exclusivity with an intimate nature experience. “We receive 10 to 14 groups per week, but never too many to prevent us from guaranteeing privacy and exclusivity for every group,” says Anna Watkins, who takes care of Sales and Marketing.

When the Kvarken region was accepted to the UNESCO world natural heritage list in 2006 the local tourism industry got an uplift. The unique nature offers visitors several opportunities for interesting activities.

vately owned, but the area is not used for large-scale tourism. Some might call it bad marketing – the Ostrobothnians are not known for bragging about their beautiful heritage. The positive exception is Kalle’s Inn, a family enterprise owned and run by Margareta Morgan, her Welsh husband Paul Morgan and their daughter

Experiences in the world heritage Kalle’s Inn cooperates with several local companies offering tour services and nature experiences. Local fishermen organize fishing tours or boat trips to the nearby light house at Valas­saaret and a tour guide

Mats Sandström

There are many beautiful dining areas to choose from at Kalle’s Inn. The top of the light house style sauna building offers the best view. The kitchen serves international cuisine prepared of local products. At Kalle’s Inn the menu reflects its closeness to the environment.

Mats Sandström

Mats Sandström

service offers survival courses and hikes. Here the business retreat or conference can start for example with canoeing, a snow mobile safari, ice fishing, skiing or a kick sledge tour on the ice. The nature tourism branch in the area got a good push forward four years ago when the Kvarken archipelago was added to the unesco world natural heritage list. The region is unique for its land uplift and the geographical formations caused by the last ice age. The land pressed down under the ice some 10,000 years ago is slowly rising from the sea with a speed of up to one metre per century. The constantly changing landscape creates a home for unique flora and wildlife. The taste of the archipelago The real speciality of Kalle’s Inn is the traditional smoke sauna. The heating of a smoke sauna takes a full day, but the result is a soft, humid heat and a pleasant relaxation that will make it hard to ever bathe in an electric

sauna again. The sauna facilities of Kalle’s Inn combined with the rugged natural surroundings and the varying weather conditions create a special experience in every season. Nature comes close in many different ways: You can watch the stars while lying in a hot tub outside one of the smoke saunas on a winter night, watch the

Anna Watkins (to the left) and Margareta Morgan have a sense for details. By the log fire guests can relax for a drink before dinner.

ice flowing seaward whilst dining up in the lighthouse on a spring evening, or marvel at the summer sunset from the western dining room. Not least you will find the ultimate archipelago experience on your plate. The proximity of the sea and nature in general have a big impact on the choice of produce used in the menu. The fish is caught by local fishermen just outside the premises and the berries and mushrooms are harvested by neighbours. Local cooperation also ensures high quality. “We encourage, for example, our harvesters to wait until after the first frost before pressing the seabuckthorn berries, as this will ensure a deeper colour and a more intense taste,” says Managing Director ­Margareta Morgan. elli flén __________ Kalle’s Inn, Söderudden Sales office: Tel. +358 6 352 6364 coastline 2010  19

What makes Ostrobothnia

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special Ostrobothnia has always been characterized by an entrepreneurial spirit and international orientation. There are many reasons for life being good and business flourishing in the region.

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Entrepreneurs through thick and thin

The lucky sevens of Ostrobothnia

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■  Your typical Ostrobothnian won’t sit back and wait for job offers. People in the region have always been ready to employ themselves, as witnessed today by the low unemployment rate and high business density. Ostrobothnia has far more companies per person than Finland on average. Many of the firms are small or medium-sized, but the region is also home to many businesses that have grown to be big and international. In the past centuries, the region’s business activity was manifested in great waves of emigration – first to America and then to Sweden. Many emigrants later returned to their home region, bringing with them new ideas and views. They often set up companies that gave them the opportunity to make good use of their new skills.

Free education for all ■  Finland has the world’s best school system – as repeatedly shown by the OECD Pisa survey. Nowhere else in the world do ninth-graders perform as well in reading and mathematical literacy and problemsolving tests. What also sets the Finnish school system apart from many others is that both comprehensive and university education is virtually free of charge. Ostrobothnians have always placed great value on education, and the region has the highest number of university places per inhabitants in all of Finland.

The biggest energy cluster in the Nordic countries

U   NESCO world heritage

■  The Vaasa region is home to the biggest concentration of energy-sector businesses in the Nordic countries. The cluster manufactures and designs a variety of products, such as engines, electrical systems, power plants, frequency converters and wind power components. With total revenues of several billion euros and more than 10,000 employees, the energy cluster is a real driving force in the region. At its best, an industry cluster can work as a magnet that attracts new companies, while also creating synergies. The Vaasa energy cluster has thrived in the past 20 years, as many new companies have sprung up and cooperation between companies has grown closer. The future also looks good, with the climate debate boosting the demand for energy-efficient solutions.

■  Many regions gladly boast about their unique natural environment, but in Ostrobothnia this is justified by hard facts. In 2006, the land uplift phenomenon in the Kvarken archipelago earned the area a place on the Unesco World Heritage List. Over ten thousand years ago, all of northern Europe was covered by huge masses of ice that were at their thickest in Ostrobothnia. When the ice melted, the land underneath began to lift from the sea – and continues to do so today. The uplift equals around one metre in a century and is one of the fastest worldwide. The phenomenon gives rise to several square kilometres of new land every year and keeps the coastal region under constant change, as bays grow over, seashores recede and new islands emerge from the sea. An excursion around the World Heritage region offers a fascinating insight into the impact that the ice age still has on the landscape.

International for centuries ■  Ostrobothnians have never been afraid to explore other regions – after all, the sea was the highway in the past. In the late 19th century, thousands and thousands of Ostrobothnians emigrated to America. Today, the international orientation is best seen in the business world. The region’s companies are exceptionally active exporters: some areas export as much as 75 per cent of their industrial production. Ostrobothnia has also stood up for the immigration of workforce, which has led to a high proportion of foreigners in the region. Vaasa is Finland’s most international town after the capital, Helsinki. Nearly five per cent of the city’s inhabitants come from other countries, representing a total of 107 nationalities.


Pertti Malinen

The world’s premier sailing yachts ■  Some of the world’s biggest and most luxurious yachts are built in Ostrobothnia. The region’s boat cluster comprises dozens of companies, whose offering ranges from sailing yachts to robust motorboats. Many of the brands are well known abroad for their high quality. It is no accident that much of the Finnish boat building industry is found in this region: in the past, anyone launching into the world from Ostrobothnia needed a boat.

Many languages are better than just one ■  Not only the sea, but also language skills have made it easy for Ostrobothnians to head out into the world. Since the region is bilingual, people here routinely use languages other than their mother tongue. Half of the inhabitants have Swedish and the other half Finnish as their mother tongue. Seeing as many of the companies run international operations, English also has a strong presence in the everyday lives of people.

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Is the answer to climate change blowing in the wind? At least to some extent, yes: wind power is today the world’s fastest growing energy sector. The Vaasa region with its strong energy know-how has become the epicentre of Finnish wind power. Several new companies have emerged lately, and many wind power parks are being planned along the windy coast.


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Katrin Solansky

Many strong wind power companies are established in the region. Mats Sandström


nyone who has visited Vaasa knows it enjoys more sunny hours than any other town in Finland, but that it is also an uncommonly windy place. Since the predominant wind direction is from the southwest, the wind blows unobstructed all the way from Sweden. While residents may not find this phenomenon all too amusing, it is a godsend to the wind power sector. The west coast from Vaasa in the north to the city of Pori in the south is the target of many a Finnish wind farm plan. The wind power parks planned along the Gulf of Bothnia have an overall power output of over 2,000 MW. “What also makes the region attractive to wind power is the exceptionally shallow sea, which is conducive to cost-effective offshore farms,” says Kari Luoma, Programme Director at the Merinova technology centre. One of Merinova’s main tasks is to promote energy technology in the Vaasa region. More and more of the projects handled by Merinova are related to wind power. The centre has, for example, performed wind and sea depth measurements, which are used to find the optimum location for wind turbines. Other projects involve tests of battery technologies for energy storage, as well as the protection of electricity distribution networks.

“The strong presence of new technology is very positive for the wind power sector in Vaasa,” say Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma and Kari Luoma at the Merinova technology centre.

Strong traditions

A host of wind power The large number of wind farms planned in and around Vaasa is not the only factor contributing to the town’s status as the wind power 26  coastline 2010

mecca of Finland. The numerous wind power-related companies established in the region are at least as important in this respect. Vaasa has long housed the biggest Nordic cluster of energy technology competence. Many of the cluster companies set up in recent years have, in fact, focused on wind power. Examples include The Switch, a rapidly growing company that built a new plant in Vaasa in 2008 to provide solutions for modern wind power production. The company’s main motivation for setting up shop in the region was the solid competence and dense network of suppliers found in the area. Mervento, another wind power solutions provider, also launched operations in Vaasa in 2009. “This region is clearly attractive to new wind power technology companies due to our strong traditions in the energy sector,” says Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma, Managing Director of Merinova.

Merinova is the national coordinator of the Energy Technology Cluster Programme.

In addition to the newly established companies, the region’s long traditions in wind power products are also alive and well. The leading wind power supplier in the world, ABB, has a strong presence in the Vaasa region. Among other things, ABB supplies generators, transformers and other equipment to the wind power sector. The company supplies generators to every fifth wind power turbine globally. Many other well-established power companies in the region also supply products used in the wind power sector. Vacon’s variable-speed AC drives,

Wind power is today the world’s fastest growing energy sector. And the Vaasa region with its strong energy know-how has become the epicentre of Finnish wind power.

Companies in the Vaasa region that offer wind power solutions ABB Manufactures motors, generators, frequency converters, transformers, low and medium voltage equipment, power transmission and distribution systems, earth and sea cables for the wind power sector.

Vacon Manufactures variable-speed AC drives used in modern wind turbines.

EPV Energy Carries out wind power projects along the Ostrobothnian coast.

VEO Produces electrification and automation solutions for wind power.

Mervento Supplies direct-drive multi-megawatt wind power solutions.

VNT Management Invests in cleantech companies.

The Switch Supplies wind power solutions based on permanent magnet generators and direct drive.

Vamp Produces protection relays and arc flash protection, which are used by the wind power sector.

Wärtsilä Supplies backup energy for the wind power sector in the form of power plants.

Planned wind power parks on the Ostrobothnian coast


The wind power parks planned along the Gulf of Bothnia have an overall power output of over 2,000 MW.


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Vaasa is home to the biggest concentration of energy technology competence in the Nordic countries. for example, are a vital component of modern windmills, while VEO’s switchgears, transformers and protection systems can be found in over 500 wind turbines around the world. New technology “The strong presence of new technology is very positive for the wind power sector in Vaasa. There aren’t all that many companies in the world that can deliver wind power solutions based on direct drive,” says Luoma. Direct drive, the latest in wind power technology, makes traditional gearboxes superfluous. What are used instead are permanent magnet generators steered by frequency converters. The price of permanent magnet generators has dropped recently, leading to a huge increase in demand. “The new technology has numerous benefits. For example, the windmills aren’t as noisy and they don’t break as easily,” explains Luoma. Strong traditions It is no surprise that many wind power companies have chosen to locate in the Vaasa region, considering its immense energy technology know-how accumulated over several decades. The two biggest companies in the energy cluster – Wärtsilä and ABB – moved to the area for strategic reasons during the war, over 60 years ago. The past two decades have been a golden age for the energy cluster, which has seen the emergence of many new businesses thanks to the region’s solid competence and the great global demand for energy-saving solutions. Older, well-established companies have also enjoyed good growth, and cooperation between businesses has become closer. The Vaasa energy cluster now encompasses over 100 companies and directly employs some 10,000 people. c __________ Technology Centre Merinova Tel. +358 6 282 8200 Business sector: Development of energy technology: research and development projects, business development and consulting, incubator activities and promotion of innovations. Turnover: €2.5 million Employees: 20 28  coastline 2010

TOP. Wärtsilä is a leading company in the Vaasa energy cluster. Among other things, the company designs power plants. BOTTOM. ABB has been actively developing the wind power sector for over 20 years. The company is the largest supplier of wind power components in the world.

THE ENERGY CLUSTER IN A NUTSHELL Vaasa is home to the biggest concentration of energy technology competence in the Nordic countries. In addition to wind power solutions, the cluster companies manufacture and design many other power-related products.

Companies: Over 100 Employees: 10,000 Overall turnover: €4 billion Export: 70% Main products: engines, power plants, electric transmission and distribution systems, frequency converters, wind power applications, technical design and consultancy Further information:

T  he heart of the energy cluster Vaasa Airport Park is the fastest growing Nordic business park.


ccording to a study by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, Ostrobothnia was Finland’s most successful region in 2006–2007 in terms of company revenues, employment growth and net migration. Were one to give an address for the Vaasa energy cluster, it would undoubtedly be the Vaasa Airport Park. The rapidly expanding site houses most of the region’s energy companies. “The number of employees has risen from 1,300 in the early 2000s to 3,400 today,” says Ulla Mäki-­ Lohiluoma, Managing Director of Vaasa Parks. No other Nordic business park can match the growth seen in Vaasa. Investments made in new office and production facilities in the past decade total 100 million euros. The steep growth can mainly be attribVaasa Parks Tel. 358 6 282 8228 Business sector: Development of business parks, property and facility management, marketing and renting of business premises Turnover: €5 million Employees: 5


uted to the success that energy cluster companies have enjoyed throughout the new millennium. Excellent logistics The area was reserved for business use back in the 1970s, but the first energy companies did not move in until the late 1980s and early 1990s. Encouraged by requests from companies, Vaasa Parks was founded in 2000, and it began to construct office and production facilities in Vaasa Airport Park. “Listed companies don’t want to own buildings. There was a clear social need for this type of a service,” says Mäki-Lohiluoma. The business park’s location near the airport is a logistically brilliant solution. Other connections also work well, including special transport routes to the port. Thanks to the nearby motorway, the centre of Vaasa is only 7 minutes away. The 100-hectare surface transport hub slated for construction near the airport will further improve logistics, as will the future air logistics hub in Umeå, Sweden, on the opposite side of the gulf. “The recession has not hit air traffic as much here as it has elsewhere in

Vaasa Parks includes, for example, the Futura I-III and Powergate office buildings and the Switch factory. The business park is located right next to the airport.

Finland, which is a good indication of the region’s active business life. In late 2009, the Vaasa airport was Finland’s fourth most trafficked in terms of passenger numbers.” Room for more Although the area has grown rapidly, there is still available land. “We can quickly build customized solutions for companies if need be. We can also find suitable premises in other business parks,” says MäkiLohiluoma. Vaasa Parks works with real estate owners to market two other business sites: the Science Park located near the city’s universities, as well as the old and famous Strömberg Park. “Today, there are 10,000 jobs in the Vaasa energy cluster, and the goal is to achieve a 50 per cent increase in the number by 2015. We want to do our best so the target can be reached.” Vaasa Parks is owned by the city of Vaasa, technology centre Merinova, as well as the venture capital firms Wedeco and Finnvera. c

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M   aximizing energy The Switch is enjoying a strong tailwind.

Mats Sandström


he global breakthrough of wind power has sent the demand for permanent magnet generators and power converters soaring. The Switch, from Vaasa, is one of the manufacturers of electrical systems for renewable energy. In April 2008, the company built a new plant covering 4,800 square metres at the Vaasa Airport Park in the Runsor district. It also inaugurated a new model factory in Lappeenranta, Finland in 2009, and has plants in the USA and China, as well. The Switch came into being in 2006, and has grown healthily ever since. “Our revenue was around €10 million in 2006, €18 million in 2007, in 2008 it totalled €54 million, and the budgeted figure for 2009 is €80 million. That gives some indication of the upward trend,” says Dag Sandås, the company’s CFO. According to Sandås, growth is especially robust in the Asian market. “We’re looking at a ‘flat’ market in Europe, but we’re very strong in China, where growth is steep. In fact, it’s our biggest market area at the moment.” Broad product range Even though The Switch is a young company, it has managed to secure a strong foothold in the market for renewables.

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“The future looks good, as long as we take care of our job properly,” says Dag Sandås.

“We have perhaps the broadest product portfolio around. Big competitors obviously benefit from their brands, but we, too, have quickly constructed a quality brand that is widely known around the world.” Sandås points out three reasons for the company’s success. “We offer modern technology, such as permanent magnet generators and full-power converters, as well as a tailored customer model, which ensures that customers always get the right product for their needs. Our production concept is also quite unique. We only make the models and prototypes, while volume production is handled by our partners. This has proved an ideal way to work.” Well-functioning energy cluster The expanding energy cluster in the Runsor district is also of great benefit to The Switch. Sandås lavishes praise on the region’s know-how. “Out here, people know how to build companies that are capable of operating globally. Many of our partners are located within the cluster, which is ideal for us – simply in terms of logistics.” The wind power industry has seen tremendous growth in the past years, and there are no signs of the trend being reversed. “Forecasts and market research point towards continued expansion

in the field. Also of great value to us are the predictions saying that the technology we use will outperform overall market growth. The future looks good, as long as we take care of our job properly.” Sandås points out that The Switch benefits from an experienced and loyal staff who have acquired knowledge and expertise in various fields. “What is more, many staff mem-

bers have invested money in the company, showing that they believe in the business.” The company’s future challenges are related to the acquisition of bigger customers. This would lead to big production volumes, which is one of the goals. “We would like at least some of our customers to be Top Ten companies – to boost our credibility. Our biggest

customer is, in fact, among the Top Ten, and we hope to attract one or two more of the same rank. We are also gradually moving into the solar energy market, where we have already made our first prototype deliveries,” says Sandås. c

The Switch operates in the growing wind power market.

The Switch Tel. +358 6 282 8900 Business sector: Innovative power electronics and drive trains for distributed power generation systems. Turnover 2009: €80 million Employees: 180 Export: 98% Main markets: China, Europe, USA


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Active product development enables Vamp to launch several new products a year.

Keeping electricity running   Vamp is a world leader in arc flash protection.


o protect power networks and people working with or near them, we need protection relays and arc flash protection. In contrast to most suppliers, Vamp offers products that integrate both of these elements. Highly user-friendly products and 24/7 technical support also give Vamp an edge over competitors. “We spend as much as 15 per cent of our revenue on R&D. That’s a figure we are very proud of,” says Jerker Kullberg, Managing Director. In addition to focusing on product development, the 15-year-old Vamp puts heavy emphasis on developing the global sales network. Direct exports account for 75 per cent of its production, and indirect exports raise the figure to 85 per cent. Vamp’s protection relays and arc flash protection are found in power stations and industries all around the world. Win or die Six years ago, Vamp stood at a watershed. It had two options: to invest big or fall off the map. Vamp chose the former option and has since grown at an annual rate of 20–30 per cent. “The downturn has slowed down

32  coastline 2010

Mats Sandström

Fault protection

“Being part of the Vaasa energy cluster is a big advantage,” says Jerker Kullberg.

growth somewhat, but we have still stayed on an upward track and captured market shares even though the sector as a whole has suffered in 2009,” says Kullberg. Half of the 40-strong staff work in product development and the rest in sales and marketing. Final assembly and testing is outsourced to a local partner. “Being part of the Vaasa energy cluster is a big advantage: we are close to customers as well as subcontractors. Our biggest customer is Wärtsilä Power Plants,” says Kullberg.

Vamp has carved itself a niche in arc flash protection, in which the company is a global market leader. Arc flash protection shields both equipment and people from different types of faults in the electricity network. “Although arc flash protection is very common in Finland and Sweden, it is still non-existent in many parts of the world. Its usefulness is often not grasped until an accident takes place.” Active product development enables Vamp to launch several new products a year. Ease of use is one of the keywords of its offering. “Any installer must be capable of using and programming our products. This is very important, especially since many companies no longer have specialists in the field.” c

Vamp Ltd Tel. +358 20 753 3200 Business sector: Medium-voltage protection relays and arc flash protection Turnover 2009: €13 million Employees: 40 Major markets: Worldwide


D   irect reliability

Mervento masters comprehensive wind power plant solutions.


ervento is a leading, global supplier of direct drive multi-megawatt wind turbine power plant solutions for near shore and offshore applications. “Our story goes back to 2008, when nine of Enmac Wind Oy’s employees began to plan a new company. Mervento Oy was launched in spring 2009,” says Jouko Putkonen, CEO. Mervento provides innovative multi-megawatt technology for wind turbine power stations. With outputs of several megawatts, the wind turbines are designed for both near shore and offshore use. New innovative product and process solutions enable faster and more straightforward wind turbine power station erection, a higher capacity coefficient and better overall performance and efficiency. Technological pioneer According to Putkonen, Mervento’s innovative solutions minimize some of the most common problems, such as noise, weight and maintenance costs. “We have simplified the traditional wind turbine solution with numerous new types of solutions and integrations. Among other things,

we have implemented a direct drive permanent magnet generator, based on medium voltage, which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Direct drive technology means that the rotor and generator rotate at the same speed. The rotating parts of the wind turbine have been integrated into a single unit, which enables us to eliminate the gearbox,” explains Putkonen. The direct drive Mervento 3.6–118 turbine features low levels of noise and vibration and high overall efficiency. “True to our vision, our turbine offers ‘direct reliability’, thanks to the direct drive technology. The solution

Mervento’s innovative solutions minimize some of the most common problems, such as noise, weight and maintenance costs.

“Mervento cooperates with companies in the Vaasa energy cluster,” says Jouko Putkonen. Mats Sandström

is reliable and durable and ensures high performance and operational efficiency,” says Putkonen. Finnish company Mervento’s main markets initially include Finland, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain and Ireland. Operating on the west coast of Finland, Mervento cooperates with companies in the Vaasa energy cluster. The region provides nearly all of the competence needed for the critical components used in Mervento’s products. “Vaasa and the west coast are the best possible location in Finland for these operations. For example, blade production based on a composite fibreglass structure is of high quality in Ostrobothnia, and skilled tower construction is also available in the area.” c

Mervento Tel. +358 40 833 1091 firstname.lastname@ Business sector: Wind power Major markets: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Great Britain


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P   repared for   Mats Sandström

Katternö’s power plant in Haapavesi will gradually replace peat with wood-based biofuel.

34  coastline 2010

the future Katternö secures the region’s power needs.


nergy supply is vital to every society. In its role as a regional key player, Katternö works hard to prepare for future energy needs. It is important to be a step ahead, since energy supply systems must be ready built when the actual needs arise. “We are preparing for the future needs of industry, while ensuring that we meet the environmental requirements for energy production,” explains Stefan Storholm, Managing Director of Katternö. One important part of this work is to strengthen and improve the region’s backbone network. “We must make sure that industry has access to equal service and to all the electricity it needs. The level of service must remain the same whether the business is located in an urban or rural environment. Alongside this, we are preparing for electric cars. Since we will eventually use only electric cars, we need a huge network capacity to charge them,” says Storholm. Strengthening the company’s hightension network also makes Katternö well prepared for crises. “Should the national electrical grid fail, our region could be served by the Alholmens Kraft biofuel plant, which is the world’s biggest of its kind. That would mean going into island mode – disconnecting from the country’s backbone, that is,” Storholm explains.

Mats Sandström

Increasing the share of renewables While power production and networks must satisfy the users’ demands, production must also meet environmental needs. According to Finland’s climate and energy strategy, renewables are to account for 38 per cent of energy production in 2020. Katternö is working on many fronts to achieve this goal. “Among other things, we are making our hydropower more efficient by installing new turbines in power plants and we are planning to use waste instead of coal as fuel at the Alholmens Kraft power plant,” says Storholm. Alholmens Kraft mainly runs on wood-based biofuel, and Kanteleen Voima in Haapavesi, where Katternö is a major shareholder, is increasing its use of renewable fuel. In the latter case, peat will be gradually replaced with wood-based biofuel. Wind on the agenda

“As a power company, we are responsible for our customers, the environment and the society we operate in,” says Stefan Storholm.

The national climate and energy strategy also stipulates that wind power capacity must rise from the current 150 MW to 2,000 MW by 2020. Katternö is an active participant in around half of all the wind power projects currently being planned in Finland. “Up north in Tornio, for examMats Sandström

ple, we have teamed up with other companies to build Rajakiiri, one of Finland’s biggest wind farms with a capacity of 24 MW. We’re also carrying out wind measurements in several other locations,” Storholm adds. A company that takes responsibility for future power supply must also promote energy conservation and more efficient energy use. Katternö works actively with electricity consumers in this field. “We spread information to explain to consumers how they can save electricity, for example, by using heat pumps. We have also supported our customers in replacing showers with models that save hot water,” says Storholm. c Katternö Group Tel. +358 6 781 5300 Fax +358 6 781 5322

Katternö produces environmentally friendly electricity in its local hydro­ power plants.

Business sector: Production, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity Turnover 2009: €120 million Employees: 200 Customers: 60,000 Own capacity: 285 MW Power transmission: 1.2 TWh District heating: 0.3 TWh


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A dedicated power   Wärtsilä’s strengths lie in energy efficiency and operational flexibility.


ärtsilä has a long history in the marine market. The company still enjoys a strong global position in the maritime sector thanks to it being the leading provider of solutions for the marine industry. The Power Plants business unit, which designs and supplies decentralized power plant solutions with maximum outputs of 300 MW, is at least as important a part of the company today. The design, project management and product development of power plants is located in Vaasa, which is also where Vesa Riihimäki, Wärtsilä’s new Group Vice President for the Power Plants business unit, is stationed. “Our competitive advantage comes from our ability to offer fast and flexible turnkey power plants. Our products are easy to operate, have high efficiency and can use a variety of fuels,” says Riihimäki.

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Mats Sandström

“We are currently testing many interesting new biofuels for our power plant engines,” says Vesa Riihimäki.

New fuels Wärtsilä’s power plant generating sets run on many different fuels, offering great flexibility to customers.

Vaasa is home to the Power Plants product development team, which, among other things, studies new fuels suitable for engines. Wärtsilä began testing rapeseed oil in the mid-

company 1990s and has ever since been a leading company in liquid biofuels. New, interesting products currently under testing include algae, fish oil and oil from jatropha, a plant that helps to combat desertification. In late 2009, Wärtsilä completed the world’s first commercial power plant running on jatropha oil in Belgium. “We are seeing an increasing demand for bio power plants. The EU renewable energy targets have supported the construction of such plants, which has brought in new orders for us,” says Riihimäki. Electrification and decentralization Despite the growing interest in biofuels, traditional fuels still account for the biggest volumes. In addition to oil and coal, gas has become an increasingly common power source, following the growth of the European gas market.

“Our gas-engine power plants offer many advantages compared to traditional gas turbines. They are more efficient and faster to start up,” Riihimäki emphasizes. The Power Plants business unit has done well despite the economic downturn. Decentralized energy production and electrification in developing countries are stable trends that keep up the demand for power plants. “The climate debate and an increased use of renewable energy sources leads to a greater demand for traditional power plants. Wind power requires reserve power, and that is something we can supply.” Anchored in the Vaasa region Today, Wärtsilä has 19,000 employees in more than 70 countries. Of them, some 3,000 are located in Vaasa on the Finnish West coast. In addition to running the Power Plants, Ship Power and Services operations

Decentralized energy production and electrification in developing countries are stable trends that keep up the global demand for Wärtsilä’s power plants.

in Vaasa, the company also manufactures engines and has an extensive R&D unit of technology experts in the town. “It’s advantageous to operate in this region, since our local organization is well established and has long traditions. The education offered in the region matches our needs, and we have an extensive network of subcontractors here. If we want to continue to attract employees in the future, the entire region must be attractive,” says Riihimäki. c

Wärtsilä Tel. +358 10 709 0000 Business sector: Ship power systems and service, decentralized power plants, operations and maintenance Turnover 2008: €4,612 million Employees: 19,000 (Finland 3,500) Export: 98% Major markets: Worldwide


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A multi-skilled ener   EPV invests big in emission-free power generation.


he soon 60-year-old EPV Energy is a versatile expert in domestic power production. The company annually provides its owners with 1,100,000 MWh of heat, as well as 4,000,000 MWh of electricity, which corresponds to some five per cent of the annual electricity used in Finland. “The goal throughout our history has been to provide our partners with competitive electricity, and our operations are still based on the same principle,” says Rami Vuola, CEO of EPV. EPV Energy Ltd comprises the parent company, EPV Energy, and several subsidiaries and joint ventures. Wind power is the future EPV Energy has systematically focused on emission-free power genera-

38  coastline 2010

The objective of EPV’s wind energy programme is to set up a significant renewable energy production in Finland.

tion. The company’s goals for power production capacity are based on the EU’s 20-20-20 policy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. EPV has launched extensive bio, wind and nuclear power programmes, which aim to increase the production of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and replace fossil fuels with domestic fuels. Industrial-scale wind power is one of the future forms of energy production. EPV has taken a determined approach to increasing the use of wind power in coastal Ostrobothnia. “Climate change is a big challenge, but every Finn can pitch in to help combat it. The construction of wind power is one step towards a future in which humans and nature can live side by side. Wind power is a great opportunity, but companies aren’t the only

ones who can make things happen – citizens must also embrace this form of energy generation,” says Vuola. EPV Wind is accountable for wind power production to its owners. Three companies – EPV Windpower Ltd, Rajakiiri Oy and Seawind of Finland Ltd – operate under its auspices. The objective of EPV’s wind energy programme is to set up significant renewable energy production in Finland. Concerning onshore wind energy, the company has reserved territory for nearly ten large-scale parks in Ostrobothnia. Rajakiiri’s wind park outside the city of Tornio in northern Finland is another interesting project. The Röyttä wind park will increase Finnish wind power production by almost 20 per cent. “Our strategy in offshore wind energy is to form alliances with sig-

gy producer

nificant Finnish energy and industrial companies. All in all, we have four territorial reservations at sea,” says Rami Vuola. The total scope of EPV’s wind energy programme already amounts to almost 1,500 MW.

Rita Lukkarinen

“The utilization of wind power is a great example of renewable energy use,” says Rami Vuola, CEO of EPV.

Self-sufficient fuels Domestic fuels – which in this case mean peat, as well as field and forest biomass – form another cornerstone for EPV along the coast of Ostrobothnia. “In the cogeneration of heat and power, local fuels have a significant impact on the region’s economy and employment,” says Rami Vuola. EPV’s offering also includes nuclear power. In this field, EPV relies on Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), which

“We consider nuclear power to be a safe, reliable and economical way to generate basic power. The arguments behind nuclear energy are strong. Since it’s free from CO2 emissions, it is a very climate friendly method of production. It also strengthens the self-sufficient energy production in Finland,” explains Vuola. c

EPV Energy Ltd Tel. +358 6 337 5300

has supplied it with electricity from the world’s safest and most efficient nuclear power plants for more than three decades.

Business sector: Electricity and heat production. Electricity transmission through EPV Alueverkko Oy, a subsidiary. Electricity procurement: 4 TWh Turnover: €170 million Employees: 22


coastline 2010  39

Clean green energy

Biofuels could be made more competitive and easier to access in Finland if young forests were thinned more effectively.

Alholmens Kraft uses biofuel to produce heat and electricity. Mats Sandström

trading scheme would be of great benefit to the company. “We need to reduce the price of biofuel in order to compete with coal power, which is still more advantageous,” says Stig Nickull, Managing Director of Alholmens Kraft. Technology and competence


he world needs more electricity, but less carbon dioxide emissions. Alholmens Kraft, the world’s biggest biofuel powerplant, converts forest residue unsuitable for sawmill and paper production into clean heat and electricity. Although a world leader in biofuels, Jakobstad-based Alholmens Kraft is also affected by global market prices of fossil fuels. A worldwide emissions

40  coastline 2010

“We can double the share of bio­ fuels, assuming that economic conditions become more favourable to them,” says Stig Nickull.

The plant came online in 2002 and has since been using a mixture consisting of approximately 45 per cent wood-based biofuels, 45 per cent peat and 10 per cent coal. As a result, the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions are around half of those that coal power plants generate to produce the same amount of heat and electricity. Renewable biofuels are almost entirely emission-free, and Alholmens Kraft has the skills, technology and capacity to increase their use in production. “It is fully possible for us to double the share, but first the economic conditions must become more favourable to biofuels.” Coal has a higher concentration of energy than wood. In addition, it is more cost-effective to carry out industrial-scale coal mining than transport forest biofuel to power plants.

Local fuel Most of the biofuel used by Alholmens Kraft still comes from the immediate surroundings. While biofuel has become more accessible over the years, there is still room for improvement in the process. “If young forests were thinned more efficiently in Finland, our raw material supply would be more cost-effective. Forest roads must also be kept in good condition all year round,” says Stig Nickull. Depending on the trend in global market prices, Alholmens Kraft may also start using more imported forest residue. The power plant is located in the vicinity of the Port of Jakobstad. c

Oy Alholmens Kraft Ab Tel. +358 20 416 115 Business sector: Power production based on biofuel – electricity, process steam and district heating Electricity production: 1.8 GWh Heat production: 560 GWh Turnover 2008: €85 million Employees: 42 subcontractors in production + 350 subcontractors in fuel production


100 per cent cleantech Vacon designs and manufactures the best AC drives in the world.


s electricity prices soar and climate change looms large, companies that aim to increase energy efficiency and curb emissions continue to gain market shares. Vacon is one of the fastest growing players in the sector. The company designs, manufactures and markets a broad range of AC drives for adjusting the speed of industrial electrical motors and for renewable energy products and solutions. “Electrical motors use around 30 per cent of the electricity produced worldwide. AC drives and energyefficient electrical motors can reduce power consumption by one third,” says Vesa Laisi, CEO of Vacon.

15 per cent. Examples of the latter include lifts, escalators and air conditioning systems. Both fields are fully cleantech-oriented,” says Laisi. Vacon also enjoys a strong position in renewable energy generation. “Wind power technology is particularly buoyant, and we have excellent solutions for it. We also offer applications based on AC drives

Vacon aims at profitable growth by focusing solely on AC drives.

Global player Vacon is a global company that focuses on a single line of business. It has R&D and production facilities in Finland, the USA, China and Italy, and sales offices in more than 25 countries. “We aim to distinguish ourselves from competitors by offering outstanding competence at the customer interface, whether talking about sales or maintenance activities. Competitive products and skilled employees are the cornerstones of our operations. In the future, increased environmental responsibility and major changes in energy production will support AC-drives technology and, consequently, our business strategy,” says Laisi. c

Environmentally responsible Laisi describes Vacon as a pure cleantech company that aims to reduce environmental loading and increase energy efficiency in all of its business areas. “The manufacturing industry, encompassing both machinery and equipment, accounts for 60 per cent of our business, while energyefficient solutions for the real estate and construction industries represent

for clean water production and waste­ water treatment.”

Vacon “Big inputs in research and development have contributed to our success,” says Vesa Laisi, CEO of Vacon.

Business sector: Electrical Components & Equipment, AC Drives Turnover 2008: €293.2 million Employees 2008: 1,200 Major markets: EMEA, APAC, Americas 004164

coastline 2010  41

VEO has a broad competence in the energy sector, delivering turnkey projects for energy production, trans­mission and distribution.

An independent partner VEO has experience, competence and insight. Mats Sandström

Strong partner


aasa Engineering, VEO, is a supplier of automation and electrification solutions for power generation, distribution and use in the process industry. Customer-orientation is at the heart of its operations. “It is important for us to listen to the customer and work flexibly. Our operations are based on decades of solid experience in the field, combined with the enthusiasm and new ideas of the younger generation. We develop and produce our own core products and continue to improve our offering and activities in order to be able to provide our customers with efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly solutions based on innovative technologies,” says Mauri Holma, President and CEO of VEO.

42  coastline 2010

“The energy cluster in the Vaasa region is unique and definitely advantageous to us,” says Mauri Holma.

VEO aims at a turnover of 160 million euros and a headcount of more than 600 by 2013. To achieve its goals, the company must tap into unexploited new market areas in the future. The nearby Russian market in particular offers growth potential that is of interest to the group. “Growing hand in hand with partners is natural for VEO. For example, sometimes our partners at the customer interface work as our suppliers, but at other times we work as their suppliers. They are important to us and provide reliable support for growth on international markets,” says Holma. “The Runsor energy cluster and the infrastructure of the entire Vaasa region are unique and definitely advantageous to us, and provide our line of business with a great opportunity for growth.” Demand exists VEO is a big supporter of the EU’s climate and energy package, whose 20-20-20 programme aims to improve energy efficiency, among other things.

“Our applications based on frequency converter technique, for example, are one of our strongest competence areas and they also support the EU strategy. We definitely want to be a part of this chain that promotes matters important to the environment and climate. We believe that the demand for our expertise will continue to grow in the future.” VEO has offices in the Nordic countries and in Russia. “We have excellent globally operating associates, but there is always room for partners whose competence complements our offerings and vice versa. There are still many untapped opportunities out there,” says Mauri Holma. c

VEO (Vaasa Engineering Group) Tel. +358 207 1901 Fax +358 207 190 501 004104

Business sector: Automation and electrification systems Turnover 2009: €86 million Employees: 410 Export: 75% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates: ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004

Mapromec is a world leading manufacturer of piston pins.

N   umber one in piston pins Mapromec believes in quality and automation.


ince its beginnings, Mapromec, a manufacturer of piston pins for big diesel engines, has focused on specialization and on raising the level of automation. Today, the company is a world leader in its sector. “We offer high-quality products and work in close cooperation with our customers, in addition to using the latest technology and regularly renewing our machinery. Our staff maintains its solid competence through continuous training. We also supply ready assembled products,” says Caj-Erik Karp, Mapromec’s Managing Director. Mapromec’s sister company, Maprotec, is located in Replot, Kors­ holm, but both companies are headquartered in Smedsby, Korsholm. Obvious strengths According to Karp, Mapromec’s strengths and keys to success are easily identified. “Quality and fast deliveries give us a competitive advantage and are also valued by customers. Our highly robotized production plays a big part in this. We have thirteen robot cells, which we run in two shifts, one of them manned and the other

Jessica Lindgren

“The imagination is the only limit to the use of automation and robots,” says Caj-Erik Karp.

unmanned. This way, the pins are inspected twice to ensure top quality, which is crucial to products of this type,” explains Karp. Mapromec supplies piston pins all around the world. The speed and reliability of deliveries are also closely linked to advanced automation. “When production is robotized, you know exactly how long each job takes. This enables production to be planned accurately and in compliance with customers’ schedules.”

Demanding customers Competition is tough in Mapromec’s line of business – and is getting even stiffer, according to Karp. “We must meet growing challenges. Automation will become more common and it is the only option for anyone who wants to succeed in this sector in Finland. The general trend is for companies to reduce their stocks, which means that we must supply components at the right time and for the right need. Customers are demanding better and increasingly tailored service, as is their right, of course. We constructed 2,000 square metres of additional facilities in summer 2009, which will help to improve our production conditions,” says Karp. c

Mapromec Tel. +358 6 320 4500 Business sector: Metal industry; parts for diesel engines and electrical motors Turnover 2008: €22 million Employees: 74 Export: 40% (2008) Major markets: Europe


coastline 2010  43

Foster Wheeler Energia Oy

P  roviding time for core business Citec is a preferred partner in engineering and technical information.


itec is a Finnish pioneer in implementing partnering concepts. The company provides multi-discipline technical solutions and project services for the power, civil, rail vehicles and process industries. Citec also offers a wide range of services and solutions related to technical information. It has made successful partnering agreements for more than ten years. “Strategic partnership involves a high degree of commitment. Our goal is to achieve higher quality at a lower cost by jointly setting clear goals and improving processes for and together with our customers. The Citec Partnering Concept is a proven concept with concrete efficiency effects and evidence,” says Michael Smirnoff, Communications Director. To date, Citec has entered into partnership with around ten com-

Mats Sandström

44  coastline 2010

Citec’s customers benefit from the company’s vast competence in multi-discipline engineering and technical information.

“So far, we have entered into partner­ship with around ten companies. This cooperation model enables higher quality at a lower cost,” explains Michael Smirnoff.

panies, many of which are big, listed enterprises. Some of the customers have outsourced part of their operations to Citec. “It is our task to provide customers with the type of functions that are not part of their core competence. This way everyone can concentrate on what they are best at. Partnering generates better discipline in project execution, clarity in costs and responsibilities. It strengthens our customers’ capacity and risk management, which today is becoming very essential in engineering and technical information planning and execution,” says Smirnoff. Strong in India Thanks to several business process outsourcing agreements, Citec has grown extensively in the past decade. Over one-fourth of its employees are now located in India, which enables the company to offer more cost-effective solutions to customers. Customers also benefit from Citec’s broad multi-disciplinary competence. “Our experience includes technical design of more than 1,000 power plants globally. We continuously strive for larger projects and overall responsibility. Customers get added value from our handling all of the technical planning involved in a project and offering complete techni-

cal information solutions as well.” Citec also benefits from an increasing number of IPMA-certified project managers. Comprehensive offering To make it easier for customers to see what they are purchasing, Citec has decided to increasingly package its services. An example of such packaging is Plant Information Management, an overall solution for the technical information required in power plants. “Excellent documentation improves the ROI, enhances security and increases the life cycle of power plants,” explains Smirnoff. In addition to the energy sector, Citec has accumulated long experience and specialized skills in the civil, rail vehicle, life sciences and the telecom & IT industries. c Citec Citec Engineering Oy Ab Citec Information Oy Ab Tel. +358 6 324 0700 004101

Business sector: Multi-discipline engineering and technical information solutions Customer segments: Energy & Power industry; Rail vehicle industry; Civil industry; Telecom & IT; Life sciences; Marine & Defence; Manufacturing industry Turnover 2009: €50 million Employees: 1,000 Major markets: Northern Europe Certificates: ISO9001:2000

N   ever mind the weather

The Minor Off­shore customer base continues to expand. Demand is greatest for the Offshore 25 and Offshore 31 models.

Sarins Boats in new waters.


he Minor Offshore boats made by Sarins Boats are known for their ability to endure tough weather conditions. They are mostly found in the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian waters, but in recent years the boats have met with increasing demand in Central Europe and around the Mediterranean. “Our boats are designed for yearround use in cold waters, but they are obviously well suited for warmer countries as well. Now that our boats are increasingly common in harbours around the world, we have begun to receive direct customer inquiries from countries where we don’t have local sales representatives,” says Thomas Sarin, Sales Manager. Custom-made Sarins has delivered boats to many countries, including Japan and the USA, from its plant up in Kokkola. In 2008 the company made successful investments in growing markets, such as Russia and Turkey. As a result, the Minor Offshore boats are now appreciated by a growing customer base. In Istanbul, for example, owners have found a quick and easy way to avoid the city’s notorious traffic jams by taking to its extensive waterways. While private individuals make up the biggest customer group, Minor Offshores are also used, for example,

by the Norwegian, Romanian and German marine police forces. “We build semi-custom boats tailored to customer needs, and the equipment varies depending on the climate,” explains Thomas Sarin.

Mats Sandström

We are family Customers show great trust in Sarins Boats, which celebrated its 40th anniversary a few years ago. Today, all three sons of the founders, Edy and Lillemor Sarin, also work in the family company. Thomas Sarin returned to the company way back in 1997 after his design studies in Turku and is now in charge of sales, marketing and product development. David Sarin, a boat engineer, came on board in 2006 to handle production, testing and final approval, and in April 2009, Johannes Sarin joined the company after his years in Helsinki studying economics and working. “What’s important is that all three made a voluntary choice to come back and found their own niche in the company,” says CEO Lillemor Sarin, a noticeably proud mother. c

“The experience and trust that we’ve accumulated over the years are of great benefit to business,” say Thomas, Johannes, David and Lillemor Sarin.

Sarins Boats Ltd Tel. +358 6 824 0700 Business sector: All-season boats Turnover 2008: €9.7 million Employees: 33 Export: 85% Major markets: Northern and Southern Europe, Japan and USA


coastline 2010  45

Excellence at sea   Nautor builds bigger.

Mats Sandström

Mats Sandström

“The bigger the yachts the more customized they are. Our boatbuilders are the world’s best and can fulfil the customers’ wishes,” says Tommy Boork, Managing Director.


o date, Nautor has mainly built yachts under 100 feet, its record being the 131-footer delivered in 2006. The new models that the shipyard will introduce in 2010 include a 60-footer and an 80-footer, as well as two bigger yachts measuring 110 and 130 feet respectively. “Many of our customers are looking to buy bigger yachts from us, and we have both the competence and facilities needed to make up to 150-footers,” says Tommy Boork, Nautor’s Managing Director. Firm grip on Swan-building Since autumn 2008, the yacht builder has focused on developing new pro­ cesses for all its operations. Known as Nautor Excellence, the programme makes production more uniform. Each Swan currently under construction involves 700 to 800 drawings. The complexity of the products led to Nautor thoroughly surveying and systematizing all the work phases. “Yachts continue to get more sophisticated. The materials must be lightweight, yet durable; the yachts must offer the same comforts and entertainment equipment as modern homes; the communication systems must be all-encompassing; the navigation systems reliable; and the sailing systems highly automated.” Nautor Excellence is a tool used to deal with new challenges and has already given positive results. “Although we’re still in the process of implementing Nautor Excellence in the whole company, we have already detected clear improvement in terms of our compliance with delivery times in 2009 compared to 2008,” says Boork. 46  coastline 2010

Nautor’s Swan yachts are built at the yards in Jakobstad and Pedersöre, while the interior modules are made at the joinery shop in Kronoby.

Combination of know-how Tommy Boork, who joined Nautor as the company’s new managing director in autumn 2008, has wide-ranging experience of heading companies in the boat and vehicle industry. He feels great respect for Nautor’s competence. “Nautor has the world’s best boatbuilders right here in the Jakobstad region. For such a small company, it is incredibly skilled at handling this much technology. The Italian owners provide important understanding

about branding and about sailing maxi-class yachts. They also have good insight into customers’ needs.” After all, Leonardo Ferragamo, the company’s owner, was a customer before he acquired Nautor in 1998. c

Nautor’s Swan Business sector: Semi-custom yachts Turnover 2008: €69 million Employees: 350 Major markets: Europe, USA


Get on the jet

New Rolls-Royce waterjets for coast guard patrol boats and water buses.


olls-Royce Kokkola continues to supply jet propulsion units to new and existing customers around the world. The US Coast Guard has already begun to use many of the 200 vessels it has ordered, and in autumn 2009 Austal Image, an Australian shipyard, delivered six patrol boats with Rolls-Royce waterjet propulsion to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. The vessels, the first-ever waterjet-powered patrol boats in Trinidad and Tobago, are equipped with Rolls-Royce’s new product, the Kamewa 56A3. More streamlined than its predecessors, the new Kamewa A3 is the result of extensive product development carried out in Kokkola and Kristinehamn.

“Our products are mainly used in military craft, luxury yachts, work boats and passenger boats up to 40 metres in length. Rolls-Royce Sweden focuses on larger fast vessels and ships. A new promising target group consists of oil companies that need fast boats to transport staff to and from oil rigs,” says Tomas Renlund, Site Director of Rolls-Royce Kokkola.

Rolls-Royce Kokkola has thirty years of experience in fast boats. It has continued to tirelessly develop its products. Trinidad and Tobago has equipped its Coast Guard craft with Kamewa 56A3, the latest product series from RollsRoyce.

ity of the 35-metre aluminium boats at speeds reaching 40 knots. “Waterjets offer many advantages compared to propellers, such as precise manoeuvring, secure operations and high efficiency. All three are immensely important in professional use,” Renlund adds. Powerful and pleasant Rolls-Royce jet propulsion units also lead the field in terms of economy and ecology. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is setting up a new, less polluting urban water traffic system that will serve approximately 10,000 passengers daily. Rolls-Royce will supply jet propulsion units for four water buses in 2010. The Kamewa A3 unit is expected to save an annual 2,800 tonnes of fuel per boat compared to competing vessels designed to do the same job. “We work hard to develop our products. The results are visible to our customers every day,” says Tomas Renlund. c

Impressive customers Among other things, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard will use its new boats to combat illegal immigration and smuggling. During trial runs, the TTCG’s representatives were impressed by the manoeuvrabilMats Sandström

“In the early 1990s, our sales mainly targeted Finland and Scandinavia. Central Europe gradually entered the picture, and these days we operate in the global market. We have gained a strong foothold in the Americas and Asia in recent years,” says Tomas Renlund, Site Director of RollsRoyce Kokkola.

Rolls-Royce Oy Ab, Kokkola Unit Tel. +358 6 832 4500 Business sector: Waterjets (Kokkola); Azimuth thrusters and deck machinery (Rauma) Overall turnover 2008: Rolls-Royce Oy Ab €430 million Employees: Kokkola 75, Rauma 350 Major markets: Global


coastline 2010  47

Most Baltic Yachts vessels sail in the Mediterranean, but they can be spotted also in North American and Japanese waters.

T  he beauty of engineering Baltic Yachts has a new female skipper.

Mats Sandström

construction hall at least once a day to admire the 197-footer currently under construction. “I love technical work! I’ll never forget my background in engineering, even though I’ve worked in marketing so long,” explains Marjo Keiramo. Tradition and innovation


arjo Keiramo’s first visit to Baltic Yachts in Jakobstad left her deeply impressed: the company was really and truly working on the world’s biggest composite yacht. Keiramo’s admiration was not diminished by the fact that she had grown used to impressive vessels during her years selling and marketing the world’s biggest luxury cruise ferries at the STX Europe shipyard in Turku. Although the past months as Managing Director of Baltic Yachts have accustomed her to the idea, she continues to walk through the 48  coastline 2010

“Customers turn to Baltic Yachts because they want lightweight boats of excellent quality. Our professional skills and competence in materials are based on long traditions in boatbuilding,” say Marjo Keiramo and Kenneth Nyfelt.

Technical skills are an inherent part of Baltic Yachts’ success. “Customers turn to us because they want lightweight boats of excellent quality. Our professional skills and competence in materials are based on long traditions in boatbuilding.” Tradition, however, has not stood in the way of innovation and creative thinking at Baltic Yachts. “We do all we can to satisfy customer wishes and are happy to make use of new alternatives. Fifteen years ago we built yachts using materials that our competitors have only just learned to deal with,” says Kenneth Nyfelt, Sales Director. Bigger boats Even though creative thinking has characterized the company since its establishment in the 1980s, Baltic

Yachts had to overcome a few mental blocks in the 1990s. “We didn’t believe in our ability to build yachts over 100 feet. In the end, we made a thorough investigation into the matter and decided there was nothing stopping us. Today, over100-footers are our main segment,” Kenneth Nyfelt adds. The company has not, however, let go of its smaller models – partly because they attract new customers, who later upgrade to bigger boats. After all, most Baltics are sold to returning customers. In a new trend, old Baltic yachts are being bought back to Finland after they have sailed worldwide and become more accessible to Finnish sailors in terms of price. To date, around 40 of the nearly 600 Baltic boats built have completed their cycle and returned to Finnish waters. c Baltic Yachts Tel. +358 6 781 9200 Business sector: Custom-made superyachts Turnover: €25 million Employees: 155 Export: 100% Major markets: Europe


KewaTec caters for three customer groups: governments, professionals and private boat enthusiasts. Boats often function as workplaces and must therefore satisfy ergonomic and safety requirements.

R   ationality wins at sea KewaTec Aluboat makes you feel like a pilot.


oats appeal to the emotions, but rational criteria take on more importance in the choice of boat for professional groups working at sea. KewaTec Aluboat in Kokkola builds boats according to customer needs and has noted a recent trend towards more sensible choices. “Customers once again prioritize stability and comfort. Speed used to be at the top of the list, but what with fuel consumption becoming more important, customers have decided that 30 knots really is sufficient for boats of this type,” says Karl-Erik Wargh, Managing Director of KewaTec Aluboat. “We have reduced the noise level inside the cabin to 62 dB by suspending and isolating the cabin from the hull,” adds Jan Wargh, Operations Manager, giving an example of KewaTec’s solutions. Best in windy weather KewaTec Aluboat has supplied the Finnpilot pilotage company with topmodern pilot boats. “I wish everyone could test drive this particular model in windy weather to experience first-hand its balance and stability in choppy

Mats Sandström

Walk aboard In spring 2010, KewaTec Aluboat will introduce a new series comprising three models from six metres upward that are designed for private individuals in search of powerful boats for everyday use. The models feature a bow door that enables passengers to simply walk on and off the boat instead of climbing over the railing. The solution also makes loading and unloading easy. “Bow doors usually mean a flat bow, which reduces speed in rough sea conditions, but we have constructed a door that splits the waves,” explains Karl-Erik Wargh. And the material? Why, aluminium, of course! c waters,” says Karl-Erik Wargh. Karl-Erik has built aluminium boats for thirty years, but the light metal and its versatility continue to amaze him. “Aluminium is an incredible material. I haven’t seen anything better suited to building light, durable and robust work boats. There are still many uses for aluminium waiting to be discovered,” Karl-Erik Wargh believes.

“Aluminium is an incredible material,” says Karl-Erik Wargh, Managing Director, who established the company in 1998, but has built aluminium boats for thirty years. Jan Wargh has worked as the company’s Operations Manager since October 2009.

KewaTec Aluboat Oy Ab Business sector: Custom-built aluminium vessels 7–20 metres Turnover 2008: €5.4 million Employees: 25 + 12 contractors Export: 35% Major markets: Finland, Scandinavia


coastline 2010  49

Sesca Group is an international growth company that supplies automation and ICT systems to business customers in the energy, process and ICT industries.

T  echnologies in dialogue

Sesca Group offers comprehensive solutions, systems, services and software to industry.


Mikko Lehtimäki

eadquartered in Vaasa and present at over ten other locations in Finland, the Sesca Group employs around 400 people in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and the Czech Republic. Sesca’s operations are divided into two business areas: Sesca Industrial Solutions and Sesca Professional Services. The company offers automation and software design for the manufacturing, process and energy industries, as well as hardware and software services for industrial solutions. “We utilize and deliver engineering and knowledge management systems, which enable us to offer extensive project services, ranging from preengineering to full-scale system deliveries and including plant maintenance. We also provide ERP solutions for logistics. Our broad customer base includes, for example, the metal and mining, pulp and paper, energy production and food industries,” says Riku Niemelä, President and CEO of Sesca Group.

50  coastline 2010

“True to our slogan – Technologies in Dialogue – we aim to provide expertise and solutions that improve and enhance business operations,” says Riku Niemelä, President and CEO.

Drives and energy professional Integrated sectional drives solutions, energy competence and versatile power and energy-related solutions form one of the Group’s specialities. “We provide a variety of sectional drives solutions, which help customers to improve their productivity and cost-effectiveness. We offer viable alternatives, which customers appreciate,” says Niemelä. Sesca designs and implements electrification and automation systems related to the production and distribution of energy. “Our services in the field also include specialized electrical applications, such as excitation systems, drives, relay protection and synchronization. Being a brand-independent supplier, we work with the customer to choose the technically and economically optimal products and system solutions,” Niemelä explains. Embedded software services Sesca Professional Services is a leading provider of enterprise software services and hardware design solutions and services for industrial sectors in service, product develop-

ment and delivery organizations. The offering includes business processes that enhance software solutions and services, as well as complete hardware design solutions with associated testing and project management services for a smooth integrated delivery. “Our embedded solutions teams help the customer in hardware and software integration, as well as in design and implementation, over the product’s life cycle. The software solutions teams are able to construct ERP and CRM solutions and create specific tools that utilize open source solutions,” Niemelä explains. c

Sesca Group Tel. +358 10 770 0700 Business sector: Software, power, electrical and automation engineering products, solutions and services for metal and mining, forest, pulp and paper, power and heat and food processing industries. Embedded hardware and software; consulting, services, solutions and products for industrial production, electronics and ICT sectors Turnover 2008: €44 million Employees: 415 Export: 30% Major markets:Domestic, Scandinavia Russia, EMEA, APAC 004110

Solving has a broad customer base and uses its competence in a great variety of industrial applications. The picture shows automatic air film Movers for the assembly of piling machines.

M   oving heavy loads Solving delivers comprehensive solutions.


Jan Holmgård

oving heavy objects has been Solving’s business idea since 1977. Today, the company supplies its systems to more than 50 countries all around the world. The biggest target group consists of industrial companies in, for example, the automotive and paper industries, which need to move big or delicate objects during production or along the logistics chain. However, Solving has also delivered solutions to the entertainment industry. These include multipurpose halls, which a few people can easily convert into a sports arena, concert hall or trade venue thanks to Solving’s air film solution. “We adapt to the customer, in contrast to our big competitors, who expect customers to adapt to their products,” explains Peter Björk, Solving’s Managing Director. Lifting heavy metal Industrial customers are showing increasing interest in the work environment and ergonomics of their staff. To deal with heavy loads, employees need flexible handling systems. Peter Björk mentions Moventas, a wind power gearbox manufacturer, as an example. The company needed a

vehicles and air film Movers to handle products from the time the raw material enters the plant to the point at which the gearboxes are all assembled. The plant’s laser-controlled, driverless automated vehicles move loads as heavy as 3 tonnes continuously. Solving’s air film Movers take over during final assembly, at which point the gears can weigh as much as 40 tonnes. “We are highly skilled in complementary systems and are one of the very few companies that make automated air film transporters,” says Peter Björk. c

Ab Solving Oy

system to handle gearboxes throughout the production process at its new plant in Jyväskylä. Solving was selected as the overall supplier for this handling system. Complete systems Solving provided Moventas with a system consisting of automated

“Our technologies complement one another and enable customers to build their own systems,” explains Peter Björk, Solving’s Managing Director.

Tel. +358 6 781 7500 Business sector: Systems for heavy load handling Turnover 2008: €14 million Employees: 50 Export: 80% Major markets: Worldwide


Solving Group (including Fluid-Bag and other subsidiaries) Turnover: €24 million Employees: 135

coastline 2010  51

C   onstant renewal   The KWH Group spreads its risks by operating in several sectors.


hange has been the guiding principle for KWH ever since its foundation 80 years ago. Over the years, the company has been involved in many different fields, ranging from wood and fur to plastic pipes and abrasives. “It might have been easier to focus on a single sector, but this has been one way to spread the risks. It has also enabled us to develop business in the long run, without having to deal with constant demands for profit,” says Peter Höglund, the Group President. Today, the corporation’s biggest businesses consist of plastic pipes (KWH Pipe), abrasives (KWH Mirka), as well as transport and storage solutions (KWH Logistics). The most

52  coastline 2010

Over the years, KWH has invested strongly in product development and let new operations evolve at leisure over a longer period. KWH Mirka is an excellent example of this.

recent major change came from the Group’s decision to wind down its office foil production and instead have its plastics business concentrate on highquality, multi-layer food wraps and injection-moulded food packaging. “There’s been a lot of talk about the paperless office since the 1980s, but it wasn’t until the past few years that it really took off. Most archives are electronic these days, and the demand for folders and films has plunged,” says Höglund, explaining the reason for the decision. Long product development Letting go of office foils was by no means a unique move in KWH’s history. The Group has always been able

to adapt to shifting needs resulting from changes in the business environment. What is also characteristic of the family-owned KWH is its strong input in product development and its patience to let new operations evolve at leisure over a longer period. KWH Mirka is an excellent example of this, having developed into the leading company in abrasives technology worldwide. “Mirka holds the biggest number of patented solutions for materials, abrasives machines and the production process itself. It took a while to get here, however. Since we work in the form of a corporation, we can invest in product development and let the more profitable parts of the

KWH Group Ltd Parent company Tel. +358 6 326 5111 Turnover 2008 (Group): €588 million Employees 2008 (Group): 2,916


KWH Pipe Ltd Tel. +358 6 326 5511 Business sector: PE, PP, PVC and preinsulated pipe systems, machinery and technology Turnover 2008: €308 million Major Markets: Europe, Southeast Asia, North America KWH Mirka Ltd Tel. +358 20 760 2111 Business sector: Coated abrasives Turnover 2008: €139 million Major markets: USA, Europe, Far East

Jessica Lindgren

KWH Plast Ltd Tel. +358 20 768 6111 Business sector: PP films and injection moulded products for food packaging Turnover 2008: €36 million Major markets: EU Backman-Trummer Tel. +358 6 323 9111 Business sector: International transports, forwarding, stevedoring and bulk storage Turnover 2008: €82 million KWH Freeze Ltd Tel. +358 9 348 211 Business sector: Storage and handling of frozen foods Turnover 2008: €10 million Oy Prevex Ab Tel. +358 6 781 8000 Business sector: HEPAC products and technical components for industrial use Turnover 2008: €15 million Major markets: Nordic and Baltic countries

company finance operations still in the development phase,” says Höglund. Specialist in niche markets One of the Group companies currently under development is Prevex, a HEPAC manufacturer. It still accounts for only a small part of the Group as a whole, but is already a market leader in water traps. “Prevex is one of the few Finnish companies that has supplied products to Ikea. With all of its competence and ideas, Prevex holds great promise for the future.” KWH Pipe has found its niche in large pipes with maximum diameters of 3.5 metres. The company has de-

veloped patented technology in this field, as well. Carving a niche in special fields and becoming a global market leader are KWH’s guiding principles. “We focus on selected customer segments and special products. We can’t become world leaders in largevolume businesses, but it is possible in niche markets,” says Höglund. Turning 80 Similar to most companies, the KWH Group has also felt the global economic downturn. For some of the Group companies, this has meant a time-out after periods of strong growth and a lot of investments. Thanks to some wise decisions

Group management from the left: Ralf Karlström (KWH Mirka), Hannu UusiPohjola (KWH Logistics), Peter Höglund (Group President), Kjell Antus (KWH Invest) and Jan-Erik Nordmyr (KWH Pipe).

made in earlier days, KWH’s logistics business has not suffered from the downswing, even though the revenue from Finnish port operations has dropped 30 per cent overall. “We have intentionally kept clear of ports where wood processing products play a big role, since we don’t believe in the sector’s future. Transit goods from Russia have become a new niche for us, and we have successfully opened up new transport routes.” In other words, KWH celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009 with great confidence and a strong belief in the future. “A company is never ready. You’ve got to be prepared for constant renewal,” says Peter Höglund in summary. c coastline 2010  53

The economics of measurement Beamex provides calibration solutions for improving quality, accuracy and cost-efficiency.

Mats Sandström

The uncompromising quality standard shared by the people working at Beamex is what makes Beamex’s calibration solutions world-class.


Mats Sandström

eamex in Pietarsaari is one of the world’s leading companies in developing and manufacturing calibration equipment, software, systems and services. “Calibration is in many cases essential for business, because even the best instruments drift and lose their ability to give accurate measurements. The cost of inaccurate measurements can be very high, but calibration assures that measurements are exact and within the required specification limits of the process instrument,” says Raimo Ahola, CEO of Beamex. Streamline through automation

Many companies are currently dealing with challenges such as the need to streamline work processes, cut production downtime and eliminate double work. One way to address these challenges is through automated systems. “Our integrated calibration solution made of calibrators, software and services can be tailored to each individual situation and need. This way our customers can enhance their operations, save costs and improve quality,” explains Ahola. 54  coastline 2010

“Beamex makes significant investments in product development,” say Raimo Ahola, CEO (to the right) and Timo Uusitalo, Product Development Manager.

Calibration software, which is used for planning, documenting and managing calibration assets and procedures, is at the heart of the system. The most significant form of integration is between the software and calibrators. Active company Beamex serves many different sectors, such as the oil, gas and petrochemical, power and energy, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, as well as the food and beverage industries. Long experience and close cooperation with customers are some of the

factors that have made Beamex’s calibration solutions world-class. “Our comprehensive product and service range includes portable calibrators, workstations, calibration software and accessories, as well as services and industry-specific solutions. Through our global partner network our offering is available in over sixty countries,” says Ahola. Beamex has lately focused on developing its operations in various areas. New offices in India and China, along with the renovation and extension of the production, service and product development facilities in Pietarsaari, have contributed to raising the company’s profile. c Beamex Oy Ab Tel. +358 10 550 5000 Business sector: Development and manufacturing of high-quality calibration equipment, software, systems and services for the calibration and maintenance of process instruments. Turnover (2008): €16 million Employees (2008): 95 Export (2008): over 90% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates: ISO 9001:2008, ISO 17025, ATEX/IECEx Approval Parent company: Sarlin Group Oy Ab 004139

Sasken’s role in Finland is to develop new technologies jointly with customers and introduce them into new products.

including the biggest mobile phone manufacturers, are Sasken’s customers,” says Jyrkkä. Many strengths Jyrkkä emphasizes Sasken’s global operating environment and the company’s focus on communications, for which it can produce the entire value chain. “This sector has seen a change in operating culture. Companies still work in close cooperation with customers when it comes to cuttingedge technologies, but the production of large volumes has been moved to low-cost countries. We chiefly work on multi-site projects around the world.” According to Jyrkkä, Sasken’s strength lies in specialization. “We concentrate all our efforts on the telecommunications segment, which enables us to produce services that cover the entire product life cycle in the sector. Contrary to many other software businesses, we also make wireless hardware products. In addition, most of our operations are located in low-cost countries, which keeps our prices competitive.” On the lookout for skilled employees

G   lobal and competent Sasken is a growing professional in mobile solutions.


asken produces embedded mobile solutions, helping companies in the telecommunications value chain to enhance their R&D operations. The company has been called Sasken Finland Oy since spring 2007 and is today a subsidiary of global Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd. “Sasken offers a wide range of research and development services including embedded software and hardware design. It has 3,500 employees and operates out of offices in India, China, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Great Britain and the USA,” explains Hannu Jyrkkä, CEO of Sasken Finland. Sasken Finland is headquartered in Kaustinen, which is also home to the

Mats Sandström

Hardware design is mainly carried out in Kaustinen and ranges from radio system to antenna and EMC/ EMI design. Software design has been centralized in Tampere. Sasken is continuously on the lookout for new experts in both fields. “Our role in Finland is to develop new technologies jointly with customers and introduce them into new products. We must be able to offer multi-site competence, architectural thinking and technical leadership skills in our Finnish operations, which also means more research activities at the customer interface. For duties of this type, we need experienced people ready to accept responsibilities and challenges in an international environment.” c


company’s radio technology design and laboratories. “We cater to three businesses: terminal device, network equipment and semiconductor manufacturers. The leading players in all three segments,

“Sasken is a global producer of comprehensive mobile services,” says Hannu Jyrkkä, CEO.

Tel. +358 10 408 1111 Business sector: ICT Employees: 3,500 Major markets: Worldwide


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Caring about heating

Who doesn’t want to reduce heating expenses, while maintaining a steady and comfortable temperature indoors. Rettig makes heating systems that achieve both goals.

Rettig’s radiators spread comfortable heat. Mats Sandström

technology enable it to react faster and more accurately to small differences in indoor temperature. The radiator has quickly become a market leader in the Nordic countries, where climate conditions place great demands on heat emitters. “Thanks to its design the radiator blends in with the surroundings, while generating exactly the right temperature,” says Mia Högkvist, Marketing Manager. Green heat


he Finnish climate has put indoor heating to the test for centuries. Modern-day homes and public spaces demand increasingly energy-efficient solutions, while also placing more emphasis on design. This also applies to radiators, as is well known to Jakobstad-based Rettig Värme, a leading developer of heating systems. The company’s triumphant Purmo 200 mm is a landmark product series, which has recently been launched in three improved models. The Purmo 200 mm is very discreet thanks to its low height. Moreover, the radiator’s heat capacity and 56  coastline 2010

“Although smaller in size, the 200mm radiators are better at maintaining the required temperature since they react faster to changes,” say Marko Nylund, Jan Högkvist and Mia Högkvist.

Underfloor heating has become a popular option in homes, especially in bathrooms and entrances. Underfloor heating is also included in Rettig’s offering and has become a big success on the European market. Radiators still have a few advantages, however. “They provide steadier indoor temperature control and are in that respect more energy efficient,” says Mia Högkvist. Environmental awareness characterizes all of Rettig’s operations. Its products are energy efficient and made of materials that are friendly to the environment. “Among other things, the company uses recycled materials in production

and biodegradable vegetable oils in Rettig’s oil-based heating systems,” says Marko Nylund, Plant Manager. The Rettig Indoor Climate Comfort Group has 17 plants in 11 countries, serving customers in approximately 50 countries. Purmo 200 mm is one of the products manufactured at the Jakobstad plant, which also functions as the Group’s logistics centre for the Nordic countries. The company has streamlined its transport processes from the plant to customers. “Our competitiveness is based on the logistic skills we’ve accumulated over time. Efficient processes enable us to dispatch products to customers quickly and economically,” explains Jan Högkvist, Managing Director. c

Rettig Värme Ab Tel. +358 6 786 9111 Business sector: Water-based and electrical heating solutions Turnover 2008: €54 million Employees: 200 Export: 80% Major markets: Europe Parent company: Rettig ICC Turnover 2008: €610 million Employees: 3,200


Ignite your imagination UpCode – a management system for mobile information.

The UpCode World Democenter is located in Vaasa.


BM, Stora Enso, UPM, MAN Roland, Helsinki City Transport, Telecom Italia, driving license authorities in Argentina and big global phone manufacturers are only some of the companies and organizations that have adopted the interactive UpCode system for mobile information. The fully automatic solutions of UpCode, a Vaasa-based company, enable business solutions and e-commerce to be integrated with any print and electronic media. “A code or other type of smart tag, either text- or image-based, gives mobile device users error-free and automatic interaction online or offline through multiple channels. The only thing users need to do is point their phone at the code,” explains Sture Udd, Managing Director of UpCode. Efficiency and savings According to Udd, companies can achieve considerable savings by using UpCode. “For example, an UpCode-based monitoring and reporting system can save up to 20 per cent in working hours. The system can be used to automatically merge tasks that used to be performed separately, such as

Mats Sandström

track and trace combined with project management. The investment pays back within one year.” UpCode taps into the numerous features and uses of modern cell phones. “It may come as a surprise, but mobile phones are more intelligent than the traditional PC. A phone functions as a spare brain that follows you everywhere on a 24/7 basis,” says Udd. Versatile products The prize-winning UpCode reader software can be downloaded free of charge to the mobile phone. Once installed, the application enables users to retrieve information, buy theatre tickets or pay their invoices while, say, sitting on the bus simply by using UpCode smart tags and their phones. UpCode continues to launch new applications for both big and small companies. Examples of new UpCode products are the UpFair conference/ exhibition system, the UpTrack logistics system and asset management, the UpControl systems for service and surveillance purposes and the UpTour tourism and hotel information system, the UpChannel CrossMedia marketing tool, the UpCard for

“A monitoring system based on UpCode offers considerable advantages,” says Sture Udd, Managing Director.

ID and loyalty functions, the UpCare health systems and the UpWire order and payment systems. c

UpCode Tel. +358 6 321 8000 Business sector: Communication Turnover: €20 million Employees: 100 Export: 50% Major markets: Scandinavia, US, Asia, South America


coastline 2010  57

Mats Sandström

E  cology meets economy

The environment isn’t the only one thankful for stricter environmental protection. The demand for Eur-Mark’s environmental vehicles rises as regulations get tougher.

Eur-Mark’s new recycler saves water.

Mats Sandström

“When our order intake began to slow down in autumn 2008, we took advantage of the situation and developed our products. Our ecoCycler water recycling technology is now ready for the market,” says Managing Director Kurt Vienonen.

of the city to empty their sludge tanks ends up being too expensive. Thanks to its water recycling technology, EcoCycler can carry out suction and flushing in the same place, which avoids having to drive in and out of the city centre. This makes it doubly ecological,” says Vienonen.

No to wasteful use


ater is turning into an increasingly valuable resource that we cannot afford to waste. The demand for systems that treat natural resources both ecologically and economically is rising in industry and municipal waterworks. Eur-Mark in Nykarleby now offers a new environmental vehicle that saves water, time and money. 58  coastline 2010

“Product development is a never-ending story, since we adapt our products to match the individual needs of every customer,” say Kurt Vienonen, Patrik Spåra and Magnus Karhunmaa.

EcoCycler purifies and reuses water inside its tank. It is based on familiar, reliable technology that has been adapted to Eur-Mark’s niche. EurMark has made flushing and suction aggregates since 1992. As is characteristic of the company’s products, the aggregates are designed to work flawlessly in extremely cold conditions. “The Nordic countries are our main market. Sales are growing nicely in the Baltic states and even elsewhere in Europe, for example, in England,” says Patrik Spåra, Sales Manager. Customers have shown great interest in ecoCycler. Representatives of waterworks in big Nordic and Baltic cities have visited Nykarleby to learn more about the product so that they can add it to their wish lists for municipal investments. “In big cities, where traffic regularly comes to a halt, driving vehicles out

Environmental requirements boost business Many aspects speak in EcoCycler’s favour. Existing customers return to Eur-Mark to upgrade their equipment in compliance with new environmental requirements, while new customers turn to the company in the hope of saving water, time and money. c

Oy Eur-Mark Ab Tel. +358 6 781 3400 Business sector: Sanitation aggregates Turnover 2008: €9.26 million Employees: 40 Export: 60% Major markets: Finland, Scandinavia, Baltic States


Over 40 years of cobalt

OMG Kokkola Chemicals focuses on quality and clean products.

OMG Kokkola Chemicals believes in its product development.


trong development of production processes, a growing production capacity and skilled staff. For years, these elements have kept OMG Kokkola Chemicals at the forefront of cobalt refining and production. Not that the company lacks experience either: it has operated in the field for more than 40 years. “Traditions are an obvious reason for the sector developing in this region. Another important factor is our solid competence, which drives business success,” says Heikki Pihlaja, Director of Inorganic Materials. OMG Kokkola Chemicals targets a broad sector. “We make cobalt powders and chemicals, which are used in fields such as powder metallurgy, rechargeable battery production and chemical catalysts. We mainly focus on batteries for mobile devices – and hope to make the automobile industry’s needs another main target in the future,” explains Pihlaja. Continuously improving quality OMG Kokkola is a part of the OM Group Inc., a global leader in the production of metal-based speciality chemicals and powders.

Mats Sandström

cupational safety, which is one way to promote high-quality production.” Energy – a growth field

“Ninety-nine per cent of OMG Kokkola’s production is exported. Asia is our biggest market area, followed by Europe,” says Pihlaja. According to him, product development and the staff ’s high level of expertise are the company’s great strengths. “Close cooperation with customers is an inherent part of product development. We also invest in quality, which has become increasingly important to us. Our products must be contaminant-free and of constant quality. In addition, we emphasize oc-

“Our experience guarantees high-quality, customized service to customers,” says Heikki Pihlaja.

Supported by its over 40 years in the business, OMG Kokkola Chemicals faces the cobalt markets confidently, aiming to further develop and grow amid increasing competition. “First and foremost on our mind is the energy sector, where batteries and the utilization of catalysts play an important part. We hope hybrid and electrical cars will become more common and opt for cobalt. Competition is tough in this field, so we must continue to improve. There’s no room for slackness here,” says Pihlaja. c

OMG Kokkola Chemicals Tel. +358 6 828 0111 Business sector: Metal-based speciality chemicals and powders Turnover 2008: €778 million Employees: 380 Export: 99% Major markets: Worldwide Quality management system: ISO 9001 Environmental management system: ISO 14001 Health and safety management system: OHSAS 18001 Parent company: OM Group Inc. 004161

coastline 2010  59

Boliden Kokkola uses the latest technology in its production.

One of the elite zinc plants

Mats Sandström

Boliden Kokkola offers experience, responsibility and production efficiency. Mats Sandström

ficiency, production economics and environmental friendliness,” says Jarmo Herronen, General Manager of the Kokkola plant. The parent company of Boliden Kokkola is Boliden AB, a leading European metal company specialized in exploration, mining, smelting and recycling. The Group’s main products are zinc and copper. Environmentally responsible


ith a production capacity of 306,000 tonnes, Boliden Kokkola is Europe’s second largest and the world’s fourth largest zinc plant. Zinc is used in thousands of products, ranging from skincare to massive steel structures. Most of the zinc produced by Boliden Kokkola is used by the steel industry. “We are one of the top-ranked zinc plants according to many important indicators, such as operational ef60  coastline 2010

“Taking care of the environment and occupational safety is a corner­ stone of our operations,” says Jarmo Herronen, General Manager of Boliden Kokkola.

Boliden Kokkola focuses on developing its production processes, the aim being to enhance efficiency, achieve cost savings and improve environmental performance. “At Boliden Kokkola, efficient production and respect for the environment go hand in hand. The plant uses the latest technology to operate in an environmentally friendly way. We aim to satisfy all the requirements that society sets in terms of the environment. The underlying goal of our activities is to ensure that the zinc plant can operate in Kokkola for another 40 years and even more. We must preserve the environment so that our children, too, can enjoy it and live here comfortably in the future,” says Herronen.

Importance of the future Boliden Kokkola considers it to be part of the company’s social responsibility to take environmental matters into consideration and show respect for them. Another similar aspect is occupational safety, which Herronen calls the foundation for all operations. “We have made big inputs into improving safety, and the results are encouraging. People’s health cannot be measured in money, and there’s no justification for sacrificing our health to produce zinc. When developing occupational safety, it is essential that the whole staff is involved in the process. Everybody’s attitude and contribution are crucial to results. However, development can only remain positive if we make a conscious effort to support it every day,” says Herronen. c Boliden Kokkola Oy Tel. +358 6 828 6111 Business sector: Zinc production Turnover: €192.4 million Employees: 520 Export: 85% Major markets: EU


W   ood must run

Nordautomation emphasizes product development and a learning organization.


ordautomation is a project company that specializes in log handling technology for the forest industry. The company’s marketing, design, project management and administration are located in Kristiinankaupunki, while its production takes place in Alajärvi. The roots of Nordautomation go back to the 1970s, when Pauli Ojala, the company’s managing director, founded a saw technology design agency in Kristiinankaupunki. Since 1999, the company has been a part of Lifco, a Swedish corporation. “What Nordautomation offers is projects that renew and improve customers’ production processes. Our customers value overall reliability, which means functional products,

fast deliveries and work that stays on schedule,” explains Pauli Ojala. Ekohell – complete combustion

Ekohell is one of the gems of Nordautomation’s product development.

The large economic fluctuations that have shaken the forest industry have enabled Nordautomation to focus on product development in slower times. The Ekohell product family is a good example of the outcome of years of design and product development. Designed for the utilisation of biomass for energy, Ekohell is a highly advanced, compact heating plant. It uses practically any type of biomass, including peat, chips, straw – even dried sludge. “The gridless, self-cleaning combustion chamber and post-combus-

tion chamber lead to exceptionally effective operation. Ekohell makes efficient use of fuel and keeps emissions to a minimum. To make the transfer to bioenergy as advantageous as possible, the combustion plant must accept every kind of biomass. This sets particularly tough requirements on the technology used, and Ekohell meets them superbly,” says Pauli Ojala. Learning organization In addition to product development, Nordautomation puts strong emphasis on staff development. According to the managing director, the company’s vision – to be “Europe’s best-performing log handling expert” – requires ongoing, comprehensive development from the whole organization. “Developing the skills of our employees is a continuous process. We do this by making the content of work more challenging through various development and training projects. We encourage boldness and everyday creativity and also take differing opinions into consideration,” Ojala points out. c

Aune Varonen

Nordautomation FI-64100 Kristiinankaupunki Tel. +358 20 761 6200 nordautomation@ “Staff development is a continuous process at Nordautomation,” says Pauli Ojala.


Production: Kuopiontie 19 FI-62900 Alajärvi Tel. +358 20 761 6200

coastline 2010  61

N   atural growth

Valioravinto is a part owner in four other Finnish companies with unique competence and equipment.

Valioravinto looks forward to the next 50 years.


alioravinto, a family company from Jakobstad, is Finland’s oldest health food company, which continues its healthy growth. The company was founded in 1960 by Bertel Pomoell, a pharmacist, and in 1994 it became the first Finnish company to receive a licence for both pharmaceuticals manufacturing and wholesale. Alongside its own manufacture and wholesale, Valioravinto has developed import and export operations, as well as contract manufacturing. “The same year we got our double licence, I drew up a new strategy for Valioravinto. The idea was to become part owners of other companies in the health and natural food sector so as to provide Valioravinto with new fields of expertise, products and raw material channels,” says Harri Pomoell, Managing Director and Board Chairman of Valioravinto. Market leader The strategy proved to be prosperous. Valioravinto now owns shares in Aromtech and three other Finnish natural food experts, all of which have promising market prospects. One of the company’s new sales successes is Omega 7, made by Aromtech.

62  coastline 2010

Mats Sandström

“We have found new cooperation partners with new products and grew 14 per cent in 2009, despite the recession,” says Harri Pomoell, Valioravinto’s Managing Director and the son of the company’s founder, pharmacist Bertel Pomoell.

“Our Omega 7 product – a sea buckthorn oil capsule – is the undisputed market leader in Finland and is sold in 17 European countries. Norbiox, a special manufacturer, is doing good business with its blueberry extract in Japan. We are also part owners in the Finnish companies Elixi Oil and Neomed, both from Somero, which have unique technologies for making flax-based products.” Long-lived products The flu seasons and media trends come and go, but Valioravinto stands steadfastly for long-lived health products. Some of the company’s items have been on the market for fifty years

– from the very beginning, that is – but Valioravinto also launches three to four new products every year. “One of our criteria for new products is that they must bring something new to the market. We aren’t interested in copying existing products,” says Harri Pomoell. c Oy Valioravinto Ab Tel. +358 6 781 7900 Business sector: Import, export, manufacture and wholesale of health and natural foods; contract manufacturing Turnover: €5.5 million Employees: 20 Export: 6% Major markets: Finland, Sweden, the Baltic States


H   igh-quality skin care The Dermoshop online store is a front-runner in its field.


strong brand and an advanced, interactive online store: these have been the success factors for Dermoshop, a company that sells and develops skin care and cosmetics products. Based in Korsnäs, Dermoshop launched its online store back in 1996 and has developed its online sales determinedly ever since. “Our customer magazine with six annual issues is an ideal complement to the online store. After all, a notable share of purchase decisions is still made after browsing the magazine in, say, workplace coffee rooms,” says Hanna Ristimäki, Dermoshop’s Information Manager. Having its own supply channel is a core element in Dermoshop’s brand construction. The company’s products are not available in stores. Instead, Dermoshop makes its own decisions on distribution and pricing. “Our products, which are mainly developed in the Nordic countries and for Nordic skin, offer an excellent price-quality ratio. We conduct ongoing testing to continuously develop our offering. Our line is vegetable oil-based, and we also carry many unscented products that have been granted the Allergy and Asthma Federation’s label,” explains Henry Backlund, Dermoshop’s Managing Director. Dermoshop, Pekka Mäkynen


Interaction Nearly 90 per cent of Dermoshop’s revenue comes from online sales, which have seen a steep increase in recent years. “In January 2010, we launched a new, eighth-generation website containing numerous additional services and more interactive features,” says Backlund. Close contact with customers is one of the company’s goals. “We want customers to actively participate in our operations, and not only through purchases. They can also participate in product develop­ ment, discuss ecological tips or product ingredients and take part in developing Dermoshop overall,” explains Ristimäki. Growth company Dermoshop introduces new products every two months. It now has about

Dermoshop products are user-friendly and made of the best raw materials.

200 products, divided into 12 different product families. “New product ranges and their launch are very important if we want to keep up with competition and enter new markets. We are set to expand from the Nordic countries and Estonia to the Russian market. This naturally calls for detailed planning, since the culture there is very different from ours,” Backlund adds. c

Dermoshop Oy Tel. +358 20 746 6400

Henry Backlund and Dermoshop will next turn to the Russian market.

Dermoshop Oy group also comprises the companies Guest Comfort Oy, ZAO Peter Pak and Vivisanté Finland Oy. Business sector: Webshop for skin care and cosmetics products Turnover 2009: €16.8 million Employees: 44 Major markets: Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Russia


coastline 2010  63

UPM Pietarsaari is a part of the new biofore Company UPM.

E  mphasis on the environment UPM is a front-runner of the new forest industry.


he UPM Pietarsaari pulp and paper mill is located in Pietarsaari on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia. “The pulp produced by the pulp mill is used for paper bags and sacks and as raw material in other industrial paper production. Slightly over 20 per cent of the mill’s production goes to the paper mill integrated with the pulp mill, but pulp is also delivered to other UPM mills and the free market. The two fibre lines produce softwood and hardwood pulp, which are mixed with sawdust pulp made at the cooking department. Most of the pulp is used at UPM’s own paper mills in Finland and Central Europe,” says Juha Kääriäinen, Mill Manager. UPM Pietarsaari paper mill uses the pulp to make white sack paper, as well as white and brown bag and technical papers. Respect for the environment In recent years, UPM has invested in environmental issues. One of the key long-term goals is to increase production without adding to the environmental load. Continuous improvement is important. “The pulp mill’s main environ64  coastline 2010

Mats Sandström

combining bio and forest industry expertise and technology. According to Kääriäinen, the Pietarsaari mill takes environmental aspects into consideration, among other things, by using environmentally friendly alternatives. “We aim to keep our fossil carbon emissions low. We no longer use heavy fuel oil, which we have replaced with tar oil – a by-product of tall oil production that is classified as a biofuel,” says Kääriäinen. c

UPM, Pietarsaari “An emphasis on green values is one of UPM Pietarsaari mills core policies,” says Juha Kääriäinen, Mill Manager.

mental target is to reduce the overall load on the environment. Moreover, we continue to make the mill more efficient in terms of energy use in compliance with UPM’s energy efficiency policies. The paper mill, in turn, aims to use less water and reduce its carbon footprint,” Kääriäinen adds. Biofore company Curbing emissions is one of the key policies of UPM. As a front-runner of the new forest industry, UPM wants to create added value from renewable and recyclable raw materials by

Luodontie 149 FI-68600 Pietarsaari Mail address: UPM, Pietarsaari PO Box 42 FI-68601 Pietarsaari


Tel. +358 204 16 113 Products: Bleached soft and hardwood pulp, packaging papers Production capacity: Pulp mill 800,000 t/a and paper mill 195,000 t/a Employees: about 450 Major markets: Europe Certificates: Quality: ISO 9001 Environment: ISO 14001 and EMAS Chain of Custody: The right to use the PEFC and FSC logos Working conditions: OHSAS 18001

Best-Hall is known for its durable industrial halls and sports facilities, but in the past few years the oil and gas industries in Kazakhstan have become important users of the weather-resistant Best-Halls.

A hall for every call Best-Hall gains a foothold in new fields.


he Caspian Sea has rich oil and gas deposits, but the weather conditions are tough on drillers – and their equipment. Best-Hall’s steel-framed PVC halls have braved the formidable Caspian weather since 2006, serving, among other things, as hotels for workers. “Drillers work several weeks in a row on the man-made islands located 20 to 30 kilometres offshore. What with a total ban on smoking, you really want the crew facilities to work perfectly,” says Leif Fagernäs, Deputy Managing Director of Best-Hall. The company’s Caspian orders began with a delivery to a NorwegianUS oil company in 2006. After that, Best-Hall has received orders from Exxon and other international oil businesses that have required halls for drilling projects in Kazakhstan. Exacting demands The customers’ demands are at least as tough as the weather conditions in the Caspian Sea. The know-how that Best-Hall has built up over the years was rewarded with the Innofinland Prize in 2007 and is invaluable in challenging projects. “In normal construction projects,

Mats Sandström

will be used to build halls 17 metres high, 50 metres long and 32 metres wide. “The halls erected in 2006 will also be dismantled and moved to another island, once the boreholes have been made and extraction can begin,” says Kempas. Versatile opportunities

it’s the price that counts, but oil companies want to know that we can carry out the project. Their daily expenses for oil and gas drilling are very high, so they must be able to trust their infrastructure 100 per cent,” explains Leif Kempas, Managing Director. Three new islands are currently under construction, and new BestHalls will be erected on them in May, ready for operations in autumn 2010. Best-Hall’s headquarters in Kälviä will ship 12-metre-long elements in containers to Kazakhstan, where they

“The halls look near identical on the outside, but their interiors vary depending on customer needs,” explain Leif Kempas, Managing Director, and Leif Fagernäs, Deputy Managing Director.

Best-Hall’s deliveries to the oil industry have coincided with the economic downturn, which has put investments in new industrial halls and sports halls on ice. The secret lies in being able to adapt the halls to customer needs, irrespective of the activities the halls are used for. The halls must also withstand every type of weather around the world. c Best-Hall Oy Tel. +358 6 832 5000 Business sector: Sales, planning, manufacture and erection of PVC-covered halls with steel frame Turnover 2008: €33.8 million Employees: 123 Export: 50% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates: ISO 9001:2000


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T  he key to successful projects FineWeld is an expert in prefabricated pipes.


okkola-based FineWeld is one of the biggest Nordic companies specialized in the manufacture and installation of industrial piping. What started as a one-man business has grown into a company with nearly one hundred employees. Taking into consideration its subcontractors, FineWeld employs around 250 people in all. “We make industrial pipes in the Jänismaa industrial area in Kokkola and do contracting work mainly in the Nordic countries. We have also carried out projects in the UK, Germany and Austria,” explains Matti Laitinen, the company’s founder and Managing Director.

The Kiruna mine project is one of FineWeld’s biggest projects in recent years.

Prefabricated products FineWeld has obvious strengths in the highly competitive sector. Reliable operations and deliveries play a key role, and the importance of fast deliveries should not be underestimated. “We provide our customers with comprehensive deliveries including pipes, steel structures and equipment. The pipes and structures are prefabricated in workshops and can be quickly installed by a small on-site team. Tightly scheduled investment projects, in which design and manufacture proceed hand in hand, are routine to us and one of the fields we excel in. Our goal is to transfer as much of the manufacturing process as possible to our own workshop. Only the installation of prefabricated products is carried out on customer premises,” explains Ville Klaavu, Sales Manager. According to him, FineWeld’s high level of preinstallation and efficient installation process ensure that the company can supply pipes all around the world. Moreover, special equipment, automation and good working conditions help to keep the quality of work high and even. A few projects at a time FineWeld’s biggest customers come from the mining, forest, chemical and process industries. It recently completed major projects at the Kiruna mine in northern Sweden and at the Talvivaara mine in Sotkamo, Finland, and is currently involved in a large project at the Boliden mines in 66  coastline 2010

“We use barcode technology to track material flows,” says Ville Klaavu, Sales Manager.

Gällivare, Sweden. Laitinen believes that focusing on a few big projects at a time leads to the best results. “When working on only a few Mats Sandström

projects at a time, the company can do a great job in every area of the process. If operational efficiency, planning and implementation all target the same area, both we and the customer benefit from excellent results. This is how we’ve always worked, and it has proved to suit us well,” says Matti Laitinen. c

FineWeld Tel. +358 6 823 4800 Business sector: Pipings for industrial investment projects Turnover: €31 million Employees: 90 Export: 55% Major markets: Nordic countries


In its strive to provide the best possible solutions to customers, Walki often cooperates intensively with the whole production chain, including raw material suppliers, packaging manufacturers and packaging companies.

C   overing the customer’s business Walki offers innovative partnership in barrier solutions.


urface is not everything, but in many cases it is essential. For example, in most packaging materials a protective and enhancing layer guarantees undamaged goods and provides marketing opportunities. This is where Walki’s core competence in packaging materials and barrier solutions comes in. Walki’s production falls into the three areas of paper packaging, consumer board and technical products. They share common technologies: extrusion coating and lamination. As a market leader in several fields, Walki still focuses on growth. A good example is the latest member of the Walki family, a plant producing ream wrappers in Jatne, Poland. “With its capacity for short runs and fast production, the plant is an excellent complement to our other operations. The plant has helped us strengthen our position in the Eastern European market, including Russia, where we now have our own distribution centre,” says Leif Frilund, President and CEO of Walki.

production capacity. An important one is a new production line for laminates for the insulation and building industry. “This is in line with our focus on sustainability. We want to participate in creating more energy-efficient solutions for the building industry,” says Leif Frilund. Walki has also made several investments in paper packaging production, a new printing machine at the Jakobstad plant in Finland being one of them. The plant is a cornerstone for manufacturing wrappers for the paper industry. “In paper packaging we are moving towards long-term partnership agreements with our customers. Our partnership with UPM-Kymmene is a good example of this,” says Leif Frilund.

“Walki is still looking for growth potential,” says Leif Frilund, President and CEO.

Service and innovation Along with the ability to offer innovative solutions to customers’ problems, Walki’s service concepts have been a trump card that has proven its strength during the global downturn. Another is new applications based on Walki’s existing technology and know-how. The most recent and possibly most exciting example is the antenna for RFID tags, found in subway tickets, among other things. “The market for communicating tags has an enormous growth potential, and considering both material and production, producing the antennas is just right for us,” says Leif Frilund. c

Walki Group Tel. +358 205 36 3111 Fax +358 205 36 9011 004163

Long-term agreements Heikki Tuuli

Aiming for growth, Walki has made investments to develop existing

Business sector: Protective packaging materials for the paper industry and for consumer packaging and a range of technical products, such as laminates for the insulation and building industry. Turnover 2008: €300 million Employees: 1,000 Major markets: Europe, Asia, North America

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Mats Sandström

B   usiness based on trust

Rani Plast makes customized packaging films and wrappings for trade, industry and agriculture. Pictured here is pallet wrapping.

Rani Plast offers packaging materials and good relationships. Mats Sandström

“Despite our growth, customers must be able to maintain close and personal contacts with company management. We’ll never become a faceless company,” says Ahlbäck. Everything is customized


e do business with people, and it’s people who use our products. Our close customer relations are based on mutual trust. They’re valuable to us and we want to maintain them also in the future,” says Mikael Ahlbäck, Managing Director of Rani Plast, a family business. The company is a major player in the packaging films and wrappings sector and has set itself the target of becoming one of the biggest European manufacturers in terms of volumes. This, however, must not jeopardize Rani Plast’s biggest trump cards: personal service and good customer relations. 68  coastline 2010

“Russia is an interesting market for us,” says Mikael Ahlbäck from Rani Plast, which is investing in its own plant for packaging materials in Kaluga, southwest of Moscow.

Rani Plast’s packaging materials and solutions are made of polyethylene and polypropylene and are divided into four groups. The biggest group addresses various industries, of which construction is the most significant one. The company’s other products target agriculture, retailers and printing houses. Irrespective of the customer group, plastics materials must always meet stringent requirements. The bulk of the products must be customized for each individual purpose. “Toilet paper wrapping is a good example of this. It consists of 15 components, is 0.023 millimetres thick and must cope with a speed of up to 170 packages a minute on the packaging machine,” explains Ahlbäck. North and east Rani Plast’s strategy for continued success also involves growth.

“We will get bigger in the Nordic countries, but we also want to expand eastward,” says Ahlbäck. To carry out its growth strategy in Russia, the company is constructing its own plant for plastics-based packaging material. The plant will be located in a new industrial park in Kaluga, 180 kilometres southwest of Moscow. It will produce 16,000 tonnes of packaging material a year and employ around 50 people. “Russia is an interesting market for high-quality packaging. Many Russians want to buy consumer products by big international brands, and it is exactly these brands that set high standards for their packaging materials,” says Ahlbäck. c

Rani Plast Tel. +358 20 768 0111 Fax +358 20 768 0200 Business sector: Polyethylene and polypropylene films for packaging, agriculture and industry Turnover 2008: €139 million Employees: 500 Export: 50% Major markets: Europe Certificates: ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 004157

Mats Sandström

I t’s the tools that matter

“We have a solution for any activity involving tubes and pipes,” says Erkki Kaijasilta.

T-Drill is a responsible pioneer in tube and pipe fabrication equipment.


ne of the world’s leading companies in its field, T-Drill offers a variety of products and solutions for pipe jointing, pipe end forming and chipless cut-off, among other things. The company’s fundamental patent, the T-Drill collaring method, was developed 40 years ago and still represents unique competence. “In addition to product development, we have increased our emphasis on marketing. This means that we work closer to customers to ensure that they get the right kind of information about us,” explains Erkki Kaijasilta, Managing Director. New applications The company’s operations, which started with pipe collaring, have expanded over the decades and today also encompass machines and devices for tube cutting, handling and forming. T-Drill tube and pipe fabrication machines are used around the world in numerous sectors ranging from the automotive and shipbuilding industries to the HVAC segment. Tubes shaped with the company’s products can be found under vehicle bonnets, on ships and in cooling,

heating and air conditioning systems. “We have a solution for any activity involving pipes and tubes. Our operations have also expanded to applications for heavy-duty pipes, meaning pipes with thick walls. They are used by equipment manufacturers and the heat pump sector, as well as in water treatment,” says Kaijasilta. Customer-oriented T-Drill aims to keep up to date on future customer needs and to provide customers with important added value in pipe fabrication. The company

T-Drill’s machines are used in the automotive, HVAC, plumbing, shipbuilding, stainless steel, food and dairy industries, as well as for tube components and water purification.

wants to stand out from its competitors by offering global presence. “Customer satisfaction is the basis of all operations. Customers must feel we offer just the right product for their needs. We also want to clearly communicate that we continuously develop every aspect of our operations, that we aren’t standing still,” says Kaijasilta. Over 90 per cent of T-Drill’s products are exported – mainly to Europe, the USA and the Far East. Eastern Europe and Russia are growing markets. New forms of energy also open up opportunities. “The growth in the popularity of solar power solutions and heat pumps is also reflected in our operations. Major equipment manufacturers trust the quality of T-Drill,” Kaijasilta adds. c T-Drill Tel. +358 6 475 3333 Component manufacturing in Isokyrö: Tel. +358 6 471 5500


Business sector: Tube and pipe processing technologies Turnover 2009: €15 million Employees: 100 Export: Over 90% Major markets: Worldwide

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G   iants need strong feet

Big and heavy machines move smoothly on tracks.

A. Häggblom breaks new ground.


eavy machinery needs to be moved from site to site. A. Häggblom, an engineering shop in Kokkola, is a Nordic market leader in tracked undercarriages. Its customer base includes the mining and metal industry, which plunged

“Caterpillar tracks must carry huge loads, which means that welding must be first-rate,” says John Hagnäs, Managing Director of A. Häggblom. Mats Sandström

in autumn 2008 after several hectic years, giving A. Häggblom some breathing space. “Nothing has totally disappeared, but volumes have dropped markedly. We have come up with new areas for our products, and the mining industry will return once the global metal markets pick up,” says John Hagnäs, Managing Director. Heavy machines Meanwhile, A. Häggblom has found customers in new markets and has also developed new products, such as the undercarriage designed for a line of pile driving rigs made by Junttan. The product is already in serial production, and when the rigs were type-tested in the Netherlands, A. Häggblom’s undercarriage received special praise in the final assessment. Tracks have mostly been used on soft terrain, but the port cranes made by Mantsinen have offered another field of use for A. Häggblom’s undercarriages. Tracked cranes make the loading and unloading of vessels more precise and transports more flexible compared to traditional cranes that move on rails. Loads of 50 to

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200 tonnes are a real test to the crane undercarriages. “Our welding is first-rate, and we’re known in Europe for always delivering reliable products of high quality.” Good old service In addition to production, A. Hägg­ blom engages in import business and spare part sales and offers general consultation and overhaul for large machinery undercarriage. “During our 50 years in business, we have built up contacts and gained trust in the sector. If a problem occurs at a mine in, say, Murmansk, they contact us, asking where to get hold of a certain kind of a track or spare part. We look into the matter and deliver the product,” Hagnäs explains. c

Ab A.Häggblom Oy Tel. +358 207 658 200 Business sector: Metal products for earth-moving machines Turnover 2008: €28 million Employees: 80 Export: Indirectly appr. 90% Major markets: Finland and Northern Europe


Scott Health & Safety have operated in Vaasa for 70 years.

S  eventy years of experience Scott Health & Safety Oy is Europe’s leading respirator manufacturer.


he emergence of Finnish respirator production goes back to the 1920s and the armed forces. During the Winter War of 1939– 1940, new respirator workshops were set up at the Vaasa gas protection depot, which is where Scott Health & Safety also traces its roots. The products were sold under the Kemira Safety brand until 2000, when Scott Technologies, from the USA, took over. Two years later, the company became a part of the multinational Tyco International corporation. “We have operated in Vaasa for 70 years. The merger made us a strong Finnish element in a large corporation. It also enabled us to make new investments, offered a broader product range through our sister companies and gave us access to a global retail network,” explains Göran Sjöblom, Plant Director of Scott Health & Safety Oy.

as a part of a big corporation presents a number of challenges. “We work in an international environment. In addition to working in another language, we must cope with the rapid changes of a big organization. The company develops new products and carries out projects on a tight schedule. Requirements such as these push and encourage us towards even better results,” says Sjöblom. According to him, the strengths of the Finnish unit are obvious. “The Vaasa plant is the Group’s specialist in filter manufacture. Superior technological competence and a high level of automation raise our production profile. We are an important and critical part of the corporation, since we also make filters for other Group companies. Cost-effectiveness becomes a major consideration when operating in Finland, but we have also done well in this respect.”

Respirator expert

Bright future

Full face masks and powered air purifying respirators, filters, welding shields, and various eye and face shields form the base for Scott Health & Safety Oy’s product line. Working

The future of Scott Health & Safety Oy looks busy. The plant has been a target of continuous investments, and the Group’s big product development projects also involve the Vaasa unit,

Mats Sandström

“We are an important and critical part of the corporation,”says Göran Sjöblom.

which manufactures the filters used in the projects. According to Sjöblom, the products of Scott Health & Safety are used widely in different areas of society. “Our market segments cover the chemical and construction industries, agriculture, oil and gas refineries, nuclear power plants, painting shops, the armed forces, civil defence and the police.” c Scott Health & Safety Oy Vaasa Tel. +358 6 324 4511 004141

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C   omprehensive metal services Leinolat Group believes in the energy market.

enables us to offer solutions truly tailored to individual needs. Customers can work with only one of us or go for a customized package that includes services from several of our companies,” explains Raimo Leinola. During its 48 years of existence, Leinolat Group has grown from a small family business into a versatile metal services corporation. “Our operations are still guided by the fundamental values of our family company. The group’s strength lies in our solid and in-depth knowledge of ventilation solutions, metal products and metal services,” says Raimo Leinola. Strong belief in the energy sector


einolat Group is a corporation comprised of six companies, which offers comprehensive metal services and solutions to its customers. The group expanded in 2009, when Uwira Oy, a group company that specializes in welded products and components, signed a contract with its long-term partner, Kilkanen Oy. The latter provides demanding and versatile CNC machining for medium-heavy industry. The corporation also came to include LVILeinolat Oy, a ventilation contractor, in 2009. “These additions increase the competitiveness of our group and enable us to strengthen our operations – also in view of exports and international operations,” says Raimo Leinola,

Leinolat Group offers comprehensive metal services and solutions to its customers.

Leinolat Group has expanded into a corporation of six companies. From the left Samuli Kuusisto (Uwira Oy), Arto Laasanen (Adiabatix Oy), Juha Jerohin (LviLeinolat Oy) and Jouni Kilkanen (Kilkanen Oy). Raimo Leinola and Pekka Leinola in the back row.

Managing Director of Leinolat Group. Of the other group companies, Vamec Oy focuses on sheet metal mechanics and on products made by punching and folding, while ­Adiabatix Oy offers industrial insulation solutions for demanding environments, such as ship engines, nuclear power plants and oilrigs. Oy Leinolat Ab, established in 1962, is the oldest of the six companies. It supplies turnkey ventilation systems and manufactures bespoke sheet metal products of high quality. Excellent overall competence “We are a corporation of mediumsized companies, each of which works on its own but also participates in joint projects, when required. This Mats Sandström

Large energy industry companies form the group’s main customer base. Leinolat Group exports around 70 per cent of its production, and its products are found on every continent. This is also where the group’s future challenges lie. “We must continue to improve our international operations and look for big manufacturers that are interested in comprehensive solutions. We are also developing our own export activities and have established customer relations in France, the Netherlands and Germany, among other places. Leinolat Group is strongly focused on the energy sector and firmly believes in the sector’s future. “We believe that the energy sector will play an important role in the future, irrespective of the kind of power plants we are dealing with. Adiabatix, for example, has gained a foothold in nuclear power plant operations, and the opportunities for renewable energy continue to improve.” c

Leinolat Group Tel. +358 6 280 0000 Fax +358 6 361 6550 004140

Business sector: Pressure vessels, prefabricated and bended pipes, advanced insulation solutions, high-quality sheet metal products and mechanics, ventilation & air conditioning solutions and CNC-controlled machining Turnover 2009: €35 million Employees: 225 Export: 60% Major markets: Europe, USA Certificates: ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004, EN ISO 3834-2:2005

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LKI’s ASLUL tower for the material handling of lasercutting machines has become a success, with nearly 200 units installed, mainly for European customers.

S  olutions to connect processes LKI expands with logistics technology and FMS.


Mats Sandström

or 15 years, LKI has concentrated on developing automated sheet metal handling equipment in close cooperation with the Japanese company Amada. This will remain one of LKI’s cornerstones. With laser technology becoming increasingly common in sheet metal processing in recent years, product development has been focusing on automation for laser cutting machines. “We will see significant development and great improvements in the application of new laser technologies in the near future,” predicts Leif Käldman, Managing Director of LKI Käldman.

Service concepts enhance customer relations

Utilization of knowledge The company now focuses on offering its automation and equipment construction skills to other niches working with logistics technologies and automation equipment for machine tools. Projects related to logistics technologies are often quite big, and LKI offers overall solutions for specific parts of large projects. “Our competence in project management, machine construction and production technology, as well as

and logistics. All of these together enable production machines to be run at a much higher rate of efficiency.”

our comprehensive service offering, enable us to provide customers with tailored, cost-effective solutions that give a considerable competitive advantage,” says Käldman. Machine tool automation mainly involves FMS systems, which make it possible to run production unmanned or with just a small staff. “The advantages of FMS systems include rational production planning along with efficient material handling

“LKI’s strengths lie in its innovative and modular automation solutions and service concepts. They enable fast installation, high reliability and low maintenance expenses, leading to long-term and profitable investments to customers,” says Leif Käldman.

As the number of products delivered by LKI continues to grow, the aftermarket is becoming an increasingly important part of operations. It also creates good and lasting customer relations. “We offer a service concept that covers the entire life cycle of equipment, including installation, training, maintenance, support and modernization. As the machines now include more and more high technology and projects grow bigger, we have developed our services to better meet the customers’ needs,” Käldman adds. c LKI Käldman Tel. +358 6 781 5400 Business sector: Automation for material handling Turnover 2008: €17.8 million Employees: 100 Export: 95% Major markets: Europe


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U   nique printing house

Botnia Print’s new facilities feature top-notch printing technology.

Botnia Print has the fastest and best printing equipment in the field. Mats Sandström

Antti Porko, Managing Director of Botnia Print. Keskipohjanmaan Kirjapaino owns two-thirds and HSS Media one-third of the company. Cutting-edge printing press


otnia Print is a joint venture set up by Keskipohjanmaan Kirjapaino, a printing house, and HSS Media. It will begin to print the two corporations’ 16 publications in new facilities, which are to be completed in mid-2010. The goal of the joint venture is to secure the future development and existence of the Groups’ products. “What we also expect to get from this solution is a competitive advantage that enables us to offer superior quality to our customers,” explains

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“Botnia Print merges the strengths of two experienced printing houses,” says Antti Porko, Managing Director.

The new publishing house has topmodern printing equipment. The KBA Cortina press, made in Germany, is based on a waterless offset system and offers several performance-enhancing features. It is nearly three times more efficient than older equipment. “The print quality is excellent – in a class of its own in the Nordic countries. The press is also fast and can print nearly 80,000 newspapers an hour. In addition, our advanced mailing system enables near limitless product development,” Porko explains.

does not use any water. Furthermore, the press does not need any solvents while running, which adds to its ecological nature. Oil is only used to lubricate the components. The volume of waste paper decreases considerably, and one can well say that the technological leap in quality and service is huge,” says Porko. Even though electronic data transfer is extending its hold of the market, Porko remains positive about the future of print. “We don’t believe the printed word will die out: printed publications are important to our customers both now and in the future. Electronic media do not exclude printed newspapers and magazines. Rather than see the two types as opposites, we should think of them as supporting one another,” says Porko. c

Botnia Print

Environmentally friendly and efficient

Tel. +358 20 750 4400 &

According to Porko, functionality, competitiveness and ecological features were crucial factors when selecting the printing press. “As its name suggests, the system

Business sector: Printing and publishing Turnover est. 2010: €10 million Employees: 25 Major markets: Finland and Northern Europe


B   ig beef business

Snellman lies in the middle of Finland’s beef belt. Over 90 per cent of the meat comes from farms within a radius of 100 kilometres.

Mr Snellman grows without gaining weight.


Mats Sandström

he trustworthiness of foodstuffs and suppliers has become increasingly important in the food industry. Snellman enjoys strong consumer trust as shown, for example, by the company’s financial growth year after year. Fresh sells well In 2009, Snellman had its hands full delivering new orders despite the widespread economic downturn. One of the underlying growth drivers was the company’s national advertising campaign for minced meat, which attracted a great deal of attention. Snellman approached consumers to tell them that its minced meat is made of unfrozen, fresh meat, which can full well be frozen at home. ­“ This was a first in minced meat marketing, even though the product is a staple on household grocery lists. Finns buy millions of kilos of minced meat every year, but no one in the meat industry had previously told customers that frozen meat is often used in the production process,” says Martti Vähäkangas, Snellman’s Managing Director. This information increased Snellman’s mince sales by 30 per cent,

and although the company is located in the middle of Finland’s ‘pork and beef belt’ it suffered from occasional raw material shortage because of the growth in demand. East and west Snellman has also grown abroad, both east and west. It acquired a processed food plant in Sweden and continued to build its brand and look for new sales channels in Russia.

“More and more consumers want to know where their food originates and how it has been produced,” says Martti Vähäkangas, Managing Director of Snellman.

“Mr Snellman is not the group’s only brand; there are others both in Finland and abroad.” This makes Snellman’s products more attractive to consumers since they can be labelled as being locally produced and can be adapted to national likes and tastes. The company’s exports also include assorted frozen meat products that are transported in containers to New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Japan, South Korea and Canada. “Frozen meat assortments are important merchandise in international B2B trading. Snellman also exports this type of goods from Jakobstad to far-away countries,” says ­V ähäkangas. c

Oy Snellman Ab Tel. +358 6 786 6111 Business sector: Meat and processed meat and food products Turnover 2009: €170 million Employees: 750 Export: 8% Major markets: Finland, Sweden, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Japan Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 14001 004128

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T  he heat is on Scancool recycles heat.

Hot storage in a cold environment or vice versa – Scancool has the technology.


cancool is one of Finland’s biggest suppliers of industrial refrigeration systems and large heat pumps. Its products are used, for example, by big and small food producers, the process industry and indoor ice rinks. “Cooling technology is still our main business, but we are also increasing our investments in large scale heat pumps 0.2 MW–10 MW, which offer industry new options for heat recovery,” says Jonny Asplund, Managing Director of Scancool. Proven efficiency Industry is increasingly keen to stop wasting energy. Scancool’s heat pumps offer good performance and efficiency at prices that ensure that the investment pays back quickly – in as little as 18 months. “Heat recovery is nothing new, but we have developed an efficient system that is based on proven cooling technology. Pumps use waste heat to heat water to a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius, so you can use it in your own heating system, sell it to your neighbour or supply it to a district heating system,” Asplund explains. A pilot project at the Snellman food plant in Jakobstad showed that the system also works in practice. In 2008, it saved the company 400 tonnes of oil,

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Mats Sandström

“The staff’s high level of education has contributed to our shared, overall technical competence and our ability to develop products,” says Jonny Asplund and Peter Nygård.

which translates to some €100,000. Several facilities with a thermal effect of over 1 MW are currently under construction all around Finland. International investment In October 2009, Sitra and Wedeco got a share in Scancool by investing capital and competence in the company. “This gives us financial muscle to make international investments. The competence and contact network of the new partners are also invaluable,” says Peter Nygård, Managing Director of Ahlskog Holding. Scancool will initially focus on Europe and Russia, where business has already been launched. The company’s long-term goal, however, is the global market.

“It feels good to make a big investment with this product – and with skilled partners,” Nygård adds. Nevertheless, Scancool does not plan to abandon cooling systems to become Scanheat. “Absolutely not, we will continue to develop cooling systems, but they will remain in Finland for the time being,” says Jonny Asplund. c

Oy Scancool Ab Tel. +358 207 281 868 Business sector: Industrial refrigeration, industrial heat pumps Turnover 2009: €13 million Employees: 58 Export: 5% Major markets: Europe


S  mart containers

Fluid-Bag’s innovation is used in various industries from sensitive foods to viscous coatings.

Fluid-Bag focuses on expansion.


nyone who has carried a coffee cup across the room knows how difficult it can be to handle liquids without spilling them. Fluid-Bag in Jakobstad is an expert in packages for large volumes of industrial liquids, ranging from sensitive foods to viscous coatings. The company’s customers fall into three groups, each of which calls for a different skill set: food and pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and inks and lubricants. “Customers often have products that require special handling. We want to learn about the customers’ individual needs so that we can adapt our offering and maximize the benefits to customers throughout the logistics chain,” says Jan Backman, who has worked as Fluid-Bag’s Managing Director since February 2009. Ingenious products A package that can fit 1,000 litres weighing up to 2,200 kg, but itself weighs less than five kilos, is a tough one for competitors to beat. Moreover, once the package has been emptied it can be compressed for return transportation to recycling. This frees customers from dealing with large

Mats Sandström

increase production volumes, FluidBag is now putting more emphasis on sales and marketing. Clever sales approach

containers that require considerable transport space. “The products are ingenious and very up-to-date, but we also have to convince new customers and the customers of our customers of their advantages.” Industry in Western Europe – especially in Germany – has already grasped the benefits of Fluid-Bag’s offering. Over 90 per cent of the clientele consists of returning customers. Since the company’s production unit in Jakobstad has the capacity to

“The outlook for our products is good, as industry shows a growing interest in reducing freight volumes,” says Jan Backman, Managing Director of Fluid-Bag.

One of the company’s clear goals is to increase sales in the USA. “We have our own sales agents there and are now targeting new customer groups. What we must do is foster cooperation with customers and exhibit the various ways in which our products can be used. When entering new lines of business, we have to take a humble approach and learn about the customers’ operations. Although our containers are easy to fill and discharge, we help customers to get started with our equipment,” says Backman. c Fluid-Bag Ltd Tel. +358 20 779 0444 Business sector: Container systems for handling liquids in industrial quantities Turnover 2008: €8 million Employees 2008: 49 in Finland and 18 in Thailand Export: 94% Major markets: Europe and South-East Asia


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Mats Sandström

S  afety comes first

Safety issues have been made top priority at OSTP, producer of stainless steel pipes, tubes and fittings.

Safety is top priority at OSTP.


utokumpu Stainless Tubular Products Oy Ab has taken a target-oriented approach to continuously improving occupational safety. Heavy lifting, welding and hazardous materials are part of everyday work at OSTP Jakobstad Works, producer of longitudinally welded stainless steel pipes, tubes and fittings. “Safety and environmental matters are at the top of the agenda at every meeting,” says Bengt Råbacka, General Manager. Good results from changes in attitude Safety issues have been made top priority in the entire Outokumpu Group. It is a long-term process aiming to achieve permanent changes in attitude by providing extensive training to the whole personnel. Employees at all levels are involved in environmental and safety matters and are also encouraged to be alert to risky work phases. In practice this means that safety issues are discussed at meetings, safety rounds are made on the premises and detailed reports are made on accidents, near-accidents and risks. All safety indicators are regularly followed up.

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“Safety work is one way to take care of the personnel,” says Bengt Råbacka, General Manager at OSTP.

“It should be easy for everyone to report risks and near-accidents and it is important that necessary corrective actions are taken within a given time frame. Some risks are obvious and easy to eliminate, but much of safety work involves changing attitudes and taking more preventive measures. The use of protective equipment has to be an obvious and natural part of work, while bad habits and prejudices have to be eliminated,” says Råbacka. Mats Sandström

Fresh views As you easily become blind to familiar things, Outokumpu has also turned to outside experts. “DuPont is a global pioneer in occupational safety. Jakobstad Works is one of the plants that DuPont’s representatives have visited to inspect the facilities from a safety perspective. In fact, they pointed out several risk factors that we were not aware of,” Bengt Råbacka admits. Active safety work has led to positive results and two years ago the OSTP unit received the Outokumpu Safety Award. The target however remains the same: to become even better. c Outokumpu Stainless Tubular Products Oy Ab Tel. +358 6 786 5111 Fax +358 6 786 5222 004135

Business sector: Longitudinally welded stainless steel pipes, tubes and fittings Turnover 2008: €138 million Employees: 200 Export: 80% Major markets: Worldwide, major markets in Europe Certificates: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 Parent company: Outokumpu Oyj Turnover 2008: €5,474 million Employees: 7,500

S  ynergistic logistics

The Vaasa Airport Logistics Center will emphasize the development of air cargo services.

Vaasa Airport Logistics Center responds to growth.


he Vaasa Airport Logistics Center (VALC) concept aims to attract businesses to the air cargo centre and commit them to its further development. The project is coordinated by the Vaasa Region Development Company, VASEK, and will be carried out side by side with the actual construction work. The Airport Logistics Center will rise on the northern part of the airport right next to the Vaasa A ­ irport Park. The primary target group consists of air cargo service providers, expeditors and officials. Passenger airlines and passenger routes are also one of the focus areas. “Industry in and around Vaasa has grown considerably in recent years, but the region’s infrastructure has not kept pace with the development. This project is one of many aiming to find ways to improve overall logistical operations in the region,” says Riitta Björkenheim, Development Manager at VASEK. Challenging air logistics Logistics is an important contributor to the attractiveness of all regions and a critical success factor for companies. “When companies search for suitable operating locations, logistics is right at the top of the list. Global

Mats Sandström

Regional significance

companies compete on global markets where time and money are of the essence,” says Björkenheim. Air logistics is one of the key elements of the system and its development largely depends on the needs of the region’s industry. All of the development activities and potential of the concept are thought over in close cooperation with the region’s companies. “As our work showed, local industry must produce enough sufficiently valuable cargo for air transport to be worthwhile. Companies in this region can secure a sufficient base load for operators and therefore this region is a lucrative market area for air cargo operators. Problems arise since there is yet no specific air cargo terminal and because of the challenges surrounding the whole airline industry.”

“Developing logistics in the Vaasa region is very important to the region and its economy,” says Riitta Björkenheim from VASEK.

Björkenheim also points out that development projects must primarily serve local players and the Vaasa region overall, and VALC can subsequently be developed into a logistical hub for the whole central part of Finland. The future location of VALC will offer an exceptional hub for four different forms of traffic. “The location is excellent, almost unique: nowhere else can air, road, rail and sea transports converge like this,” says Tommi Tuominen, Logistics Expert at VASEK. “Air logistics is clearly the most challenging part of these projects, but I would like to emphasize the importance of the whole system and the role of all modes of transport. It is our task to speak up for the industry and the logistics operators,” adds Björkenheim. c

Vaasa Airport Logistics Center Tel. +358 44 512 6612 / Björkenheim Tel. +358 44 516 7224 / Tuominen &


Business sector: Logistics Development Projects

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Mats Sandström

T  he link to the world JNT offers flexible solutions for telecommunications. Mats Sandström

optical fibre networks, the company is still owned by almost 10,000 private shareholders in the region. “We believe that our strength lies in our presence in the region. JNT is owned by households and companies; we operate here and we understand the region and its needs in depth. In case of disturbances or problems, it is very easy for our customers to turn to us for personal service and a fast reply,” says Maria Höglund, Managing Director. Benefitting the region


n important job that cannot be seen, but is nevertheless crucial for life and business in the region. That is, in brief, the role of  JNT, a telecom company in the Jakobstad region. JNT started out as a company providing telephone services in 1887, and, as many others at that time, as a community initiative. Now a modern and progressive company providing the region with

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“Hosting is increasing in popularity at JNT. This means that companies can focus on their core business, leaving the responsibility for the service and safety of their servers to us,” says Maria Höglund.

JNT offers a big range of telecom services, including VoIP (telephone calls over the Internet) and optical fibre networks. As for the latter, the Jakobstad region is top of the range in Finland. “We are constantly enlarging the fibre network within our region. Wherever you live or your company is based, we have the readiness to include you in the network,” says Maria Höglund. JNT has been very successful despite its relative smallness. This stems, in part, from being locally based, but also from a mutual interest with its customers.

Local telecom companies are typical of Finland. JNT has provided the region of Jakobstad with telecom services for more than a century.

“We work for the benefit of our region. That is our mission. We must ensure economic soundness, but don’t have the same pressures of profit making that many national and international telecom enterprises have.” Internationally orientated The Jakobstad region has always been and still is internationally orientated. This is also seen in the services of JNT. “We offer data links for companies with offices or production units in different countries, as well as TV channel sets especially adapted for our region, a region with people that want to keep their eyes and minds open to the world,” Maria Höglund says. c

JNT (Jakobstadsnejdens Telefon Ab) Tel. +358 6 786 8111 Fax +358 6 786 8199 004126

Business sector: Information technology, communications and telecom Turnover 2008: €12.4 million Employees: 58

T  op expert in the TV business Extensive offering from Anvia.


Mats Sandström

nvia TV is the latest business area of Anvia Plc (formerly known as Vaasan Läänin Puhelin). It comprises Anvia TV Oy (formerly Finnsat Oy) and Hibox Systems Oy. Anvia TV covers almost the entire value chain of TV technology services and equipment. It provides broadcasters, operators, consumer electronics chains, antenna installation companies and hotels with services and equipment. “One of our main goals is to expand the provision of services throughout the chain. We already have strong skills in acquiring TV channels and delivering content to cable and IPTV operators. We really hope to grow in this field and also to find new service areas,” explains Marianne Hynninen, CEO of Anvia TV. Digital Signage is one of the newest areas. The core business of Anvia TV is importing and developing TV equipment. Consumers know Finnsat and Humax set-top boxes. For antenna installation companies there is a wide range of products from antennas to optical products. Bigger systems include, for example, satellite systems for broadcasters, SNG and outdoor production cars and headends for operators. HDTV makes headway Satellite, cable and IPTV networks already use HDTV (high-definition TV) in Finland. In terrestrial DVBT2 networks, the UK and Finland are pioneers. “It will affect the whole TV value chain from content management to set-top boxes in homes. This is a trend we strongly believe in. At least two high-definition multiplexes will be set up in Finland in 2010,” explains Hynninen. Growth is seen in all of Anvia TV’s business areas. According to Hynninen, future challenges are linked to the expansion of business fields. “People consider digital video recorders, high-definition televisions and related development to be a natural part of life, and demand in the field is good.” IPTV is growing fast IPTV, a television service delivered over broadband connections, is grow-

ing all over the world. Hibox Systems provides IPTV middleware, which has a big market share in Finland. The middleware covers all basic functions, as well as NPVR and VideoOn-Demand. The middleware is reliable and easy to use, making it well suited for hospitality deployments. “The excellent characteristics of this product will help us launch it in many other European countries as

Anvia TV covers almost the entire value chain of TV services.

well. Now we need to find a partner for that,” says Hynninen. “Additionally, we want to develop our set-top-box business to also include IPTV receivers. Hybrid models, that is, IPTV combined with terrestrial or cable tuners are also a very interesting field, for they bring additional channels and Video-OnDemand to terrestrial and cable households as well.” c

Camilla Ostberg

Anvia TV Tel. +358 207 420 100 Business sector: TV technology and services Turnover 2008: €16.7 million Employees: 37 Major markets: Finland and Estonia. Hibox IPTV middleware targets all of Europe


Anvia Plc Tel. +358 6 411 4111 Business sector: Telecom, IT, TV and Security Turnover 2008: €95 million Employees: 710 Major markets: Finland and Estonia


According to CEO Marianne Hynninen, Anvia TV aims to grow.

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T  ransport and IT logistics is a   Ahola Transport broadens their services.


hese days, Ahola Transport offers its customers an increasingly wide range of services in addition to normal transports. This involves, for example, creating flexible multi-party logistics and developing systems that optimize the customers’ goods flows. In this never-ending pursuit of optimized processes and flows, Ahola Transport has spotted a missing link in many companies: very few have an IT system designed to make production and transportation meet. For more than a decade the transport company has de-

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Ahola Transport has spotted a missing link in many companies: very few have an IT system designed to make production and transportation meet.

veloped and used its own system for logistics, Attracs Dynamics. Today Attracs is also a division within the Ahola Group and offers tailor-made logistic systems based on the user’s own business logic. “Attracs functions as a link between our customers’ production and the transport sector’s own systems. We seamlessly modify the IT system according to the customers’ business needs instead of the other way round, which is usually the case,” says Peter Grankulla, Managing Director for Attracs.

Using a system like Attracs frees resources for key activities and minimizes transport costs. Thanks to Attracs being business-oriented instead of system-oriented, the IT system can grow in parallel with the companies’ operations. “A helicopter view is important in the logistics sector, and I believe it is something we have – in addition to long experience of creating dynamics, since we draw up transport routes according to customer needs on a daily basis,” says Grankulla.

perfect match Direct deliveries Ahola Transport certainly has the right experience for creating logistics solutions. The more than 50-year-old family company remains true to its values – general liability, transparency and respect for the individual – and offers a wide range of services in transport. Ahola Transport’s operations are based on direct transports and transport hubs, which are more flexible and faster than traditional terminals. Hubs are reloading points, where a large number of vehicles can

be optimized simultaneously. Transport planners play a significant role in the Ahola way of working. “Our transport planners take responsibility for each transport from beginning to end. The fact that one single person controls the transport is a guarantee for safety and flexibility,” says Kaj Fagerholm, Managing Director of Ahola Transport. Anything bulky As well as traditional transports within Finland, the AT Special Trans-

Ahola Transport works with direct transports all over Europe, being especially strong in Northern and Central Europe and the Baltic countries.

“We stand for openness, overall responsibility and respect for the individual in all our business relations,” say Jonas Ahola, Kaj Fagerholm and Peter Grankulla. Mats Sandström

port division offers international transports of most goods described as exceptionally long, large or heavy. “Our skills and equipment are suited for demanding transportation. A good example would be the transportation of constructions for bridges. We like to work with transports that call for a project approach, where planning and an understanding of permits and regulations, for example, play a big part,” says Jonas Ahola, Managing Director of AT Special Transport. Benefitting from their knowledge in transport and logistics, Ahola Transport aims to work with their customers as a partner in logistics, offering a broad range of services. “Our customers meet increasing demands in logistics and need support to create transparency in their processes. This is where our future lies,” says Kaj Fagerholm. c

Oy Ahola Transport Ab Tel. +358 20 747 5111 Fax +358 20 747 5333 004114

Business sector: Transport services Turnover 2008: €79.2 million Employees: 190 Export: 95% Major markets: Northern and Central Europe Quality assurance systems: ISO 9001, ISO 14001

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L  egal expertise with a   Roschier offers business law solutions locally, nationally and internationally.

Mikael Weckström


orthern Europe has grown into a bustling internal market where fast-growing local markets open up with the help of high-quality regional service providers. Law firm Roschier’s international strategy has been to maintain its independence, while part of a regional combine, exploiting its international networks to the full benefit of its clients. Since the early 1990s, the Nordic and Baltic countries have seen countless cross-border mergers, acquisitions and off-shoring projects. Today, the area is littered with businesses that are distinctly Northern European in scope. “We have systematically developed our practice to cater to the regional market that has formed within the 84  coastline 2010

The Roschier Vaasa office has been operating since 1994. From the left: Kim Åstrand, Leena Lilius and Stefan Wikman.

Nordic and Baltic countries,” says Stefan Wikman, Partner and head of Roschier’s Vaasa office. Roschier began its own process of Northern convergence in 2004, when it set up RoschierRaidla, an integrated cross-border operation of leading Baltic law firms. In 2005, the firm set up an office in Stockholm, Sweden. The Vaasa office has been operating since 1994 and is a fully integrated part of Roschier. “A regional service concept makes sense for us, because it makes sense for our clients. Our presence covers the key locations in Northern Europe, even beyond our own offices and networks, since we have well-established ‘best friends’ relationships with the top firms in the region. Clients value the fact that they can get assistance

in the whole area from one source, and they also appreciate that we are physically present here in Vaasa,” says Wikman. Roschier’s clients include listed companies, technology and telecom companies, private equity players, banks and lending institutions as well as governmental authorities. The clients of Roschier’s Vaasa office also include mid-size technology, energy and growth companies and several public institutions. A significant share of these clients operates internationally, and internationalization requires legal advice and assistance in various areas. The core practice areas in Vaasa are corporate advisory and general commercial law, transactions, and green economy and energy, but the office has also a strong position in

northern scope Jessica Lindgren

real estate law, labour law and dispute resolution. “Roschier aims to continuously develop sustainable client relationships and to offer high-end legal services and independent advice. We strive to develop, retrieve, pool and utilize the knowledge and experience of all the individuals of the firm and to continuously develop best practices. For our clients in the Vaasa region, this means direct access to our whole network and expertise,” says Wikman. Vaasa in the frontline Green economy and energy is a rapidly growing practice within Roschier. Climate change is a problem and a challenge that affects all kinds of businesses.

”Today it is necessary as well as evident that companies strive to decrease their energy consumption as a step towards becoming more socially responsible and finding renewable sources of energy. Roschier has recognized this development and assists companies in finding innovative and sustainable solutions to help them to stay ahead in today‘s increasingly challenging business climate,” says Wikman. Stefan Wikman is proud of the Vaasa region, with its significant energy cluster. He believes that the region managed to avoid being severely affected by the financial crisis thanks to this purposeful focus on future energy sources. Another competitive advantage of the region is a broad and long-term

Stefan Wikman is proud of the Vaasa region with, for example, its significant energy cluster.

investment in education. Worth mentioning is the University of Helsinki, which educates lawyers at the bilingual Vaasa Unit of Legal Studies. Roschier has a close relationship with the law school unit and three law students studying there currently work as trainees at the Vaasa office. c

Roschier Founded in 1936 (Vaasa 1994) Business sector: Legal services Turnover 2009: €50.8 million Employees: 280 (Vaasa 9), lawyers 160 (Vaasa 5) Major markets: The Nordic and the Baltic countries


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W   here chemistry works Raw power at the Kokkola Industrial Park.

Kokkola Industrial Park Air Liquide Finland Oy Boliden Kokkola Oy KemFine Oy Kemira Oyj Kokkola KIP Infra Oy KIP Service Oy Oy Kokkola Power Ab Maintpartner Oy Neste Oil Oyj Nordkalk Oyj Abp OMG Kokkola Chemicals Oy Port of Kokkola TETRA Chemicals Europe Oy Oy Woikoski Ab Yara Suomi Oy


n Kokkola, everyone knows someone who works or has worked for the town’s big chemical and minerals industry. The chemical industry has been firmly anchored in Kokkola since the mid-20th century, when Kemira and Outokumpu, two state-owned companies, moved there due to strategic considerations. The proximity of the harbour was an important factor, enabling industrial products made of Finnish natural resources to be exported efficiently. Outokumpu, a minerals corporation, got the northern half of the 300-hectare area, while Kemira, a chemicals company, constructed its facilities on the southern end. 86  coastline 2010

Ville Honkala thinks the port is a great asset to the Kokkola Industrial Park.

“Today, this is a contiguous area, housing around twenty manufacturing companies that benefit from the synergies generated in the park,” says Ville Honkala, Project Coordinator of the Kokkola Industrial Park. Complementing    one another Over the years, some of the most successful units of Outokumpu and Kemira have been incorporated into independ-

ent businesses, which have continued to operate in the park. Other companies have also set up units in the area in order to cooperate with the chemical industry cluster. One of the latest to arrive is Woikoski, which established a unit in the Kokkola Industrial Park to recover carbon dioxide from Tetra Chemicals’ production and package it into commercial products. Without Woikoski’s unit, the carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere. “Companies in the Kokkola Industrial Park handle each others’ raw materials and subcontracting every which way. This is a network that complements the operations

of individual companies, offering a great deal of synergies and sidelines,” Honkala explains. International in every direction The Kokkola Industrial Park has a strong international feel to it. Most of the area’s companies are owned by international corporations, and the bulk of production is exported. The solid infrastructure, including a power plant, water supply plant and transport structures, which was constructed during wartime, has now been modernized to serve the Park’s companies. “The port is a great asset, and logis-

tics around it have been further developed in recent times. Cargo ships, goods trains and lorries meet here, and goods flow smoothly. Our direct rail connection to Russia enables transports to China without intermediate unloading,” says Ville Honkala. There are still 70 hectares of land available for heavy chemical industry players interested in enjoying the cluster’s advantages. “We still have unused resources and are working to continuously develop the area.” New companies are welcome to the park, located in a region with interesting future prospects. “The lithium deposit in Kaustinen,

Most of the companies in Kokkola Industrial Park are owned by international corporations, and the bulk of production is exported.

adjacent to Kokkola, has great potential. It is ready to be tapped into, and global demand is huge,” Honkala adds. c

Kokkola Industrial Park Tel. +358 44 780 9098 Fax +358 6 822 5545 Business Sector: Industrial park focused on inorganic chemistry Companies: 35 Employees: approx. 2,000 Area: 600 ha


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Modern port operator

M. Rauanheimo relies on its 125 years of experience in providing logistics services.

M. Rauanheimo provides customized, modern logistics services.


okkola-based M. Rauanheimo is a real long-timer in port operations. The company was founded back in 1884, and during its history it has grown and developed into a modern player, offering service in everything related to port operations. “We follow the full-service principle, providing ready, customized logistics solutions that save our customers time and money. Efficient logistics mean cost savings and a competitive advantage to companies, and may be the factor that separates winners from the rest,” says Joakim Laxåback, Managing Director.

Several strengths

“We have succeeded in developing competitive operating concepts jointly with customers,” says Joakim Laxåback, Managing Director of M. Rauanheimo.

According to Laxåback, Rauanheimo benefits from obvious strengths that set it apart from the competition. “Our great logistics skills enable us to offer a personalized service product. We provide door-to-door services and can create highly customized overall solutions for customers. We also benefit from a strong home port in Kokkola, which is ideally located for Finnish import and export transports. Not to be overlooked is our first-rate quality, which is based on 125 years of experience with a motivated and flexible staff.” Mats Sandström

Laxåback also emphasizes Rauanheimo’s ability to adapt to changes and new challenges. Today, the company is a full-service provider of logistics solutions. Growing sector M. Rauanheimo belongs to the privately-owned KWH Group, forming a part of KWH Logistics, which operates throughout the West coast. Laxåback believes the sector faces good overall prospects. “The general trend is towards broader internationalization, which sets new demands on companies. I believe Rauanheimo will stay on a positive development track. Transit traffic will continue to grow through Kokkola and the Finnish mining sector will create new opportunities, as will cooperation with local industry. Because of environmental reasons, more and more goods will be freighted by sea in the future. All these factors call for highly developed ports and port services, as well as competitive logistics,” says Laxåback.  c

M. Rauanheimo Tel. +358 6 826 5300 Business sector: Shipping and logistics Turnover 2008: €34 million Employees: 130 Major markets: Finland and Russia, worldwide

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I ndustrial maintenance Maintpartner offers comprehensive services to industry.

“The demand for environmentrelated expert and consulting services has grown steeply,”says Tommi Kajasoja.


aintpartner, a specialist in industrial maintenance, broke away from Fortum in 2006 to launch independent operations. It primarily serves industry and industrial parks, the energy sector and power transmission companies, as well as municipalities, and offers one of the most versatile service ranges in the field. Maintpartner has a strong presence in the Kokkola Industrial Park. “We offer contract maintenance, managed services and

maintenance consultation for production facilities, as well as individual support services tailored to customer needs. We also carry out a great deal of project and installation work around Finland. The Kokkola region is important to us due to its location and wide range of various industries. It is also home to our laboratory and environmental services unit, which operates in the Industrial Park and in Mesilä,” explains Tommi Kajasoja, Maintpartner’s Regional Director, Western & Northern Finland. Environmental services in good demand Maintpartner’s laboratory and environmental services include chemical and microbiological analysis and research, as well as expert surveys related to the environmental impact of operations. The company also provides assistance with environment permit applications, planning and monitoring and reporting of obligations.

Maintpartner is a specialist in industrial maintenance.

“The demand for environment-related expert and consulting services has grown steeply. It is important for industrial operators that there are services available for executing these tasks as an alternative to doing these all in-house. This improves efficiency and spreads industrial best practices,” says Kajasoja. According to Kajasoja, the Kokkola Industrial Park will continue to be important to Maintpartner. “We have worked in the area for years and definitely want

to do so also in the future. It is essential to secure the Park’s competitiveness, and this requires great cooperation with other operators and customers in the area.” c Maintpartner Tel. +358 9 2311 5000 firstname.lastname@ 004124

Business sector: Industrial services and operation Turnover: €115 million Employees: 1,400 Major markets: Finland, Sweden, Baltic sea region

Settle with KIP Infra

KIP Service makes life easier

■  KIP Infra Oy operates in the southern part of the industrial park. It leases facilities to new entrants and companies already active in the area, in addition to offering infrastructure services for rails, sewage systems and district heating. “We develop services in cooperation with the park’s customers. Our services are available to existing companies, as well as to new players, who we want to

■  KIP Service Oy offers water treatment and distribution, security services, as well as road, rail and green area maintenance to companies in the park. The

help settle in the area,” says Jari Heino, Managing Director of KIP Infra.  c

Mats Sandström

KIP Service Oy

KIP Infra Oy

Tel. +358 40 522 1979 firstname.lastname@

Tel. +358 44 780 9751 Business sector: Estate management, infrastructure Turnover 2009: €1.8 million Employees: 1

company is owned by Boliden Kokkola Oy (65%) and KIP Infra Oy (35%). “We could be characterized as a host, who takes care of many matters that make life in the industrial park easier for companies. Water treatment and distribution, for example, are handled through our own water supply plant. We also manage the area’s pipe bridges,” says Olli-Matti Airiola, Managing Director of KIP Service.  c



KIP Infra Oy and KIP Service Oy offer different kinds of services in the Kokkola Industrial Park. From the left: Jari Heino, Olli-Matti Airiola and Ville Honkala.

Business sector: Sewage, infrastructure Turnover 2009: € 6.8 million Employees: 4

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At your service Ports are important pillars for Ostrobothnian industry.


ctive and lively ports are vital to Ostrobothnia’s strong and versatile industry and exports, as well as to the region’s development. Kokkola, Jakobstad and Vaasa provide high-quality port services that satisfy increasingly demanding requirements. The Kokkola port offers service in three areas – the general port, deep port and Silverstone port – all of which handle a wide variety of goods. “The port is a vital link for trade between the East and West, offering fast connections to Russia and beyond. What is most important to us, however, is serving the region’s industries and mining, without forgetting other customers, of course. Our infrastructure is well up to the task: the 13-metre deep quay, deep port, modern handling equipment and new warehouses ensure that our port can offer customers high-quality service and reliable operations,” explains Torbjörn Witting, Port Director. Versatility and services to the region’s industry are also at the forefront in Jakobstad. “We have developed along with the forest industry, which continues to be one of our central operators. Pulp, sawn goods and paper are the main products handled here. We continue to improve the port’s operating conditions and facilitate transports of increasingly large volumes of general cargo, container goods and timber products. The goal is to deepen the channel to 11 metres, which will fur-

Torbjörn Witting, Teijo Seppelin and Kristian Hällis emphasize the importance of ports to the development of Ostrobothnian industry.

ther enhance our competitiveness,” says Kristian Hällis, the Jakobstad Port Director. The Port of Vaasa, which plays an important role in import activities, has ridden out the recession better than many of its counterparts. According to Teijo Seppelin, Port Director, the goal in Vaasa is to increase volumes and, consequently, generate more profit in the coming years. “We must provide faster and more efficient service to our customers. This obviously means that operating conditions must be maintained and developed. We mustn’t forget that infrastructure upgrades in ports serve for 50 to 100 years, making them truly long-term solutions,” says Seppelin. Vaasa is the only Ostrobothnian port that offers passenger traffic. In Seppelin’s opinion, RG-Line is a good addition to the port’s operations. “Passenger traffic is also important for the region. I hope this side can be developed so that we can raise the number of passengers and maintain these operations.” Although the Ostrobothnian ports compete, to a certain degree, with each other, they engage in healthy cooperation to develop the region. “The ports are important to this area, and each of them emphasizes its own strengths. We must build and develop services in mutual understanding so that they provide ever better support to the entire region,” the Directors say in unison. c Mats Sandström

Port of Vaasa Port Authority: Laivanvarustajankatu 3 FI-65170 Vaasa, Finland


Port Director: Teijo Seppelin Tel. +358 6 325 4500 / +358 40 559 9652 Main areas: Passenger, oil, bulk Channel depths: 9 m Total berth space: 1,615 m Volume 2009: Abt 1.4 million tonnes Open: Throught the year Port operator: Backman & Trummer Managing Director Hannu Uusi-Pohjola Tel. +358 6 323 9111

Port of Jakobstad Port Authority: Lauckovägen 1 FI-68600 Jakobstad, Finland Port Director: Kristian Hällis Tel. +358 44 356 5689 Fax +358 6 723 0034


Main areas: Specialised in handling pulp, sawn timber, chips, paper and mixed goods Channel depths: 9 m Total berth space: 1,250 m Volume 2008: 1.9 million tonnes Open: Throughout the year Port operator: Oy Botnia Shipping Ab Managing Director Matti Esko, Operative Manager Pauli Rautiainen P.O. Box 50 FI-68601 Jakobstad, Finland Tel. +358 6 781 3600, +358 40 585 2603

Port of Kokkola Port Authority: Satamakatu 53 FI-67900 Kokkola, Finland


Port Director: Torbjörn Witting Tel. +358 6 824 2400 Fax +358 6 824 2444 Main areas: Deep port: Dry bulk (dark), liquid bulk General port: All weather terminal, general cargo, containers Silverstone port: Dry bulk (light), liquid bulk Channel depths: 13 m safety water Total berth space: 2,071 m Volume 2008: 5.7 million tonnes Open: Throughout the year Port operators: Oy M.Rauanheimo Ab Director Joakim Laxåback P.O. Box 254 FI-67101 Kokkola, Finland Tel. +358 6 826 5300 Fax +358 6 826 5320 Hacklin Bulk Service Oy Director Juhana Kyökkä P.O. Box 602 FI-67701 Kokkola, Finland Tel. +358 6 828 2321 Fax +358 6 822 1312

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Port of Vaasa

Port of Jakobstad

Port of Kokkola

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W   anted: new companies The Kaskinen Industrial Park offers excellent infrastructure and connections.


ounded in 1977, the Kaskinen pulp mill operated for more than 30 years before MetsäBotnia closed it in early 2009. The premises are now home to a large, well-equipped factory that is being converted into a whole new industrial area. Some 45,000 square metres of modern factory and office spaces, a private road to the deep-water harbour and a well-equipped laboratory are just a few of the items on offer – not to mention an operational water treatment plant. “The area presents interesting opportunities to various sectors, such as the process industry and manufacturers of big and bulky products, but it is also well suited to smaller service companies,” says Kaija PehuLehtonen from Metsä-Botnia, who is in charge of attracting new companies to the premises. Good infrastructure During the region’s long industrial history, a solid infrastructure system 92  coastline 2010

The former Kaskinen pulp mill is now being converted into a whole new industrial area.

was built up around the former mill site. The premises also have access to fresh water as well as water purification facilities. One of the area’s main advantages comes from excellent logistics. Only one kilometre away lies a deep-water harbour, accessible by both rail and a heavy-duty private road. The mill site was not left deserted when the pulp mill closed down. It houses several companies offering support functions, such as cleaning, outdoor maintenance, security and measurement services, as well as a lunch restaurant.

international companies looking to set up operations in Finland. “It goes without saying that the prevailing economic conditions make it challenging to market the site. However, experiences from other closed-down paper and pulp mills in Finland prove that it is by no means impossible to start up new operations in vacated facilities,” says PehuLehtonen.  c

Etelä-Pohjanmaan liitto

Many sectors The new industrial park is well suited to many different sectors. The facilities are spacious and versatile, providing a good environment for the energy, process, mining, mechanical, chemical, boatbuilding, construction and recycling industries, as well as commercial activities. Good connections also make the area ideal for

Kaskinen Industrial Park Production space: 45,000 m2 Office space: 3,500 m2 Total area: 70,000 m2 Services: Waste and estate management, surveillance, canteen, measurement and weighing services, oxygen supply, process steam and water treatment plant.


V   enture capital for the region Wedeco has a strong network and solid competence.


Mats Sandström

edeco is a regional venture capital firm founded in 1987. It focuses on developing regional business activities and employment by offering equity financing for small- and medium-sized buyouts and for growth companies. Wedeco invests in Western Finland with no specific sector preference. In Wedeco’s investment portfolio has around 25 small- and medium-sized companies, with a total turnover of some €200 million and around 1,000 employees in all. Wedeco can be either a majority or minority shareholder. “Wedeco is primarily an active owner with strong financial know-how and an industrially focused approach. Its role as a financier comes second. This means that we actively participate in the board work of the companies we invest in in order to develop their operations,” says Hannu Rantanen, Wedeco’s Investment Director. Wedeco belongs to the Profita Group, a nationwide investment company. Wedeco’s largest shareholders are the Finnvera Group, ABB, banks and insurance companies. Manor and KGN Tool Wedeco has long worked in close cooperation with Petsmo Products, a metal processing company from Vaasa. A good example of their teamwork is the 2006 acquisition which led to Manor Oy from Kuortane becoming a part of Petsmo Products. Wedeco’s share was 25 per cent. “Manor is an engineering workshop that offers metalwork subcontracting to international industry. Its strengths lie in the welding of steel structures, shot blasting, wet painting and powder painting,” explains Kaj Björkman, Plant Manager. KGN Tool, a manufacturer of special maintenance tools for big diesel engines and similar sized equipment, is one of Wedeco’s latest investments in the metal industry. “We offer machining of metals, alloys and plastic-based raw materials. Our service range includes all work phases from sawing to assembly, including wet-painting,” says Bengt Beijar, Board Chairman of KGN Tool. Overall package is crucial The KGN Tool acquisition also involved a generation change, which

led to Stefan Niemi, the son of the company’s founder, becoming the company’s major owner. The other owners are Wedeco, Petsmo Products, Kaj Rönnlund and Bengt Beijar. After the owner change in 2009, KGN Tool aims to grow by entering into new customer relations, export and new segments. The company is now developing its internal processes in order to grow. Manor has mainly focused on being a sub-supplier to large domestic companies, producing steel structures. It also has plans to become an exportoriented sub-supplier of unique customized constructions. Hannu Rantanen believes that the kind of venture capital investing that Wedeco favours will become more popular in the future. “We operate through our funds to invest in growth companies that operate in our region of interest. KGN Tool and Manor, for example, are extremely well managed and complement each other ideally. We have plans to create a big, functional entity. This is obviously a question about

From the right: Jens Österberg (Petsmo Products), Stefan Niemi (KGN Tool), Hannu Rantanen (Wedeco), Kaj Björkman (Manor) and Bengt Beijar (KGN Tool).

risk management as well,” Rantanen adds. c Wedeco Tel. +358 6 316 5800 firstname.lastname@ Business sector: Venture capital


KGN Tool Oy Ab Tel. +358 6 383 5680 Business sector: Maintenance-tool production Turnover: €6 million Employees: 17 Major markets: Domestic, Italy, the Netherlands


Manor Oy Tel. +358 6 487 2200 Business sector: Steel constructions Turnover: €6 million Employees: 25 Major markets: Domestic


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D   esign it right Muova is an expert in market-oriented design.

Mats Sandström


estern Finland D ­ esign Centre Muova is a research and development centre in Vaasa that promotes the competitiveness of companies through design. “Our services are used by both companies and public organizations. We launch and implement research and development projects related to market-oriented design and creative competence,” says Annika Hissa, Director of Muova. According to her, the projects are based on the companies’ needs and on Muova’s versatile special skills. “Muova’s multidisciplinary team includes experts in design, marketing and communications. Being a joint unit of the Aalto University School of Art and Design and the University of Vaasa, we benefit from an extensive national and international contact network.” Product concepting Muova’s services include creating product concepts, which can act as future landmarks for companies, encouraging discussions about the direction in which their sector is moving and the route they should embark on. “Product concepting promotes information sharing, creation and utilization within companies and

94  coastline 2010

Creative methods coach and boost companies into the future.

Innovation sparkles in Muova’s multi­ disciplinary team.

provides a fruitful interaction platform for tacit and explicit knowledge. It enables employees working in different fields to discuss future opportunities and creates links between strategic and operative thinking,” explains Janne Pekkala, Concept Designer at Muova. One of the goals of product concepting is to help management analyze the operating environment from new perspectives and to make more systematic categorizations of related information. Service development Service design is an emerging field in Muova’s research and development Satu Aaltonen

projects. Service development is a crucial but too often neglected competitive factor for both companies and public organizations. The field has also received funding from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. “Service design builds on the experiences of users and customers. To carry out development work one must understand the real customer needs, as well as the company’s strategic goals and resources,” says Sanna Peltonen, Senior Researcher at Muova. “Creativity, future-orientation and comprehensive problem-solving are the strengths of design in service development. A service designer uses visualization as a tool to create and concretise service opportunities,” say Miia Lammi, Development Manager at Muova, and Satu Aaltonen, Design Manager. c

Western Finland Design Centre Muova Aalto University School of Art and Design and University of Vaasa Wolffintie 36 F 11 FI-65200 Vaasa, Finland Tel. +358 6 357 6330


Business sector: Research, education and development Employees: 15

Mats Sandström

F  inancing solutions

Finnvera supports the development of start-ups and growth companies.


innvera plc is a specialized financing company owned by the State of Finland. It grants loans, offers guarantees and makes venture capital investments in domestic companies. Finnvera is Finland’s official Export Credit Agency (ECA). “Our operations are guided by the state-set goals for industry and ownership policies. These include increasing start-up business activities, enabling financing for SMEs undergoing changes, as well as promoting the growth, internationalization and exports of companies,” explains John Erickson, Vice President, Western Finland, from Finnvera’s regional office in Vaasa. Finnvera finances entrepreneurial activities that are based on a good business idea and meet the criteria for profitable operations if the company’s own resources or collateral are insufficient for acquiring funding on the commercial market. Support for start-ups One of Finnvera’s main tasks is to offer financing assistance at the start-up phase. “In terms of the number of projects, around one-third involve start-up

processes. The remaining two-thirds are related to growth companies and companies going international, which naturally account for a large share in terms of money.” Finnvera also offers exporters and their financiers internationally competitive solutions for covering export and project risks. “Because of the ongoing downturn, the EU Commission has granted Finnvera permission to temporarily guarantee transactions in the EU member states and other industrialized countries, as long as the payment term is less than two years. The permission is in force for exports carried out by the end of 2010,” says Erickson. Help in downturns During the recent economic crisis, Finnvera has offered counter-cyclical loans and guarantees to struggling companies. To receive such financing, the funded company must have the potential for profitable business once the economy picks up. “Finnvera is also needed in difficult times. Counter-cyclical loans can be granted as working capital to secure liquidity or to fund investments that

“Finnvera improves and diversifies companies’ financing options, offering loans, guarantees and export credit guarantees,” says John Erickson.

will help to assure competitiveness. They cannot be used to repay existing loans and commitments to Finnvera or other financiers. Counter-cyclical loans and guarantees will be available until the end of 2011,” Erickson promises. According to him, Ostrobothnia has weathered the downturn relatively well. “The region and its energy sector are very innovative and exportdriven and have not taken as deep a plunge as many others. In many ways, this region is a front-runner in the world.” c

Finnvera Oyj Tel. +358 204 6011 Business sector: Risk financing for small and medium-sized companies and export credit guarantees Regional offices: 15 Outstanding commitments arising from export credit guarantees and special guarantees (current commitments and offers given) in Q2/2009: €10 bn. Outstanding domestic commitments (loans and guarantees) in Q2/2009: €2.6 bn (the Vaasa office €220 million) Employees: 400 (the Vaasa office 13) Customers in Q2/2009: 28,200 enterprises (the Vaasa office 1,817) 004102

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E  xpert in foreign trade

Viexpo helps companies to gain a foothold in international markets.

Viexpo is the region’s international trade facilitator.


hould you and your company need help and guidance with going international or starting exports, Viexpo is here to help. The independent, regional expert in internationalization operates in coastal Ostrobothnia and celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2010. “Viexpo offers small and mediumsized businesses internationalization services and functions that promote international operations. We help companies to lower the threshold for launching foreign trade,” says Mikael Kvist, Managing Director of Viexpo. Viexpo offers versatile services that are well suited to companies targeting international markets. “We provide both free and feebased services, including fact finding and market research excursions, joint stands at international trade fairs, export partner groups, translation services and consultation. Our services help as many as 100–200 companies explore new markets every year.” Unique in Finland Viexpo’s operating region stretches from Kristinestad in the south to Kalajoki in the north. “We act as the internationalization unit of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and cooperate with organizations that boost the region’s business and industry. We have an

96  coastline 2010

Mats Sandström

“Viexpo has an extensive contact network both in Finland and abroad,” says Mikael Kvist.

extensive network of contacts both in Finland and abroad, and our expertise helps companies find the right solutions to challenges related to foreign trade. We are also quite unique; nowhere else in Finland will you find a regional operator like us. In times such as these, when companies sorely need new customers and markets, our activities are further emphasized,” says Mikael Kvist. Gate abroad Internationalization requires skills and preparation. As an export

promoter, Viexpo offers free basic consultation, which includes answering companies’ questions, finding information and offering help with smaller trade-related questions. The needs of companies depend on the sector and experience. “The focus and market areas of companies vary periodically. The most important area is still the Russian market, whose Export Manager, since August 2009, is Roman Kurzhunov,” says Kvist. Overall, the organization offers a great deal of competence in international markets. Marko Mikkola is based in Japan, where he handles the Asian markets, while Nina Waxlax focuses on the Latin American and Hispanic market areas. “We may be a small regional player, but we offer versatile services in a wide field,” says Kvist. c Viexpo Headquarters in Jakobstad Tel. +358 6 781 6440 Kokkola office Tel. +358 6 832 6440 Vaasa office Tel. +358 6 319 9250 Närpes office Tel. +358 50 342 1091


Business sector: Assistance in international trade for small and medium-sized companies. Employees: 10

S  upporting companies Meet the overall regional developer.

Mats Sandström

grown and become more versatile than ever. We have provided strong support to new players entering the market, spin-offs and single-person companies, among others,” says Suomela. Other important sectors include boatbuilding, chemistry, well-being and prefab houses. Suomela emphasizes the Centre’s role as an all-round developer of the economy. It provides support and advice to everyone, irrespective of the field and sector. “Our offering is extensive, serving a versatile SME sector, as well as a highly dynamic rural environment. Our region has also been the biggest investor in developing the farming sector.” Skilled workforce


inland’s regional state administration was reorganized at the beginning of 2010. The goal of the reform was to make regional administration more citizen- and customer-oriented, efficient and productive. As a result, what was formerly known as the Ostrobothnia Employment and Economic Development Centre (T&E Centre) is now called the Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. “Our tasks remain the same despite the name change. We support and advise companies at every stage of their life cycle, help to improve the

innovation environment, handle regional labour market policies and promote the development of farming and the agriculture sector. The reform also made some of the state provincial offices’ educational activities, as well as activities related to culture, exercise and the youth, part of our operations,” explains Kaj Suomela, Director of the Ostrobothnia Centre.

The Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment handles labour market policies and offers support and advice to companies.

Support on a wide front The Centre continues to focus on the energy sector and companies involved in it. “The Vaasa energy cluster has Mats Sandström

The Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment enjoys the country’s second best employment situation. Although the west coast has not escaped the downturn unscathed, Suomela also sees some bright spots. “The availability of a skilled workforce is good: hardly any sector is suffering from a labour shortage. The energy cluster is one of the factors that attracts investors and entrepreneurs to the region. Following structural changes, the region also benefits from good industrial parks, such as the one in Kaskinen,” Suomela explains. One of the biggest future challenges is maintaining the competitiveness of the region’s companies. “Our companies must produce high-quality goods and adopt a genuinely customer-oriented approach so that they can generate added value to offset the higher prices here,” says Suomela. c

Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment Tel. +358 20 636 0140 Fax +358 6 329 6480 004117

“The Vaasa energy cluster is one of the driving forces for the region’s economy,” says Kaj Suomela.

Business sector: Promoting entrepreneurship, functioning of labour market, preservation of a vital countryside, competence and cultural activities Employees: 130

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The energy cluster in Ostrobothnia has benefited from the ever-increasing global need for energy efficiency.

J  oin hands – boost your business The Chamber of Commerce acts to create new business networks.


here’s no way around it. In most cases the result is better when forces are joined. This is what many Ostrobothnian companies have experienced and what the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce actively promotes: creating business clusters. “One of our best examples is the energy cluster, where individual companies in the energy sector benefit from cooperation on different levels,” says Director Juha Häkkinen. The energy cluster has emerged from long traditions in the energyrelated business in the Vaasa region

In a sense Juha Häkkinen and Bengt Jansson are spidermen. They don’t climb walls, but they help Ostrobothnian companies build networks. Mats Sandström

98  coastline 2010

and has grown along with the global focus on sustainable energy solutions and climate change. “The companies already had the knowledge, the readiness for creating new solutions and a customer-oriented approach. By networking they can now create business for themselves as well as offer something good to the world: energy efficient solutions,” says Häkkinen. Networking is for everyone The energy cluster is, however, not the first network the Chamber of Commerce has been involved in creating. The clusters around boat building and trailer building have long been established. But well-functioning networks do not necessarily appear without external assistance. “Our role is to be the neutral party that can point out mutual interests and what the possible outcome of cooperation could be. The experience we now have in creating networks can be applied to creating new ones. There’s basically no business that wouldn’t benefit from acting within a network,” says Managing Director Bengt Jansson. As is the case in most internationally successful regions in the world, Ostrobothnia is both multicultural

and multilingual, something the Ostrobothnian companies indeed can make use of. “Our culture of low thresholds and close personal relations gives Ostrobothnian businesses many trumps in hand,” says Jansson. The Chamber of Commerce also assists Ostrobothnian enterprises in many other ways, such as developing accessibility and recruiting a labour force with the right knowledge and skills. “Another important role is to keep an eye on the future, bring up critical issues and prepare for coming opportunities before they are actually here,” says Juha Häkkinen. c

Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce Kokkola office Tel. +358 6 832 6400 Fax +358 6 832 6490 Jakobstad office Tel. +358 6 781 6400 Fax +358 6 781 6490 Vaasa office Tel. +358 6 318 6400 Fax +358 6 318 6490 Business sector: Lobbying, information, training Turnover 2009: €1.4 million Employees: 8


C   ooperation across the Kvarken The Kvarken Council works as a developer and planner.


he Kvarken Council is a crossborder cooperation forum formed by the cities of Vaasa, Kokkola and Seinäjoki and the three Regional Councils of Ostrobothnia in Finland, as well as Regional Council of Västerbotten and Örnsköldsvik in Sweden. It is governed by a non-profit organization. The Council is one of eleven official cross-border operators funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Momentous traffic project To develop traffic and communications across the Kvarken Strait, the Council has set up a traffic workgroup and launched a project called the Kvarken Shortcut System. The project has received funding from the Botnia-Atlantica program. “The E12 Kvarken ferry route functions as a hub for the regional traffic network. A well-functioning ferry connection is a necessity for cooperation across the Kvarken Strait and for a smooth traffic flow from the Norwegian coast to Europe and Russia. Our vision for the future is to have a fixed connection in place,” says Christina Knookala, Director of the Kvarken Council. The objective of the traffic project is to develop the Kvarken Shortcut System into a European traffic route and to draw up a traffic plan for creating a fruitful environment for regional and cross-border development. The project will also examine the social and economic significance that a sea route and a bridge or tunnel across the Kvarken Strait would have for the region.

will handle several important transport and logistic connections as well as provide an excellent location for industry facilities. “It is important for the Vaasa/ Korsholm logistics centre to cooperate with and utilize the new centre in Umeå. This will provide Finland and Sweden with new cargo routes

Logistic and infrastructure cooperation between Ostrobothnia in Finland and Västerbotten in Sweden is important for regional development around the Kvarken.

all around Europe, the Baltics and Russia, as well as strengthen the link across the Kvarken. The Kvarken Council has been entrusted with the project by the region’s airports, logistics centres, ports and authorities, and works in close cooperation with all parties,” explains Knookala. c

New logistics centres One of the key elements of the project is the Nordic Logistic Center (NLC), which will be opened in Umeå, Sweden, in autumn 2010. “It will be the biggest logistics centre in the northern part of the Nordic countries, giving access to numerous important cargo routes in Europe and all around the world,” says Knookala. The NLC is also of great significance to Vaasa. The city has plans for a new logistics centre, whose construction is to begin in 2011. According to long-term plans, the new centre will cover 500 hectares in the vicinity of the Vaasa Airport Park. The centre

EUROPEISKA UNIONEN Europeiska regionala utvecklingsfonden

The Kvarken Council / Kvarken shortcut system project Hietasaarenkatu 6 Tel. +358 6 319 5500 Business sector: Infrastructure Project finance: Botnia-Atlantica programme, Regional Councils of Ostrobothnia and Västerbotten, cities of Vaasa and Umeå, Vasek and the Nordic Council of Ministers / Kvarken Council. Employees: 2–3 Budget: €1.1 million Project period: 2008–2011 004129

Christina Knookala is director for the Kvarken Council and also leader for the Kvarken shortcut project.

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I n the best interests of the region The Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia oversees, develops and plans.


he Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia is a versatile federation of municipalities with 17 members. It represents over 90,000 people, fostering their everyday life, skills and opportunities. The Council builds and develops the region’s future in cooperation with other municipal federations, regional administration and organizations. Its operations focus on the Kokkola and Kaustinen sub-regions. “Regional administration has three basic tasks: safeguarding of interests, regional development and regional planning. These also form the framework for our operations. In the past few years, the safeguarding of national interests has taken on a bigger role, for example, in various traffic projects,” says Altti Seikkula, Executive Director. Developing the energy economy The Council’s current focal areas and projects are closely linked to the energy economy. “Matters involving energy conservation and availability, as well as related new technologies, are constantly under discussion. Topical issues include the Interreg KvarkenMittskandia project, various bioenergy solutions and plans for opening a new mine. A survey on the utilization 100  coastline 2010

The Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia works as a development authority, taking charge of planning and looking after the region’s interests.

of the mine’s mineral resources in battery manufacture and in electric cars is currently underway. We have big lithium reserves in the region, and their use is definitely one of the main issues at the moment,” says Seikkula. Secure future

“The municipalities in Central Ostro­ bothnia are active and marketingoriented,” says Altti Seikkula.

A small and compact region, Central Ostrobothnia has built up a strong and well functioning information network. “We are one of the front-runners in this respect and have carried out Mats Sandström

fundamental work in the field since the 1990s, starting with regional networks. New ways to use the system are being devised all the time. We want to develop a true regional network, which can be used, for example, to offer healthcare services,” Seikkula explains. A favourable population structure will be one of Central Ostrobothnia’s strengths in the future. This offers many opportunities, as explained by the region’s executive director. “Population renewal is good here, ensuring that the region will have active people also in the future. The main challenge will most likely be found in the field of municipal economy. At the moment, municipalities face difficult economic conditions, which makes it necessary to devise new concepts for improving the situation. Luckily, the municipalities in this region are active and the business structure is versatile. This speaks in favour of new opportunities.” c

Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia Tel. +358 6 860 5700 Business sector: Development and administration of the region Turnover 2009: €1.8 million Employees: 15


The Regional Council of Ostrobothnia strives to maintain the high quality of education in the region.

Mikko Lehtimäki

With a strong belief in the future Ostrobothnia stands out on the map.


rom 2004 to 2008, Ostrobothnia saw a bigger rise in job and employment numbers than any other Finnish region. Moreover, it accounted for a full 5.3 per cent of Finland’s overall industrial production. The same pattern seems to have continued in 2009, despite the recession that ravaged many parts of the country. “Ours is an industrial region focused on export, which means that we must maintain a high level of education and competence. I believe we have done well in this respect,” says Olav Jern, Chief Executive of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia. Link to the EU Competitiveness is a keyword for the Council, which does its best to ensure that the region continues to develop – also internationally. In Brussels, it runs a European office jointly with three other regional councils. “We want to ensure that Ostrobothnians have a direct link to decision-makers in the EU. It is important for the region to maintain international contacts in the EU, the Nordic countries and the Baltic region. While this may be self-evident, it is equally

important to build good relations with our immigrants,” says Jern. “Ostrobothnia is already a multicultural region, so we need to foster contacts and get acquainted with all the different cultures living here. This benefits both the community and economic growth.”

Jessica Lindgren

According to Olav Jern, the economy and culture contribute to the region’s prosperity.

Valuable culture Ostrobothnia’s prosperity has been demonstrated in numerous studies. Ostrobothnians live long and are among the healthiest people in Finland. According to Jern, this depends on much more than the economy. “Culture is enormously important to our well-being. It creates solidarity, which, in turn, lays a solid foundation for other activities.” Three years ago, Ostrobothnia found itself on the map for a whole new reason, when the unique nature of the Kvarken Archipelago was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This attracted attention both nationally and internationally. Olav Jern quotes Jim Thornton, who was in charge of evaluating the area for UNESCO: “It’s like getting the Nobel Prize for Nature.” c

Regional Council of Ostrobothnia Tel. +358 6 320 6500 Fax +358 6 320 6550 004151

Business sector: Regional council for 17 Ostrobothnian municipalities and towns. Regional development and spatial planning. Distribution of regional funding for the development of the region’s business. International matters and contacts. Turnover 2009: €5 million Employees: 30

coastline 2010  101

The University of Vaasa aims to be an innovative scientific community that supports well-being in Ostrobothnia.

I ncreasingly business-oriented Competence in the energy sector forms the cornerstone of the University of Vaasa. Jessica Lindgren

“Our university is becoming increasingly international,” says Rector Matti Jakobsson.

course offering and in the development of entrepreneurial skills in cooperation with other universities and, for example, the Merinova technology centre. We are also involved in business incubator activities,” says Matti Jakobsson, Rector of the University. Know-how comes together at the Energy Institute


he University of Vaasa is a multidisciplinary university that offers an innovative learning environment and supports the success and well-being of its region. As the leading research and educational institute in Ostrobothnia, the University aims to rank among the top three in Finland in each of its fields. “We aim to become an increasingly business-oriented university, which means that solid business competence forms an integral part of all our degree programmes. This can be seen in the 102  coastline 2010

The Vaasa region houses a considerable share of the Finnish energy cluster, with numerous industrial companies, as well as local universities, offering versatile competence in the field. The Vaasa Energy Institute is a cooperation organization set up by the University of Vaasa, the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) and the Novia University of Applied Sciences. The goal is to assemble energy sector competence in a single location. “Energy technology and energy economics were chosen as one of the focal areas of our university. The Energy Institute provides energy-related research, marketing, consultation, and continuing education services to local, national, and international players in the field. It offers a unique combination of business and technical competence,” says Matti Jakobsson.

International campus The University of Vaasa continues to grow more international. Active student and teacher exchange, as well as English-language degree programmes, have made international activities a part of everyday life. Finnish is the University’s main language, but English, Swedish and other languages can be heard around the campus daily. “We now have five English-language Master’s degree programmes, which together admit around 100 new students annually. International students account for some 10 per cent of the student body, and their number continues to increase. However, student exchange alone does not make you international. The staff, too, must turn more international, and this is something we have made progress in,” says Jakobsson. c

University of Vaasa Tel. +358 6 324 8111 Business sector: Innovative research and education Students: 5,100 Employees: 460


T  rusted partner of working life VAMK trains and educates international experts.

Mats Sandström


he Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) is a multidisciplinary, multilingual and international institution providing higher education and research services in technology and communication, business economics and tourism, as well as health care and social services. VAMK has approximately 3,500 enrolled students and a staff of 250. Working life contacts Close ties with working life are an inherent part of VAMK’s operations. “We develop our education by closely listening to the feedback from working life. This dialogue benefits all parties: the students get work placement opportunities and topics for final projects while employers gain fresh ideas from students, as well as up-to-date knowledge from our staff through research and service activities. We have also set up a Business Clinic that takes on assignments from companies,” says Elina Martin, Dean of Business Economics and Tourism.

Contacts with employees and the labour market also play a key role in the unit for health care and social services. “We mainly educate students for the public sector. Our degrees include a great deal of training, which makes contacts with working life a natural part of activities. Hospitals, health centres and social security offices are the most common training places for students. We also have working life committees in which directors of various organizations develop cooperation between education and working life,” explains Raimo Koivisto, Dean of Health Care and Social Services.

“All our education is closely linked to the practical demands of working life,” say the three Deans: Elina Martin, Raimo Koivisto and Jorma Tuominen.

grammes. We listen to the feedback from companies to provide education that better matches business needs,” says Jorma Tuominen, Dean of Technology and Communication. The Deans encourage companies and organizations to contact VAMK and learn more about the versatile services it offers. “We also promote the competitiveness of working life through various applied research and product development projects and services, as well as through continuing education customized to individual needs. It definitely pays to ask about the various alternatives.” c

Education in the energy sector VAMK teaches its students professional skills needed in international and multicultural organizations. The University’s degree programmes have also been influenced by the strong energy cluster in and around Vaasa. “The region’s first-rate energy competence has led us to steadily renew and enhance our degree pro-

Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) Tel. +358 207 663 300 Business sector: Education and applied research Students: 3,500 Employees: 250


coastline 2010  103

T  he meeting point for education Optima offers new skills and knowledge throughout one’s career.

Linda Tallroth-Paananen

Optima’s goal is to provide students with solid vocational skills that will help them succeed on the ever-changing labour market.


natural meeting point for everyone with a need of new skills or knowledge. That could be a definition of the role that Optima, a vocational institute located in the region of Jakobstad, wants to take. “We want to be the one you turn to whenever a need for education or development of skills occurs,” explains Director Rabbe Ede. Today Optima offers basic vocational education for the young as well as further education for adults. Further education can consist of anything from studies for a degree to shorter projects for developing human capital within a company or an organization. In education for adults, it is of crucial importance that education can be carried out in the workplace.

“Within vocational education we are moving towards individualized studies, and here at Optima we also focus on entrepreneurial skills,” say Rabbe Ede and Ann Käld.

Ministry of Education. Challenges in the future do, however, exist. One is to adapt to changes in industrial structure. “We are moving away from employment in bigger industries towards smaller suppliers working in a broad field of business. Production is also going to focus less on products and more on providing services,” says Ann Käld, Head of Educational Services. Mats Sandström

Young entrepreneurs With its tradition of entrepreneurship the region of Jakobstad is well prepared for the structural changes. “We see young people establishing their own businesses. Many of our former students have founded their own companies at the age of 25. Apart from providing the students with the right vocational skills, we help them build self-confidence and the ability to set goals and take responsibility, qualities needed as an entrepreneur as well as in regular employment,” says Ann Käld. c


Structural changes So far Optima has succeeded well. Students studying for a degree number about 1,600, and the institute was named ‘number one vocational institute in Finland’ in 2009 by the 104  coastline 2010

Tel. +358 6 785 5222 Fax +358 6 785 5299 004133

Business sector: Vocational education Students: 1,600 Employees: 255

S  mooth networking

Novia cooperates with both business life and other universities.


Karolina Isaksson

ew universities offer as wide a range of educational opportunities as Novia, the largest Swedish-speaking university of applied sciences in Finland. The education offered by Novia covers just about everything from engineering to nursing and art. “There’s not a single sector of society that we’re not involved in. This puts us in a unique position to engage in interdisciplinary and dynamic work at the boundaries of different disciplines,” explains President Örjan Andersson. It also enables the university to network with every part of society. In fact, networking is the single most distinguishing characteristic of Novia. Spider in the web With operations spread along the bilingual coastal zone, even Novia’s own organization forms a network. Moreover, Novia’s home base is in Vaasa, a city with six other university units. “Universities in Vaasa have done wisely to join forces. We have been involved in Technobothnia, a joint laboratory of 12,000 m 2 , for the past fifteen years, and have recently joined the Tritonia academic library.” In a highly export-oriented region, Jessica Lindgren

it is also natural to form networks across country borders. “The Nordic countries are our natural home market because of language and geography. We have also intensified cooperation with, for example, Chinese universities. We aim to increase the number of international students and send more of our own students abroad.”

Novia is the largest Swedish-speaking university of applied sciences in Finland, offering education from engineering to nursing and art.

One of the fields that Novia focuses on is management systems. The university has helped many companies to achieve ISO certification, and the aim is that all of Novia’s own units will be certified in compliance with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 in 2010. “This reflects our commitment to systematic quality development in education,” says Andersson. c

Business partner Furthermore, Novia actively builds networks with trade and industry. It offers Master’s degrees for people in working life, as well as competence development. In order to enhance cooperation, Novia has entered into partnership agreements with a number of companies. “Our goal is to develop common core competence areas through mutual consulting and advising. In this way, we also offer students contacts with business life.”

Novia University of Applied Sciences Tel. +358 6 328 5000 Business sector: Education, research and development services Students: 3,500 Employees: 390 Certificates: ISO 9001 (Ostrobothnia), ISO 14001 (Southern Finland) 004099

“There’s not a single sector of society that Novia isn’t involved in,” says Örjan Andersson.

coastline 2010  105

I t takes two to tango

The Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences promotes entrepreneurship. Mats Sandström


he Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences (COU) is an academic community encompassing seven educational fields and 3,400 students. It operates in three municipalities – Kokkola, Ylivieska and Jakobstad – and offers over 20 degree programmes. The University provides instruction in Finnish, Swedish and English. Its units employ over 300 people in all. Well-versed individuals for working life One of the University’s main objectives is to support contacts with business and industry. It has, in fact, been awarded twice for its accomplishments in the field by the Ministry of Education. “We believe that the employment capability of small and medium-sized enterprises will continue to be the driving force for Finland’s development. The SME sector creates a great number of new jobs, and we educate a skilled workforce to fill them,” says Paula Salonen, Communication’s Manager at the COU. 106  coastline 2010

“We are pioneers in online instruction. The AVERKO service enables company employees to flexibly improve their skills irrespective of time and place,” says Paula Salonen.

Of the 500 students who annually graduate from the COU and get employed, 85 per cent find employment in the University’s operating region. “The skills and knowledge taught by the COU remain in the region and benefit local companies. This is very important – and a source of pride to us. However, our success is ultimately measured by what companies and organizations think about the students who graduate from here. Our education has to be up-to-date, and interaction with different sectors must work seamlessly,” says Salonen. Entrepreneurship is the keyword The Finnish west coast has always been entrepreneurially inclined, and the COU puts heavy emphasis on supporting entrepreneurial activities. “All of our degree programmes bring up the option of starting your own business. The goal is for more and more students to choose the entrepreneurial path in the future. We have many good examples of this – especially among students graduating

from the social services and health sectors, many of whom have set up companies in recent years,” Salonen explains. In addition to supporting cooperation with businesses and encouraging entrepreneurial activities, the COU is increasingly emphasizing the importance of its alumni. “Our alumni are still an underused resource for us. They have valuable insight into and experience of the University’s operations as well as the demands and expectations of business and working life. We should definitely turn to them more often in various forms of cooperation,” says Salonen. c

Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences Tel. +358 6 825 0000 Business sector: Higher education Degree Programmes: 7 taught in English, 20 in Finnish Employees: 300 Students: 3,400


Mats Sandström

Chemplant, CENTRIA’s pilot plant, serves many educational institutions and companies in the region.

R   esearch cluster

CENTRIA offers support and development through strong cooperation.


he Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences (COU) uses the auxiliary name CENTRIA to conduct research and development work that benefits its operating region. The R&D unit offers research and development services, service products (standard product services) and education services. “CENTRIA aims to boost the competitiveness of business and working life in the University’s region of operations, as well as to increase well-being through multidisciplinary R&D. Research and development that is based on the needs of working life helps to create new and enhanced products, operating models and services,” explains Lasse Jansson, R&D director at CENTRIA. Versatile services CENTRIA carries out applied research and development projects mainly in cooperation with companies and organizations in the region. It is annually involved in over 100 R&D projects. CENTRIA has at its disposal the know-how of the entire COU staff, as well as the University’s laboratory services, not to mention its students, who provide valuable as-

Mats Sandström

sistance to the experts contributing to the success of the region’s companies. “In addition to research and development projects we offer a variety of fee-based measurement and testing services to businesses and organizations. Our offering is versatile and covers many sectors,” says Jansson. Chemplant pilot plant Chemplant, a chemical pilot plant constructed on the process technology laboratory’s premises, is one of

“CENTRIA offers versatile services that are closely linked to the needs of trade and industry,” says Lasse Jansson.

CENTRIA’s most significant recent projects. The plant is to respond to the needs of the region’s educational organizations, as well as to those of technology centre KETEK and the chemical industry in the Kokkola region. The pilot plant functions as a learning environment, but also plays a central role in R&D activities. “Bioenergy and its opportunities have been the focus of attention lately. We are involved in several projects related to the field. The region is also home to robust chemical industry businesses; the Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences has educated chemical engineers from the very beginning. Most projects have a strong link to trade and industry, and this also forms the foundation for Chemplant,” explains Jansson. c

CENTRIA Tel. +358 6 825 0000 Business sector: Research and development Turnover 2009: €7 million Employees: 100


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C   lose to society

Hanken in Vaasa emphasizes the importance of its close ties with the business world.

Executive education is one of Hanken’s focus areas. Jessica Lindgren


anken School of Economics is one of the oldest business schools in the Nordic countries, having educated business professionals for a whole century in Helsinki. The university’s unit in Vaasa celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2010. One of the reasons for Hanken’s long successful history is its close ties with the business world. “We have good contacts with our alumni, who are happy to return for executive education once they have entered working life,” says Sören Kock, Vice-Rector.

Sören Kock and Björn West believe that Hanken’s executive education is important to the entrepreneurially oriented Ostrobothnia.

tive Education and the Hanken MBA programmes, as well as the Hanken Executive Education Vaasa programme, which has been operating as an independent education supplier for a few years. The Vaasa unit focuses on executive education for individuals and companies in Ostrobothnia. “Since the Vaasa region has a prominent role in terms of industry, companies and exports, it is where our focus lies.” Hanken Executive Education Vaasa emphasizes solutions tailored to customer needs. “We apply the university’s competence in the real-life business world. This immediately shows the practical benefits of our research,” says Björn West, Director of Hanken Executive Education Vaasa. Leadership is a key concept in executive education. “We offer many sector-specific courses, but what makes leadership courses special is that they enable people from different sectors to get together and exchange experiences.”

“I believe the courses have given us much more than a brief look into leadership. In addition to enjoying good lectures on a wide range of topics, we have valued the opportunity to meet other business players and create contact networks,” says Kurt Vienonen, Eur-Mark’s Managing Director. Hanken has always strived to be international and now offers Master’s degree programmes with instruction only in English. The international aspect is also present in executive education. Although most of the executive education offered in Vaasa is taught in Swedish, instruction is also available in Finnish and English. One of the university’s strengths is being able to adapt both its language and content to society and its needs. c

Hanken School of Economics Tel. +358 6 353 3700 Fax +358 6 353 3703 004156

Satisfied customers Own programme in Vaasa Executive education is an important part of Hanken’s operations. It is offered by the Hanken & SSE Execu108  coastline 2010

Eur-Mark, a company in Nykarleby, is one of the customers who have found Hanken’s leadership programmes to be of great benefit.

Business sector: Education and research Students: 2,147 (Vaasa 449) Doctoral students: 169 (Vaasa 28) Employees: 242 (Vaasa 44) Certification systems: EQUIS, FINHEEC, PRME, Association of MBAs

P  ragmatic pioneer VAKK aims to foresee future business needs.


he Vaasa Adult Education Centre (VAKK) boosts growth in the Vaasa region by supporting the development of local companies. “We base our operations on partnership and a strong network. Our goal is to educate practical experts for the business world,” explains Björn Brännbacka, Customer Service Manager at VAKK. VAKK clarified its strategy and operating model in early 2009, the aim being to provide increasingly flexible and customer-oriented education and development services to match the changing needs of the region’s businesses. The strategy is also supported by the City of Vaasa, which will be making big investments in renovation and new construction in the next few years. Among other things, the city will build big metal and electricity facilities. Pioneer in energy-sector education Well acquainted with local companies and their needs, VAKK encourages the region’s energy cluster, the biggest in the Nordic countries, to actively develop and set new targets. It has signed cooperation agreements with the region’s driving forces in the energy sector. The needs of both parties are determined at regular meetings. “VAKK offers the kind of top competence needed in the region’s companies – especially those involved in the energy cluster. We want to be a pioneer in energy-sector education, without forgetting the employees from other businesses we educate every day. We are always on the lookout for advanced models that can be used to develop the practical skills needed in the energy industry.

Since it is important to foresee future needs, we engage in close talks with companies to keep up-to-date on the skills profile expected of employees in the near future,” says Tommi Virkama, Director of VAKK. “We are a local organization and must be familiar with both the region and its companies to offer the best possible help and support,” Björn Brännbacka adds.

VAKK boosts growth in the Vaasa region by supporting local companies.

Customized education for every need Among other things, VAKK can arrange management training, enhance Mats Sandström

the business skills of employees, help improve processes and increase wellbeing at work. “VAKK also helps companies to develop their organizations so that they can react to changes faster. We can also play a very concrete role in finding a workforce for the region,” explains Tommi Virkama. Companies can turn to VAKK for just the kind of education they need. The Centre’s offering shifts and varies depending on the needs of working life. “What we’ve done is take a more active role and propose different types of packages to companies. Everything is based on the firm’s situation. We don’t force-feed ready solutions, but instead determine the company’s needs and suggest different solutions based on this,” says Virkama. c


“VAKK offers the kind of top competence needed in the region,” say Tommi Virkama and Björn Brännbacka.

Ruutikellarintie 2 FI-65100 Vaasa Business sector: Vocational training for adults Students: 4,200 / year and 1,400 / day Employees: 110


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Jaakko Vähämäki

Ostrobothnian grow-how Export orientation, strong clusters, highly niched companies – that is Ostrobothnian business in a nutshell. In addition, trade and business show a great deal of versatility. Ostrobothnian trade and business is characterised by diversity: the region houses different types of companies in a variety of sectors. Company sizes range from big to small, including everything in between. Even relatively small companies invest big on global markets, made possible by niche specialisation. The Coastline magazine introduces all of the main export companies in the region. Many of them operate in strong clusters, such as energy technology, metal, forest and boatbuilding, while others have found themselves a niche in completely different sectors. This kind of versatility leads to diversified risks and security for the future.

The competitive edge of Finland According to a survey published in March 2008 ­gauging the attainment of the EU’s Lisbon goals, Finland is the most competitive economy in the EU. Finland leads the league in productivity development and human capital. Finland also ranked at the top in R&D and innovation, in business environment and in sustainable development. According to a comparison conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2008, Finland ranked sixth in the global competitiveness index. The top countries were the USA, Switzerland and Denmark. Finland ranked third in innovation.

Structure of industry in Ostrobothnia Added value by sector

Innovation ability Vehicles 3% Foodstuff 4% Others 6% Chemicals and plastics 6%

Machinery and equipment 26%

According to the European Innovation Scoreboard published by the EU in 2008, Finland has done well in developing an expertise-based economy. The EU Scoreboard shows that Finland is at the cutting edge as regards innovative ability: Switzerland came first, Sweden second and Finland third.

Pulp and paper 12%

Excellent school system

Metal 17%

Electricity and electronics 26%

In the OECD’s PISA 2006 education survey, Finland once again performed excellently. The report indicates that Finnish pupils are the best in science subjects among the OECD countries and second best in mathematics and literacy.


110  coastline 2010

Facts about Finland…


Inhabitants: 5.3 million Average population density: 17 per sq. km Area: 338,145 sq. km Climate: Warm summers and cold winters Official languages: Finnish and Swedish Government: Sovereign parliamentary republic since 1917 Member of: The EU, EMU, UN, OECD and the WTO Main industries: Metal, engineering, electronics and forest

the growth engine of Central Ostrobothnia, is doing well. Development has been incredibly fast in recent years, and the rising metal prices have favoured Kokkola’s industrial structure.

Jakobstad… is a mecca of small and medium-sized export companies. The town is full of export-oriented niche businesses that thrive on the global markets. There are companies that have fewer than 50 employees yet export to more than 50 countries!

Vaasa… is home to probably the biggest energy cluster in the Nordic countries. Vaasa’s export percentage in industrial production is still nearly 80, which makes it the biggest exporting town in Finland.


e Kokkola Larsmo Jakobstad


Kälviä Kannus Kronoby


Th e





n li

…and the Coastline Ostrobothnia or the Coastline from Kristinestad in the south to Kokkola in the north covers an area of about 10,000 sq. km. About 200,000 people live on the Coastline, giving an average population density of 20 per sq. km. The population on the Coastline consists of 51 per cent Finnish-speakers, 48 per cent Swedishspeakers, and 1 per cent other. A traditionally strong sense of entrepreneurship is the basis of economic life. Internationally competitive industries and small-scale artisan enterprises prosper side by side. Greenhouse vegetables and fur farming are the region’s specialities. Well developed service branches guarantee high living standards for the population and employ nearly half of the labour force.


Oravais Maxmo Vörå Vaasa Korsholm Vähäkyrö Isokyrö Malax Laihia



Närpes Kaskinen Kristinestad




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Above all

The most flights in Finland

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