Coastline 2014–2015

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Is the Nordic leader a role model for the rest of the world?

business review: close-up of the region’s export companies

esa siltaloppi

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 2 014 –2 01 5

ON THE COVER Kaj Rönnlund is a well-known entrepreneur and investor with a broad range of leadership experience. In this issue of Coastline, he talks about the Nordic leadership model, which is characterised by trust, cooperation and low levels of hierarchy. Read more on Page 8. Cover photo: Mikko Lehtimäki


Is the Nordic leader a role model for the rest of the world? b u s i n e ss re v i e w : c l os e - u p o f t h e reg ion ’s e x p or t com pa n i e s

This publication is produced by Mantra Communications. Read more about us at

COASTLINE is regularly published by the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce. OFFICE Raastuvankatu 20, FI-65100 Vaasa, Tel. +358 6 318 6400,, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Juha Häkkinen EXECUTIVE EDITOR Anna Jeanne Söderlund EDITORIAL BOARD Juha Häkkinen, Mia Brännbacka, Anna Jeanne Söderlund, Lars Rosenblad PROJECT MANAGEMENT Mantra Communications EDITORS Lars Rosenblad, Anni Kiviniemi, Sara Jungersten, Catrin Sandvik ART DIRECTOR Janne Nylund LAYOUT Studio PAP/Glenn Nylund, Janne Nylund TRANSLATIONS Jockum Nyberg, Camilla Harald, Steven Crockatt, Frida Crotts, Päivi Auranen ENGLISH EDITOR Paul Wilkinson PRINTING FRAM, Vaasa 2014 All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Ostrbothnia Chamber of Commerce and the copyright holders, is strictly prohibited. ISSN 1235-6646.

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katja lösönen



DOERS AND CRAFTSMEN IN THE LAST FEW DECADES, Ostrobothnia has grown to become Finland’s industrial heartland. Although the region on the Finnish west coast has always been export-oriented, its relative importance has grown since local industry skilfully manoeuvred through the financial downturn that has plagued Europe since the acute financial crisis in 2008. This year Coastline magazine highlights Nordic leadership, a topic that deserves international attention. Trust is one of the cornerstones of Nordic leadership, and through this trust we can see the emergence of the strong networks that are so characteristic of our region. Even by Nordic standards, Ostrobothnia possesses a remarkable amount of trust capital, which has contributed to the formation of many clusters of international importance in the region. The leading energy technology cluster in the Nordic countries is situated in Vaasa, whereas Kokkola is home to the biggest inorganic chemical industry cluster. In addition, the Jakobstad region is a world leader in designing and building exclusive sailing yachts.

Juha Häkkinen Editor-in-chief

ALTHOUGH PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT is a central part of the activities in these clusters, we must not forget the importance of actual manufacturing. One of Ostrobothnia’s greatest strengths is that young people here want to develop their careers with handson manufacturing work. Ostrobothnia is a hands-on society where people engineer and do. The optimal mixture of rural and urban in our region has created a broad range of knowledge surrounding craftsmanship. Many young people learn to build their own houses and service machinery at home. THE INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED musical director and conductor Sakari Oramo says in this magazine (p. 24) that his most important task as Artistic Director of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra is to maintain the sound of the orchestra, as original members are replaced by musicians not rooted in folk music. At the same time he pinpoints the great challenge faced by all industrial communities, including Ostrobothnia. The quality of the manufacturing must be maintained at the same high standard, even when less young people have hands-on experience. The fate of our industry is dependent on its ability to attract employees that have both the will and the skill needed in manufacturing. If Ostrobothnia can beat that challenge, then we have every opportunity to play an even greater role in the global business community. The Finnish government has given Vaasa, the capital of Ostrobothnia, the task to lead the development of sustainable energy solutions throughout the country. The mission contains an explicitly global aspect – we need to create solutions that work throughout the world.

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ABB Ahola Transport Alholmens kraft Alucar Anvia


The leadership model in the Nordic countries is unique and quite different from the usual Anglo-American model. Equality, justice and responsibility are the backbone of Nordic leadership.


Baltic Yachts Beamex Best Hall Boliden Kokkola


Centria Chydenius Citec Componenta Corporation Pistons


Ekeri ELY Centre EPV Energy Eur-Mark


14 The Viking Grace, which sails between Finland and Sweden, is the world’s first passenger vessel to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as its fuel. LNG produces very low emissions compared to diesel oil.

Finnvera Fixura Fluid-Bag Flybe Finland Freeport Cobalt


Halpa-Halli Hanken School of Economics


Katternö KPEDU KPO The Kvarken Council KWH Group


Leinolat Group LKI Käldman


Mapromec / Maprotec Merinova Mirka Mush (Snellman)



With humble stubbornness and a sprinkling of big dreams, some of the world’s most well-crafted products are being designed and built. Welcome to the Jakobstad region, renowned for its high-quality products.

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Nautor’s Swan Nextjet Norcar-BSB Nordautomation Nordea Novia

28 70 34 60 79 51 56 66 75 101 100 30 48 63 95 36 62 90 81 57 83 74 78 105 35 99 77 92 54 45 59 47 97 52 76 50 84 72 61 82 104


OK Perintä OSTP


Port of Jakobstad Port of Kokkola Port of Vaasa Prohoc Prokon


Rani Plast Regional Council of Ostrobothnia Rettig Värme Rolls Royce Roschier


SK Tuote Solving Switch


T-Drill The Switch There Corporation Trikatex Mould


University of Vaasa UPC /Upcode

80 68 86 86 86 44 41 67 98 58 49 89

Kokkola is home to the biggest inorganic chemical industrial site in the Nordic countries. Many of the companies are global leaders in their field.

69 55 40 65 40 42 64 106 88


Vaasa Parks 96 Vacon 27 Vaasa Adult Education Centre (VAKK) 103 Vamp 31 VAO 102 VASEK 94 VEO 39 Viexpo 91 Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) 106



Walki Group Wapice Wärtsilä Wasa Dredging Wasaline Westenergy

73 43 32 71 93 38

Österberg Group



The Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra is one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras with a unique sound. BBC-conductor Sakari Oramo is the new artistic director of the orchestra.


Ostrobothnia is one of the most successful regions in Finland, largely due to its flourishing export industry.

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POPULATION Inhabitants: 5.4 million Average population density: 18 per sq. km Life expectancy: Men 77.5 and women 83.4 years Languages: 90% speak Finnish, 5,4% Swedish Religion: 78% are Lutheran, 1% Orthodox Education: 81% of the population aged 25 to 64 years have completed upper secoandary or tertiary education, 37% have university or other tertiary qualifications (highest percentage in the EU) Wired: 88% of Finnish households own a computer and 81% have broadband

GEOGRAPHY Area: 390,920 sq. km of which 9% is fresh water Climate: Warm summers and cold winters Average temperature (in Vaasa): –7.8 °C in January and 15.7 °C in July GOVERNMENT Government: Sovereign parliamentary republic since 1917 Member of: The EU (since 1995), EMU, UN, OECD and the WTO ECONOMY GDP 2012: €193 billion GNP per capita: €35,900 Currency: Euro Main industries: Metal, engineering, electronics and forest

THE COASTLINE – ONE OF THE STRONGEST AREAS IN FINLAND ▪ 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, of which 51% are Finnish-speakers and 48% Swedishspeakers. The area has a strong tradition of entrepreneurship and the largest number of companies per capita on the mainland of Finland. The export share of approximately 70% is exceptionally high. Another indicator of the area’s strong economy is that the unemployment rate is the lowest in the country.


has a significant concentration of inorganic chemistry business. The town provides a complete, top-class operating environment for largescale industry with excellent logistics and location. Transport connections include the first covered all-weather terminal in the Nordic countries.



also called Pietarsaari in Finnish, 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!


is home to the biggest concentration of energy technology companies in the Nordic countries. Vaasa’s export percentage in industrial production is nearly 80, which makes it the biggest exporting town in Finland.

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Jakobstad (Pietarsaari)


lehtikuva / jussi nukari


Leo Komarov is one of Nykarleby’s most well-known exports. He has played both in the KHL and the NHL.

Ice Hockey import and export One of the small town of Nykarleby’s best-known exports is a world class ice-hockey player – Leo Komarov. As a small boy, Leo Komarov started playing ice hockey on the ice outside. From these humble beginnings, there is now an ice hall in Nykarleby named after him, in honour of the fact that he was a member of Finland’s national team which won the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2011. Leo’s father, Alexander, came to Finland from Estonia in the 1990s to play ice hockey, and settled down at the club MuIK in Nykarleby, which is the same club that Leo grew up with. Here the young Leo Komarov learned everything there is to know about ice hockey by practising on the outdoor ice in all weathers. His career has also allowed him to play among giants like Dinamo Moscow and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Narong Meebun and Xiaoling Yu run a restaurant called Tom Yum Thai in Vaasa. At the same time they both work as engineers.

Thai restaurant as a hobby Working full-time as an engineer would be more than enough for most people, but Narong Meebun and Xiaoling Yu have another line of work too: they run a Thai restaurant in Vaasa in their spare time. “It’s like a hobby for us. And it’s also an excellent counterbalance to working in an office”, they say. Narong and Xiaoling hail from Thailand and China respectively. They came to Finland to study engineering and became friends during their studies. It was Meebun who established the restaurant in 2010 along with his sister. At that time he was already working in the sales division for the company Vacon. “I like cooking, but the funny thing is that I never did any whilst living in Thailand, since my mother was doing all the cooking. Only when I moved to Finland did I learn how to make Thai food”. When the sister pulled out of the restaurant project Meebun asked his friend Xiaoling if she would like to become his new business partner. “I immediately said yes”, says Xiaoling who works at ABB. “I do not like sitting idle in the evenings, so this really suits me. It does not feel like work at all.” During lunch hours two employees run the restaurant whilst the owners take care of evenings and weekends. Thanks to the restaurant being quite small and the opening hours relatively short, the combination of engineer by day, restaurateur by night works fine. “The thing I like most is the customer relations”, says Xiaoling. “I am social and talkative so the fact that Finns are somewhat silent suits me. I get to speak more.”

Proven happy and fortunate Residents of the Vaasa region are confident that they are among the luckiest people in the world. Such a claim may well sound a little self-assured but the statistics do back it up. Finland tends to rank high in international comparisons where quality of life is measured in different ways. In Finland, the region which is doing the best in many ways is in fact the region of Vaasa. Whatever positive statistical variable you choose to highlight, the Vaasa region is always placed among the very best. The unemployment rate is the lowest in Finland, the economy has grown fast, and people are healthier than in the other areas. Last but not least, women along the west coast live the longest in the whole country.

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TRUST AND COOPERATION In 2013, the leading business magazine, The Economist, predicted that the Nordic social model would be “The next supermodel”. An important part of this model is leadership, which is based on trust, cooperation and low levels of hierarchy. Such a model has created many successful Nordic businesses.

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“A sense of justice is important. Leaders are expected to treat their employees in an equal manner.”


he key to maintaining safety in a passenger-plane cockpit is to ensure that precautions are always kept at the highest standard. This means that even though a formal hierarchy is apparent, airlines still have a standard operation procedure (SOP) on how the co-pilot assumes control over the aircraft, should the captain make a potentially fatal error or misjudge a situation For airlines with a hierarchical company culture, this SOP is a sensitive matter and aviation history is no stranger to serious accidents occurring as a result of a co-pilot not daring to say that the captain is wrong. In Nordic companies, however, there is nothing unusual about the SOP, since this way of working is considered the norm. In other words, hierarchies are neither strict nor important. Instead, the main concern is the result and

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the best results are achieved when everybody is free to speak their mind and take part in the decision-making process.


University of Vaasa is one of Finland’s best-known researchers in the field of Human Resource Management. She is also a board member of Finnish companies like Vacon. “Democracy is embedded in the Nordic countries in a unique way. Here, you won’t succeed as a leader if you are authoritarian; there is simply very little room for hierarchy-based leadership. There is a high level of education in the Nordic countries and working life is characterised by the will and right of the employees to participate in decision making”, Viitala says. A sense of justice is also important. Leaders at all levels are expected to treat their employees in an equal manner, and make decisions that do not contradict the employees’ sense of fairness. However, this in no way implies that order is not needed in the workplace. “The leader’s ability to create order from chaos is important in a society where people are used to everything running smoothly”, says Viitala.

LEADERSHIP CONSULTANT Kari Kasanen highlights this sense of justice as being one of the cornerstones of Nordic leadership. Kasanen is the Chairman

of the Board and principal owner of the consulting agency Talent Vectia, which advises both big global companies and public sector organisations. According to Kasanen, the backbone of Nordic leadership is built around equality, justice and responsibility, in combination with strong values that are taken seriously. “Nordic leadership represents low organisational hierarchies, flexibility and delegating responsibility. In the Anglo-American leadership culture,

“The backbone of Nordic leadership is built around equality, justice and responsibility”, says Kari Kasanen.

mikko lehtimäki

mikko lehtimäki

According to Kaj Rönnlund, you do not get the respect of the employees automatically through your formal position, but earn it through your actions.

“You must earn your position” During his years as a leader, entrepreneur and investor, Kaj Rönnlund has learnt to trust his gut feeling.

▪ Kaj Rönnlund has a background as an entrepreneur

In her capacity as a board member of Vacon, Riitta Viitala has seen how a Nordic company with strong values can successfully run a factory in China the same way as in the Nordic countries.

by comparison, hierarchy, control and figures matter. Another important part of Nordic leadership is social capital. At the core lies the question surrounding the company’s view of the people within its organisation. Company leaders need to trust and ensure that their employees are working with the company’s best interests in mind”, Kasanen states. The Nordic countries are definitely characterised by high levels of trust. People generally trust each other, which is evident in both business and employer and employee relations. As honesty is a core value, a reputation becomes quickly tainted if someone’s word is not kept. It is common, especially among smaller businesses, to agree verbally instead of using written contracts.

KARI KASANEN SAYS that trust in an organisation consists of three aspects: commitment, consistency and caring. “The employees feel whether or not the boss is committed to the job and that rubs off. Consistency creates predictability and true caring. Interest in co-workers is also a sign of a charismatic leader”, Kasanen states. In their article about the Nordic model, The Economist points out that trust is economically beneficial: “A high level of trust results in lower transaction costs. There is no need for expensive legal processes or bribes in the Nordic countries”, the author observes.

Nordic leadership is actually based on the values present in Nordic societies, and an interesting question concerns whether these same values can be copied by others. Both Riitta Viitala and Kari Kasanen say it is possible to export Nordic leadership as long as one can show that it translates into results. In her capacity as a board member of Vacon, Viitala has seen how a Nordic company with strong values can successfully run a factory in China the same way as in the Nordic countries. “Leadership models can most certainly be copied. Today, 80% of the value of the most successful global companies is bound up in immaterial assets. The company culture is the same regardless of the country”, says Kari Kasanen, mentioning companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Starbucks.

RIITTA VIITALA SEES Nordic traits in

the international trends towards shared leadership and distributed leadership in teams. “In a team consisting of ten experts, leadership can be exercised by anyone, depending on the type of knowledge needed. Everybody leads in their field of expertise. It is a genuinely Nordic way of working.” Kari Kasanen notes that in addition to leadership, organisational structure is also important. In the Nordic countries, structures that are not too rigid are common, and work well in today’s

in the investment management business, and besides Finland he has also worked in Sweden, Switzerland and Germany. This has given him broad experience of leadership in different countries. “One of the biggest differences is that in the Nordic countries you need to earn your position. You do not get the respect of the employees automatically through your formal position, but earn it through your actions.” Rönnlund became a boss for the first time when he was under 30 years old. That was partially due to him, by chance, entering the brand new field of options trading in the late 80’s. ”In Germany people were surprised that I was so young and yet in a leading position. I don’t think that someone would call the age of a boss into question in the same way in the Nordic countries.” Rönnlund is very comfortable with the Nordic leadership style, which is characterized by low levels of hierarchy, and a work environment where everyone can speak freely regardless of position. This model is especially well suited to a knowledge-based society. “All research suggests that the more knowledge intensive a field is, the more information the employees want and the more say they want in the decisions taken. The drawback of this model is that you tend to discuss a lot, and there is a risk that the decisions made end up being watered down, resulting in bad compromises.” Today Rönnlund works as an investor and board member in different companies. He has invested in many of the start-ups presented in this magazine, such as There Corporation, Fixura and The Switch. Rönnlund says that his leadership today is based on trusting his gut feeling. “Leadership is very much about communication. You need to be able to explain your view in a straightforward and concise manner, whilst still listening to others. However, I don’t listen to others in order to play the role of the psychologist; I listen to gather information in order to be able to make good decisions. After enough listening to others, my gut feeling usually leads me down the right path.”

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jan sandvik

katja lösönen

According to Mikael Ahlbäck, the best thing about being a leader in the Nordic countries is that in general one can trust people.

Heikki Uusitalo considers to be the greatest proof of his own success as a leader that many of his former subordinates have succeeded well in their careers.

“I don’t feel like a big boss”

“Discussion is a supervisor’s most important tool”

Someone visiting Rani Plast for the first time might have a hard time figuring out who the CEO is – that is how well Mikael Ahlbäck blends in with the rest of the staff.

▪ On days when Rani Plast’s CEO Mikael Ahlbäck is not travelling or

meeting customers, he is dressed in jeans and hangs out in the break room just like everybody else. “I have to admit that I do not see myself as a big boss, and I never have. I have always felt like I am part of the crew. Perhaps it is because my first job here at the company was to remove rocks from the lawn outside the office”, Ahlbäck says. Ahlbäck has grown up with Rani Plast. His father established the company back in his day, and fifteen years ago Ahlbäck junior took charge. Before that he had already worked in the family company for several years.

IN 60 YEARS TIME Rani Plast has gone from a small business to a

global corporate group, with a turnover close to 200 million euros, and hundreds of employees. Most of the manufacturing is still located in the small village of Terjärv where it all started. Ahlbäck has not really reflected much on his leadership style. He says that he is just being himself. “I talk to the employees a lot, also about things that are not related to work. However, there is nothing tactical about it, it is just who I am. When I am visiting our factory in Russia I act the same way, but there I notice that people are not used to the boss engaging in small talk. Still, I want Rani Plast to have the same company culture everywhere and at the end of the day the Russians are usually positively surprised by my leadership style.”

ACCORDING TO AHLBÄCK, the best thing about being a leader in the Nordic countries is that in general one can trust people. A leader can delegate tasks with confidence and be sure that the job will be done. When the level of hierarchy is low the leader can also trust people to say what they think. “We had a factory in India for a few years, and there it was a challenge to get the right information. I learnt to always ask the most junior employee first in a meeting – that way they could not automatically agree with their superiors.” However, everyone daring to say what they think has its drawbacks too. According to Ahlbäck it means that people readily complain, and that a lot of the boss’s time is spent in discussions.

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Heikki Uusitalo knows how to manage Finns. Don’t interfere too much; employees want freedom and responsibility.

▪ Senior Vice President Heikki Uusitalo has worked for his entire

career in the same company, ABB Finland. Four years in SaudiArabia and managing global operations have taught him how Nordic management differs from management in other parts of the world. “In Finland and the other Nordic countries, management is open and democratic. At the same time, however, it is also determined and persistent,” says Uusitalo.

UUSITALO HAS NOTED that, in developing countries, employees

feel that they are working for the manager on a more personal level. “Elsewhere, a manager must give much more daily feedback, otherwise the employees feel that they have been left alone. Finns, on the other hand, become irritated if you interfere in their work too much. They want freedom and responsibility,” says Uusitalo. This does not mean, however, that managers and their subordinates have nothing to do with each other in the Nordic countries – on the contrary. “Discussion is a supervisor’s most important tool. We Finns are often amused by the Swedes because they talk so much. But it’s my opinion that it’s good that in Finland, too, we have begun to speak more in the workplace. As a manager, you have to know how to listen to people and to be empathic.”

UUSITALO CONSIDERS TO BE the greatest proof of his own success as a leader that many of his former subordinates have succeeded well in their careers. He believes that there is a demand for Nordic management – one indication of this is that his own company ABB has two Finns in its global management team. “I would say transparency and trust are fundamental to Nordic management, and such values are much sought after all over the world.” Uusitalo is also convinced that he, as a leader, should make work more enjoyable. Relaxed and happy employees do better work. “I set up the ABB Runners club and I’ve been delighted to observe that many of my subordinates have taken up endurance running. I run myself, and in this the same lesson applies as in other management: you often lead best by example.”


network-based economy. He says

very suited to global matrix organisations. “There can be up to seven dimensional matrices in global groups today. In such an environment, hierarchical leadership no longer works. In this regard, the Nordic way is a good alternative for decentralised companies, as decisions need to be made close to the customer according to local circumstances”, Kasanen explains.



HUMILITY IS ANOTHER trait command-

ing respect in the Nordic countries. A humble leader becomes a respected leader who does not need to hide behind formal authority to get things done. This creates an interesting parallel to one of the classics of 21st century management literature, Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” (2001) that coined the term Level 5 Leader. Level 5 Leaders are extraordinarily effective individuals characterised by will power and humility. They put the company first, and do not let their egos become obstacles in their organisations. As such, they are able to deliver excellent lasting results. Research has also shown that respecting others, unselfishness on the part of the leader and an irrepressible will to reach very ambitious targets brings out the best in employees. When Collins’ book was published, the Level 5 Leader was an odd but successful figure in the big American companies. Few people managed to put aside their egos in the way that is necessary to attain this highest level of leadership. “A successful leader understands that leadership is about helping others succeed. Then focus is shifted from oneself to supporting others”, Professor Riitta Viitala concludes. This is Nordic leadership at its best. c



→ that Nordic leadership would be



Nordic leadership is characterized by trust. A high level of trust results in lower transaction costs.


“There can be up to seven dimensional matrices in global groups today. In such an environment, hierarchical leadership no longer works.”

01 Strategy

02 Market and customers

03 Operational model

04 Leadership systems

05 Leadership


•  Create shared values •  Trade unions and other interest groups are important •  Social and environmental responsibility

•  Competitive •  When shareholder value grows, everybody wins •  Profit maximisation is in everybody’s interest

•  Strong networks •  Quality and customer satisfaction most important •  Lasting customer relations

•  The power of a single company •  Pricing and efficiency most important •  Maximisation of market share

•  Equality •  Low hierarchy •  Importance of the individual

•  Clear power relations and structures •  Strong hierarchy •  Many manuals and rules

•  The leader is often an expert (i.e. Graduate engineer) •  Decision making is delegated •  Employees are involved

•  Specialisation and splitting up tasks •  Control and supervision •  Leading with the help of numbers

•  A culture of discussion and listening •  The manager is a coach and sparring partner •  A belief that teams and individuals can lead themselves •  Learning and knowledge considered important

•  The individual is a small part of the machinery •  The manager sets the rules •  Leading by manuals and instructions •  The right man in the right place solves the problem

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FRIENDLY PASSENGER SHIP The Viking Grace, which has sailed between Finland and Sweden from early 2013, is the world’s first passenger vessel to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as its fuel. A ship using LNG produces very low emissions compared with a ship using diesel oil. The Viking Grace is a true masterpiece of Finnish engineering, and many companies of the Vaasa energy cluster have also been involved in the project.

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SIMPLY BY OBSERVING the ship’s funnel, anyone can see with their own eyes how environmentally friendly the Viking Grace is. No soot at all comes from the funnel, because LNG is such a clean fuel. Sulphur dioxide emissions are also close to zero. Compared with a traditional diesel engine, particulate emissions are 95% and nitrogen oxide emissions 90% less, and carbon dioxide emissions are 20–30% lower.

→ WÄRTSILÄ has long supplied gas engines for cargo ships, but in the Viking Grace LNG technology was applied for the first time to a passenger vessel. The four Wärtsilä 50DF engines generally use environmentally friendly gas, but if the need arises traditional diesel can also be used as a fuel. In addition to the engines, Wärtsilä also delivered the propellers and the round fuel tanks in the aft section of the ship, as well the compact silencer system for reduction of noise levels. → VACON has supplied the Viking Grace with a total of more than one hundred frequency converters. The products are installed in a variety of air conditioning, pump and fan applications and help save a significant amount of energy.

→ ABB has supplied a system that converts the power produced by the engines into electricity. Most of the electricity is transmitted to the electric propulsion motors, but the vessel, of course, also uses electricity for other needs. Of the four engines, only the number needed are in use at any given time. In addition, ABB’s EMMA system monitors the whole vessel’s energy consumption, ensuring that fuel is used as efficiently as possible.

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VIBRANT QUALITY With humble stubbornness, and a sprinkle of big dreams, some of the world’s most well-crafted products are being formed. Welcome to the Jakobstad region, renowned for its highquality products.

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jan sandvik

Creating a sustainable


“FOR ME THE QUALITY of our products is synonymous with a general quality of life. I want to work for sustainable values and utilize my competence to fight the throw-away lifestyle. It’s a question of thinking in the long-term, with the well-being of both humans and the Earth in focus.” “Noolan uses only natural materials of the highest quality and our garments are made by local sub-suppliers. This way of making clothes is naturally costly, but it does guarantee a genuine quality. Our garments are comfortable to wear and bring out the best of the person wearing them. Above all, thanks to our timeless designs, they can be worn year after year and on all types of occasions. Our clothes are basic garments, which can be adapted to suit both as everyday wear and for festive occasions. Taking good care of the garments will ensure that they last for many years – in terms of both quality and design.“ “We have opened concept stores in a number of places in Finland, we are about to establish ourselves in Scandinavia, and we have also managed to take our first steps in the American market. Our customers are attracted by the lifestyle and holistic approach, the sustainable and the responsible. An overwhelming majority of our customers return to us. Although our clothes are pricey, they give the wearer so much more than just a piece of clothing.” Marja Rak, Chief Executive, Head Designer

FACTS Noolan was founded in 2000 by Marja and Jonas Rak. The family business is based in Jakobstad, but the stylish and exclusive clothes, manufactured solely from linen and wool, have gained international recognition, for example at New York Fashion week.

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jan sandvik

The best catamarans in


“OUR REGION CAN BOAST among the world’s top boat builders, since our professionalism within craftsmanship is deeply rooted. OQS was born as a joint venture between some local players in the market. Our aim was to secure the competence and tradition which has been present in the region for centuries. From the start we decided that if we embarked on this project, we’d set our goals high: we’d work with the top designers of the world, and we’d build the best catamarans in the world.” “As we knew it was important not to compete with existing local manufacturers in the Jakobstad region, who mainly produce traditional yachts, we focused on catamarans instead. It has been a long and winding journey. Building a catamaran is a very complex process in comparison to building single-hulled boats.” “It’s a question of millimetres when it comes to bringing out the best qualities of a catamaran: power combined with speed, safety and comfort. This goes all the way from the structural design to the smallest interior details. We are the only catamaran producer making the deckhouse structure exclusively with titanium. For us, the word quality doesn’t refer only to aesthetics and comfort; it also includes the ability to anticipate and prevent problems as well as to maximize safety and performance.” Peter Granholm, Managing Director

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FACTS Ocean Quality System (OQS) was founded in 2010 and builds catamarans to order. The company comprises four joint owner firms: Polypoint, Riskas Snickeri, AcuElektro and Wi-Bo-metall.


jan sandvik

Transparency and

RELIABILITY “AHLSKOG LEATHER MAKES exotic and exclusive reindeer leather of top quality. The technical properties such as durability, dyeing, and softness are of key importance for our customers – for example Louis Vuitton uses our leather in their glove collection for men.” “In a wider perspective, quality is all about a holistic approach, beginning with the small details. Quality comprises how quickly the customers get responses to their queries, how soon we are able to supply, as well as our ability to be flexible and anticipate the customer’s needs. It is also about a readiness to, at any time, invite customers to our factory. We work in a neat and congenial environment, and it is essential that our employees enjoy coming to work. In our line of business it is also self-evident to take the environment and ecology into consideration in all processes.” “Our production chain begins at the reindeer farms in Lapland. Maintaining an open and well-working dialogue between origin and end product is one of our main tasks, and from time to time we take our customers to Lapland. Working for transparency is something I value highly. Elements providing the right conditions for a high quality product are honesty, prestige as well as hard and focused work.” Carita Pöntiö, Managing Director

FACTS Ahlskog Leather was founded in 1920. The company manufactures reindeer leather for the leather industry. In 2012, Ahlskog won the award the Finnish Fashion Act.

coastline 2014–2015 19


WHERE CHEMIST THRIVES 20 coastline 2014–2015


The largest inorganic chemical manufacturing site in the Nordic region is in Kokkola. Since its establishment in the 1940s, the industrial park has grown to become a solid chemical manufacturing cluster employing 2,000 people. The area is of great significance for Finnish export.


t is very likely that your mobile phone contains material from Kokkola Industrial Park. This is because one of the largest companies in the park, Freeport Cobalt, manufactures cobalt for a significant percentage of the world’s lithium-ion batteries. Other products manufactured at Kokkola Industrial Park include zinc, feed phosphate and a large number of other chemicals, ranging from carbon dioxide to calcium chloride. During the first part of the 2010s, the chemical industry has grown to become the industrial branch with the highest export value in Finland. The companies in the Kokkola Industrial Park (KIP) play an important role in this development. Currently, KIP is the largest inorganic chemical manufacturing site in the Nordic countries, with the companies on the site employing 2,000 people directly, and a further 10,000 indirectly. The by-products generated in one factory at KIP are utilised as raw materials in another. In addition, electricity, district heating and steam are generated on site, and are utilized both within the park itself or externally. One of the first things a visitor to the 700-hectare site notices is the complex network of pipes running between the

factories. The versatile use of raw materials is one of KIP’s strengths.


played a vital role in Kokkola. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, ship building and tar export were important business activities in the area. Today, the Port of Kokkola is the third largest port in Finland. The industrial park was established because of the town’s favourable location on the west coast. During the Second World War, when Finland was at war with the Soviet Union, one of the principal strategies in the government’s industrial policy was to place important industrial establishments on the west coast. In 1945, as a consequence of this policy, the state-owned company Rikkihappo (later Kemira) founded a sulphuric acid plant and a superphosphate plant close to the port of Kokkola. Sulphuric acid is used as a raw material in the production of superphosphate, which is a phosphate-based fertilizer. In the coming decades, Rikkihappo and its successor Kemira built several new factories in the area. The southern part of KIP is still called “the Kemira area” today, although Kemira no longer operates in Kokkola.

coastline 2014–2015 21


Boliden’s zinc plant in Kokkola is one of the largest in the world.

“The industrial park is the largest manufacturing site of inorganic chemicals in the Nordic region.”

making and industrial policy that built up what is KIP today. During this process, both Kemira and Outokumpu gradually evolved into genuinely global, market-driven export companies.

IN THE 1990S, the Finnish govern-

ment decided to reduce its ownership in industrial companies, which had far-reaching consequences for the industrial site in Kokkola. When Kemira sold its fertilizer production operations and began to focus on water chemistry instead, the company’s operations in Kokkola came to an end. Today, the largest operator in the former “Kemira area” is the Norwegian company, Yara, which focuses on fodder phosphate production. Later, when Outokumpu began to focus exclusively on stainless steel pro-

SIMILARLY, THE NORTHERN part of KIP is called “the Outokumpu area” after another Finnish state-owned company, which established its presence in Kokkola in 1962 with a sulphuric acid plant. Several years later, Outokumpu expanded its operations with a cobalt plant and a zinc plant. In other words, it was initially governmental decision-

duction, the company’s assets in Kokkola were also sold. Today, the largest companies in the former “Outokumpu area” are Boliden, which has taken over the zinc production, and Freeport Cobalt, which runs the cobalt refinery. Altogether, 11 industrial companies and approximately 70 service companies operate in KIP. “Even though all industrial operations have now been acquired by multinational companies, not one single company has been closed down; instead the new owners have made large investments”, says Thomas Slotte, chairperson of KIP Association.

IN THE MID-2000S, the KIP Association

was founded to oversee the rapid transition that the site was going through

OUTOKUMPU Cobolt plant Sulfur plant Power plant

Zinc plant

OMG Kokkola Chemicals Oy Kokkola ZinkOy IVO

KIP Service Oy Kokkola Power


Boliden Kokkola Oy

Freeport Cobalt Oy

1945 1962 1967 1969 1976 1984 1990 1991 1994 1996 1999 2004 2005 2006 2007 2009 2011 2012 2013

Sodium sulfate plant Calcium chloride plant Sulphuric acid plant Superphosphate plant


Organic fine chemicals

Potassium sulphate plant

KemFine Oy Tetra Chemicals Europe Polargas

Nordkalk Oyj

Feed phosphate production

Yara Suomi Oy KIP Infra Oy Maintpartner Oy Woikoski Oy KIP Association

Port Tower CABB Oy Air Liquide Finland Oy

Onepoint Oy

State-owned Kemira was the first company to establish itself in Kokkola Industrial Park in 1945. In 1962, another state-owned company, Outokumpu, set up operations in the area.

22 coastline 2014–2015

The by-products generated in one plant are used as raw materials in other plants. In addition, electricity, district heating and steam are generated on site, which are utilized both in the park and outside.



Co, HCl


Freeport Cobalt


Steam Compressed air















Tetra Heat

CO2 Kokkolan Voima

Kokkola Power

CO2 Woikoski

Air Liquide



after Kemira and Outokumpu moved from the area. “We called-in all the executives and discussed the possibilities for cooperation as well as strategies on how to tackle the changes in the best way. Safety, security and the environment were high priority issues involving the whole park. This is still true, and today we also co-operate regarding educational matters. In addition, we have a great deal of common benchmarking, in which we seek the best practice solutions”, says Slotte. Today, the Port of Kokkola is integrated in the industrial park, even though only a third of the goods shipped through the port originate from the factories in the area. One third consists of transit traffic from Russia, while the rest comprises container traffic and general cargo. The deep port has a safe draft of 13 m, which allows Panamax class vessels of up to 80,000 DWT to enter the port. Moreover, the area boasts


Finland’s only all-weather terminal (AWT) where freight can be discharged and loaded under a roof. One of the Port’s main competitive advantages stems from good rail connections, combined with the fact that the rail gauge in Finland is the same as in Russia and China. “The port and its connection to the rail network is KIP’s main success factor. Other success factors include access to qualified professionals in the region as well as our investment in security and the environment, which has contributed to giving KIP a good reputation in the field of chemical manufacturing”, says Thomas Slotte. There is a strong belief in the future of Kokkola Industrial Park. The companies in the area annually invest around 50 billion Euros in modernisations. Furthermore, a combined investment of more than 100 billion Euros in new productions has been made by a number of companies. c



Industries and energy producers in KIP Boliden

zinc, sulphuric acid

Freeport Cobalt cobalt Yara

feed phosphates, potassium sulphate

Woikoski oxygen, nitrogen and argon gas, carbon dioxide Air Liquide

oxygen, carbon dioxide


calcium chloride




organic fine chemicals

Kokkola Power

electricity, heat, steam

Kokkolan Voima electricity, district heating

coastline 2014–2015 23



BIG ENSEMBLE “Straightforward and juicy, no academic playing”, is how artistic director Sakari Oramo describes the sound he has been assigned to manage.

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Many of the members of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra come from families of folk musicians. The core group have played together for a long time and are closely united in their style of playing.

BBC-conductor Sakari Oramo is the new artistic director of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras.


he region around Kokkola is known for its folk music, of which the violin is an important instrument. One of the villages in the region, Kaustinen, hosts one of the most significant folk music festivals in Europe. It was in this musical climate that music pedagogue Juha Kangas set up a chamber orchestra in 1972 for young people in Kokkola. Many of the musicians came from well-known families of folk musicians and had a flair for playing stringed instruments, even if they had not played any classical music. Juha Kangas utilized and refined the specific sound that emerged.


(OCO) is one of the most well-known chamber orchestras in the world. Since 2013, the artistic directorship has been held by Sakari Oramo, one of Finland’s internationally-renowned conductors. He is also the chief conductor for the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He is frequently asked to appear as a guest conductor for symphony orchestras all over the world. Oramo and his wife, opera singer Anu Komsi, have one of their homes in Kokkola. Here they founded the avant-garde and artistically high-class Kokkola Opera in 2004. From 1995 Oramo acted as the principal guest conductor for the OCO, before becoming the principal conductor in 2009. “The sound is absolutely unique. It is very Nordic, very Finnish and very Ostrobothnian. It is straight-

forward and juicy, no academic playing”, says Sakari Oramo.

UNDER THE DIRECTION of Juha Kangas, the orchestra

received an increasing amount of fame and recognition in the 1970s and 80s, initially as a youth orchestra, and later as an orchestra for adults. In 1989 it was time to take the step to become a professional orchestra playing for an international audience. One person’s vision and initiative had evolved into a cooperation project characteristic for Ostrobothnia: a project in which the whole region was involved. “Many of our musicians have played together for a long time and are closely united in their style of playing. The folk music roots of the region are an integral ingredient for the sound. My most important duty is to pass on this sound to new members of the orchestra”, says Oramo. c

RECORDINGS The Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra has made more than 60 recordings, mostly under the direction of Juha Kangas, and several together with internationally well-known soloists. The entire chamber music treasure, containing Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert, can be found in their repertoire. Sakari Oramo suggests a selection of three recordings for those wishing to become more closely acquainted with the orchestra. Epifania (2013) Juha Kangas A cross-section of contemporary Finnish music, close to the heart of the orchestra. Pehr Henrik Nordgren (2005) Juha Kangas, soloist, Marko Ylinen, cello. Nordgren (1944- 2008) was the composer in residence. Sibelius Works for String Orchestra (2001) Juha Kangas. All Finnish orchestras with self-esteem take up the work of the national composer Sibelius.

coastline 2014–2015 25

EXPORT Ostrobothnia is one of the most successful regions in Finland, largely due to its flourishing export industry. It is also home to the biggest energy technology cluster in the Nordic countries. The cluster comprises more than 140 companies, several of which are global market leaders in their field. Over 30% of Finland’s total export in energy technology comes from the region. Read about the main companies of the energy cluster on pages 27–48. Pages 49–107 present all important companies in other fields, and organisations contributing to the region’s success. Happy reading!

26 coastline 2014–2015

Vacon’s operations are driven by a passion to develop, manufacture and sell the best AC drives and inverters in the world. The operations are driven by two important goals in terms of responsibility: 1 % of the world’s electricity consumption should be saved with Vacon’s AC drives and 5 % of the world’s renewable energy should be produced with Vacon’s products.

Driven by common values Vacon’s leadership principles rest on collectively formulated values mikko lehtimäki

At the global and growing AC drives manufacturer Vacon, creating a shared culture is increasingly important. This is why the company has gone through a thorough company culture process where new values have been developed in cooperation with the staff. These values form the basis of Vacon’s leadership principles. All leaders and managers, from the group executive board down to team leaders throughout the world, are expected to lead their staff according to four principles: • Lead by good example • Inspire and empower • Build the winning team • Set challenging goals Vacon’s values were formulated through a process where everybody had a say. “We held some 80 culture cafés that all of our 1,600 employees took part in. Subsequently we created a working group with an ambassador from every country who developed four Vacon Values”, says Tuula Hautamäki, Senior Vice President, HR. Vacon is a global company with factories in five countries; Finland, China, India, Italy and the US. Sales offices are scattered throughout the world. It is of course challenging to develop a company culture and leadership principles with worldwide applicability. The head office is in Finland, but that geographical fact has not guided the value process.

“At Vacon values and leadership principles are not simply noble aspirations. We work hard to ensure that these principles and values are embraced throughout the workforce. We are a growth company and value-based management is a means to reaching our goals”, says Tuula Hautamäki.

However, Vacon’s roots and history are important for the culture that has developed during the first 20 years of the company. Vacon was established in 1993 in Vaasa, Finland by 13 bold entrepreneurs, who shared a passion to develop and manufacture the best AC drives in the world. This entrepreneurial culture is still strong and is manifested most clearly in the “Taking Ownership” and “Passion for Excellence” values. These values are all about the will to be the best, something that is characteristic of Vacon’s employ-

ees. To become the best, all employees have both the right and the duty to make decisions and take initiative. The foundational value “Stronger Together” guides the attitude towards customers, suppliers and colleagues. At Vacon one cooperates instead of building walls. “Trust and Respect” pertains to openness, justice and respect in all relations at work. At Vacon the starting point is that one can trust colleagues and co-workers. “Vacon is a growth company and our growth targets are ambitious. This leaves its mark on our values”, Hautamäki points out. “Many companies display their values on the office wall, but they mean very little in practice. Vacon is completely different. When I started working for the company in 2000, the first thing my boss did was to tell me about the values and company culture”, Hautamäki says. c

vacon Business sector: Design and manufacturing of AC Drives Turnover 2012: €388 million Employees: 1,600


Major markets: EMEA, APAC, Americas

coastline 2014–2015 27

Finland is in many ways an exceptional country for ABB; although ABB Finland’s revenue accounts for only 5 per cent of the Group’s total revenue, Finland accounts for 15 per cent of product development spending.

Electrifying Finland a  ABB has over one hundred years’ experience of electricity katja lösönen

ABB Group is a global leader in power and automation technologies, operating in more than 100 countries worldwide. Finland is in many ways an exceptional country for ABB; although ABB Finland’s revenue accounts for only 5 per cent of the Group’s total revenue, Finland accounts for 15 per cent of product development spending. “Our share of product development spending is relatively high. We do not only carry out product development for our own needs, but also globally. Many ABB units around the world benefit from our development work”, says Heikki Uusitalo, Chief Technology Officer. ABB Finland develops many of the Group’s key product segments, such as frequency converters, protection relays, diesel and wind power generators, and electricity distribution automation. ABB Finland’s product development is based on long experience. The international ABB Group was formed in the late 1980s through mergers of various companies. One of these companies was the Finnish company Strömberg, which with its nearly

28 coastline 2014–2015

When ABB acquired Strömberg, the company internationalised in one fell swoop. In three years, the exports of ABB’s Finnish companies more than doubled thanks to the new worldwide marketing and sales channels. Today, more than 80 per cent of ABB Finland’s production is exported. “Finnish products were, and still are, competitive in the world market both in terms of technical characteristics and price”, says Uusitalo, who was working for Strömberg when it became ABB. For Uusitalo and other young engineers, internationalisation offered excellent career opportunities.

“We do not only carry out product development for our own needs, but also globally”, says Heikki Uusitalo.

one hundred years of experience was a trailblazer of Finland’s electricity industry. “The company’s founder Gottfrid Strömberg was in many ways a pioneer. As well as founding a successful company, he also trained Finland’s first electrical engineers”, explains Uusitalo.

Strömberg was founded in 1889 and this means that ABB Finland will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2014. The Strömberg tradition is still strongly present in the company through, among other things, the investments in product development. In 2012, ABB Finland invested EUR 184 million in research and development. In addition to the work that ABB does itself, the company cooperates closely with

ABB Finland develops many of the Group’s key product segments, such as protection relays and electricity distribution automation.

nd the world Strömberg was founded in 1889 and this means that ABB Finland will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2014.

external parties such as universities and other higher education establishments. ABB offers engineering students summer jobs and cooperates with students around their thesis or diploma work. Cooperation has also been established on the doctoral dissertation level. “Over the last ten years, 180 doctoral degrees in electrical engineering have

awarded in Finland. Of these, 40 doctoral dissertations have been completed in cooperation with ABB. This speaks volumes about ABB’s significance for the sector”, says Uusitalo. ABB cooperates closely and proactively with higher education establishments. A few years ago, ABB realised that solar power was becoming a big business. Solar inverters are based on frequency

converter technology, which has been successfully developed in Finland since the late 1960s, but Finland was almost entirely lacking in solar power expertise. “We took the initiative of a research programme with higher education establishments in order to launch investment in solar power. To date, 10 doctoral dissertations and 20 master’s theses have been completed as a result of the programme. Now we have solid solar power expertise in Finland and ABB is able to offer the world’s best solar power inverter”, says Uusitalo. c

abb finland Business sector:  Power and automation technology Turnover: €2.3 billion Employees: 5,400


Export: 80% Major markets: Worldwide

coastline 2014–2015 29

Oil & Gas – two powerful words Citec is Finland’s biggest exporter of consulting work

Citec strongly believes that oil and gas will be important sources of energy for decades to come.

CITEC is a leading provider of multidiscipline engineering, information management and project management services in the energy sector. In 2013 Citec became Finland’s biggest exporter of consulting work. Citec’s strengths are its global project management skills, local presence close to customers and global resourcing capability. “The global resourcing model makes it possible for us to efficiently use our resources in India, where we have about 400 professionals. This makes us cost competitive in the market and expands our field of expertise”, says Director Sakari Koivuniemi. Citec has been hiring additional personnel in Finland and in other European locations at the same time as it has grown in India. Citec commands vast expertise in many fields, such as energy, the process industry and manufacturing as well as the civil, vehicle and healthcare sectors. A new area of focus is the oil & gas sector, headed by Sakari Koivuniemi. “In 2013 we acquired two engineering companies, the French company Akilea Engineering and the Norwegian company M7 Offshore. Through these acquisitions, we now have more than 100 experts specialised in the oil and gas industry”, says Koivuniemi. Citec’s oil and gas competence covers the complete value chain, from feasibility

30 coastline 2014–2015

“Our oil and gas competence covers the complete value chain, from feasibility studies to installation and commissioning”, says Sakari Koivuniemi.

studies to installation and commissioning. The technological development in the sector benefits Citec, as oil and gas is being exploited in increasingly challenging environments. “There is a demand for more advanced engineering competence, which we can provide.” jessica lindgren

Citec’s customers in the field of oil and gas are oil companies, contractors, ship owners, suppliers and engineering companies. “In this industry it’s typical that projects are of the engineering-to-order type, which means that everything is planned from scratch. This is precisely our area of expertise”, says Koivuniemi. Citec strongly believes that oil and gas will be important sources of energy for decades to come. “Population growth and rising standards of living in developing countries will ensure that demand for energy continues to grow. The biggest change in the sector is that the importance of natural gas is continually increasing.” c

citec Tel. +358 6 324 0700 Business sector: Multi-discipline engineering and information management services primarily for the energy industry Estimated turnover 2013: €70 million Employees: 1,100 Major markets: Northern Europe Certificates: ISO9001:2000


katja lösönen

“In addition to protection technology, we also offer expert services. We program devices into operational condition and offer training and consulting in relay and arc flash protection, for example”, says Marko Kuokkanen.

World-class protection Vamp launches new range of protection relays

In power distribution networks, Vamp’s products serve as the best bodyguards or protection managers. They constantly monitor events in distribution grids. When the need arises, they are ready to operate in milliseconds. Vamp’s product ranges consist of low-, medium-voltage and area network protection relays, arc flash protection systems, and measurement and monitoring units. The company seeks to be an agile player in the protection technology market. “We are nimble on our feet. We are innovative and fast to react. If a customer has some requirement for a device, we strive to develop it for them and manufacture the product quickly”, says Managing Director Marko Kuokkanen. Smart protection technology can be produced only through effective product development, and up to one third of Vamp’s personnel work in this area. One recent and significant result of development work is the Vamp 300 series protection, which is now being launched on to the global market. “The relay has USB connections and more inputs and outputs. Programmable LEDs, allowing users to specify for themselves the alarm functions they wish, have been added to its display panel. The device also has 10 option card slots, so it can be

tailored in practice to suit its application”, explains Kuokkanen. One of the relay’s available options is arc flash protection. Vamp was the first company in the world to launch this on to the market and it continues to enjoy the position of technology leader. A unique feature is that arc flash protection can be incorporated into all of the company’s protection relays. Its task is to monitor a switchgear, and in the event of an arc occurring Vamp arc protection systems react

Vamp’s latest product range is the protection relay 300 series, which has been developed to fulfil wishes expressed by customers. The advanced protection relay meets all specifications worldwide.

as quickly as 1 ms, which limits damage to equipment or injury to personnel. “In addition to arc flash protection, Vamp’s advantage is its various communication protocols and one of the reasons for our continuous growth has been our settings program, which makes Vamp products easy to use.” Vamp is part of Schneider Electric, which is an energy management expert. Through its parent company, Asia has become for Vamp a significant market area in which it can achieve an even stronger market position. Kuokkanen considers that Schneider Electric’s ownership will boost Vamp’s success also in the years to come. “As our sales networks multiply, so do our growth prospects.” c

vamp Tel. +358 20 753 3200 Business sector: Medium-voltage protection relays and arc flash protection


Turnover 2012: €18.2 million Employees: 40 Major markets: Worldwide Export: 90% direct

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Going for gas Wärtsilä is a pioneer in the field of LNG

Out of the power plants offered by Wärtsilä today, 70–80 per cent run on gas.

Natural gas is a fuel with many good qualities; it is relatively cheap, considerably cleaner than other fossil fuels, and has a higher energy content than oil or coal. As liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be transported cost efficiently from one part of the world to another, it is no wonder that Wärtsilä believes strongly in gas as the fuel of the future. “We were the first in the world to develop larger engines running on natural gas. We have considerable experience in this field and have already delivered some 1000 engines, exceeding 7 million operational running hours, in both land-based and marine applications. ”, says Stefan Damlin, Managing Director of Wärtsilä Finland. Wärtsilä offers a broad range of services and products in the energy field. One such product is Wärtsilä’s so-called dual-fuel engines which can run on both gas and diesel. This allows the power plant or ship to choose the fuel according to availability and price. At the moment Wärtsilä is witnessing the rise of LNG at sea. Dual-fuel engines make it

32 coastline 2014–2015

“The international emission regulations are becoming ever stricter and the shipping companies have a clear need to invest in clean technologies. This is why I strongly believe in gas as a fuel”, Stefan Damlin says.

LNG ship - Emissions Dual-Fuel engine in gas mode -25%

Emission values [%]

IMO Tier III compliant

100 90 80 70

SOx compliant



50 40


EPA compliant




SOx Particulates

20 10

-99% Diesel engine


Engines running on natural gas have extremely low emission levels compared to diesel engines.

possible to switch fuels when a ship enters an area with stricter emission regulations, and the switch can be made even while the engines are running. The first gas engines for marine use delivered by Wärtsilä were

for offshore platforms, offshore supply vessels and LNG carriers. Now there is also a growing demand for other types of ships too. Viking Grace, operating along the Turku-Stockholm route, is the world’s first

LNG-fuelled passenger ferry. The engines and LNG storage system for that project were delivered by Wärtsilä. In addition, Wärtsilä has experience in converting old vessels from diesel to gas propulsion. At present, the infrastructure of LNG bunkering and distribution is under-going development. Since shipping companies want better LNG availability in order to invest in gas-powered ships, there is strong interest in expanding the existing LNG infrastructure. “I would like to see Finland proactively investing in constructing LNG-terminals. Otherwise we will lag behind the neighbouring countries. Viking Grace, for example, bunkers on the Swedish side. The question today is not about whether LNG will become the next big thing, but rather when. Gas is the fastest growing type of fossil fuel”, Damlin points out. Damlin believes there is a bright future for LNG, due to the environmental benefits that come with it. In comparison with diesel fuel, gas is extremely clean – for example the sulphur emissions are close to zero and the CO2 emissions are 20–30% lower.

“The international emission regulations for the shipping industry are becoming ever stricter and shipping companies have a clear need to invest in cleaner technologies. The most pressing issues at the moment are those related to operating within Emission Control Areas (ECAs) that come into effect in 2015”, Damlin says. Considering the company’s history, it is perhaps not very surprising that Wärtsilä is the world leader in developing LNG solutions. Wärtsilä has always noticed which way the wind blows and changed with the times. In 1987 Wärtsilä began development work with dual-fuel gas engines, the first concept being the gas-diesel engine followed by the spark-ignited pure gas engine. Then, a real break-through came in 1995 when Wärtsilä introduced a third generation dual-fuel engine. This development resulted in the ability to combine fuel flexibility and efficiency with environmental performance. 70–80% of the power plants ­ordered from Wärtsilä today run on gas,

LNG carriers were among the first applications where dual-fuel engines for marine use were delivered by Wärtsilä.

and they are increasingly used for balancing reserve power. When solar and wind power become more common, the need for quick-starting reserve power increases, so that electricity can be produced when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow. “It’s the power-plant market that is leading the way in the switch to gas as a fuel, with the marine markets following. However, in ten years’ time, I predict LNG will have made a major breakthrough in the shipping industry too”, says Damlin. c

wärtsilä Tel. +358 10 709 0000 Business sector:  Decentralised power plants and ship power systems. Service, operations and maintenance. Turnover: €4,725 million


Employees: 19,000 (Finland 3,600) Export: 98.8% Major markets: Worldwide

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A considerable share of the biofuels that Alholmens Kraft use in their production is bark from the wood that the factory neighbour, UPM, has stripped away in the process of manufacturing pulp and sawn goods. The rest is mainly logging waste.

A forerunner in biomass Alholmens Kraft recycles waste from the forest industry jan sandvik

Now the production will last for another ten more years with annual maintenance. The main product produced is electricity, while district heating for the Jakobstad area and process steam for the factory neighbours, UPM and Billerud, are byproducts. In addition, ash from Alholmens Kraft is used in earthwork.

ALHOLMENS KRAFT has had the distinction of being the world’s largest biofuel facility ever since it opened in 2001. Now the company has gone through its first major overhaul. “Although we have halted production for yearly service every summer, in 2013 the three turbines were opened for the first time and given a complete overhaul”, says Roger Holm, CEO at Alholmens Kraft.

34 coastline 2014–2015

“When Alholmens Kraft opened in 2001 it was the largest biofuel facility in the world and it still is”, says Roger Holm.

Part of the daily routine at Alholmens Kraft is to monitor world fuel prices and the burning in the furnace, which relies on a mixture of biomass fuel, coal, peat and recycled fuel. “There are two mainstays of our operations: keeping our fuel mix cost effective and maximising the share of biofuels”, Roger Holm explains. The biofuel share was strongly increasing until the record year 2012, when 56 percent of the fuel consisted of biomass. “When the state aid for forest fuels decreased in 2013, we were forced to start decreasing its share. This is a pity as it is a long-term effort to set up the supply chain for forest residue, which is currently under threat due to its lost cost competitiveness. Our hope is the state would restore the aid to previous levels to make it possible for us to continue the path of further increasing the share of biomass”, Holm points out.

Peat is one of the main components in the fuel mix and Roger Holm believes that the debate surrounding peat production has been partly based on old perceptions. Only 0.6 per cent of the Finnish peat bogs are used for energy production and the growth of peat is bigger than the amount that is burned on a yearly basis. “We have our own peat production within a 100 kilometre radius from the power plant. Extraction is carried out using the best available water treatment technology, and the waste water can be even cleaner than it would have been without the peat production”, says Roger Holm. c

alholmens kraft Business sector:  Power production based on biofuels: electricity, process steam and district heating


Electricity production: 1,800 GWh Heat production: 500 GWh Turnover 2013: €70 million Employees: 43 employees + 350 subcontractors, mainly in fuel production and logistics

Katternö Group harnesses the forces of nature for electricity production, and the customer’s access to electricity is their top priority, even when Mother Nature is in a foul mood.

Reliable power supply Katternö Group leads the way by investing locally

jan sandvik

Access to energy is a cornerstone of industry and everything suggests that power supply will be a determining factor in the future too. The Katternö group believes strongly in the continued viability of Ostrobothnian industry. “Our customers, both industry and households, need a reliable power supply. We have invested a lot in the regional grid between Ylivieska and Vaasa to make it storm-proof, and ensured that it is locally owned. At the same time, we have also renewed and expanded our local power grids to ensure a more stable electricity supply for our customers, regardless of whether they live in the city or the countryside”, CEO Stefan Storholm explains. Upgrading the grid is necessary to be able to handle a more decentralized energy production. In this respect, Katternö is continuing to expand its energy production based on a wide range of energy sources. “We are one of the biggest investors in wind energy in Finland at the moment. In 2013 two new wind farms were brought into operation, Ristiveto and Kopsa, in which Katternö is the major owner. In 2014 the Kopsa wind farm will be expanded with ten more wind turbines”, Storholm says. Apart from wind power Katternö also

tion needs to reach the control room in a fast and reliable fashion. The Katternö group has, together with local telecom company JNT, contributed to renewing communication systems by introducing fibre technology. “The fiber solution is used in other fields, but in the utility business older communication standards have dominated. When the electricity grid crashes, it is often the case that the telephone grid crashes as well. However, with a communication system based on fibre technology and diesel as a backup energy supply, information can continue to flow even when the other lines have failed”, Stefan Storholm explains. c

katternö group owns hydropower and is one of the driving forces behind the nuclear power company Fennovoima. As a major owner of Alholmens Kraft, Katternö is also a forerunner in bio fuels. Renewable energy sources like wind and hydro are often harnessed from remote facilities, hence communication solutions that can withstand the forces of nature are needed. Information about disturbances in the grid or in the produc-

“We have, with our investments, contributed to Finland being able to fulfill its commitments to the Kyoto Protocol and the EU”, says Stefan Storholm. Tel. +358 6 781 5300 Business sector:  Production, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity


Turnover 2011: €190 million Employees: 200 Customers: 65,000 Own capacity: 300 MW Power transmission: 1.3 TWh District heating: 0.3 TWh

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EPV’s Vähäkyrö wind power farm will be one of the largest of its kind in Finland.

A wind power EPV Energy is about to build one of the largest wind power farms in Finland

EPV Energy produces or procures around five per cent of the electricity consumed in Finland. The company has long been one of the energy industry’s pioneers in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. “As far back as 2005, we began to analyse what would be the most cost-effective measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The conclusion was that wind power was one area in which we had to invest”, says Frans Liski, CEO of the subsidiary EPV Windpower Ltd. “Wind power is clearly underutilised in Finland. Because we have a lot of forest cover, the turbines must be 150 metres high to reach above the tree tops, otherwise they are not profitable enough. For us it was clear from the outset that we would be building industrial scale wind power”, says Liski. Wind power in Finland has been a marginal phenomenon – less than one per cent of electricity used is produced by wind power. EPV Windpower has around ten wind power projects under way. In addition, EPV is involved in planning a further 20 projects

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EPV has a long and ambitious record of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from its production. The company has further plans for many emissions-reducing investments.

via joint ventures. The first of EPV’s own projects has now progressed to the point where it seems certain to be completed. The Vähäkyrö wind power farm is planned to be completed in 2015, and it will be one of Finland’s largest wind power farms both in terms of power and number of turbines. The farm will have around 16 turbines, each with a power rating of 3–5 MW. “We have not finally settled on the power of the turbines. Unlike many others, our

starting point has been that first all of the studies and permissions should be completed and only then will we begin to prepare the contracts. This also makes sense, because the permit process is slow and turbine technology is developing rapidly”, explains Liski. To accelerate the construction of wind power, the Finnish government has created a feed-in tariff scheme, which

pioneer katja lösönen

guarantees producers of wind power electricity a guaranteed price for a period of 12 years. “It’s obviously a good thing for politicians to come up with ways to increase construction of wind power. Unfortunately, the tariff scheme has its side effects; the guaranteed price may lead to oversupply of wind power and therefore it may take a while before power plants operate purely on market terms.” Due to the feed-in tariff, Finland’s wind power market is currently even overcrowded, but EPV stands out from the crowd to its advantage. “We’re building wind power capacity for ourselves; we are not working on anyone’s behalf. We intend to be involved in this business for a long time after the feed-in tariff is no longer around.” One of the special features of the Finnish subsidy scheme is also that wind power producers are obliged to acquire or purchase regulating power. This is one of the reasons that EPV made a substantial investment in Swedish hydropower in summer 2013, together with two other Finnish energy companies.

“Wind power is clearly underutilised as a means of reducing CO2 emissions in Finland”, says Frans Liski.

In addition to wind- and hydropower investments, the company has many other programmes and projects under way aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The company is participating in the Olkiluoto 3 and 4 nuclear power plant projects, for example. At the beginning of 2013, EPV’s joint venture Vaskiluodon Voima officially opened the world’s first biomass gasifier, which will enable one third of the coal used by the Vaskiluoto power plant to be replaced with biofuels. “Our goal is to reduce our carbon emissions even further in future. Plans included a second gasifier at Vaskiluoto.” c

epv energy ltd Tel. +358 6 337 5300 Business sector: Electricity and heat production and transmission Electricity procurement: 4 TWh


Heat procurement: 1,3 TWh Electricity transmission: 6296 GWh Turnover: €179.9 million Employees: 40

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katja lösönen

“90% of waste can be used in the waste incineration plant, so landfill site needs and greenhouse gases are accordingly reduced”, says Olli Alhoniemi.

Waste to energy

Westenergy takes your waste – and heats and lights your home with it emissions equivalent to 30,000–60,000 passenger cars. The plant’s overall efficiency makes Westenergy one of Europe’s leading waste-to-energy companies in terms of energy efficiency. “Our history is still short, because the plant has only been in operation since 2012. Westenergy’s uniqueness rests on the absorption (own cost) principle, namely the plant is owned by the five municipal waste management companies in its operating area”, says Managing Director Olli Alhoniemi.

Westenergy has a 160 metre long waste incineration line, which converts waste into energy. The household waste of 400,000 inhabitants from an area of 50 municipalities is tipped into a large waste bunker at the start of the line. This represents 2−3 rubbish bags per second, 20,000 kilos per hour, 150,000 tonnes per year. By the end of the line, the waste has been converted into energy that covers the annual electricity needs of 7,000 households and a third of the Vaasa area’s district heat. The waste replaces the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, thereby reducing carbon dioxide

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Westenergy is one of Europe’s leading waste-to-energy companies in terms of its plant usability and energy efficiency.

Waste incineration is a multi-stage process. From the reception bunker, waste is transferred to the incineration grate, and heat exchange takes place between the flue gases and water. The water is heated in a boiler into steam, which is conducted into Vaasan Sähkö Oy’s turbine and district heat exchangers. The turbine rotates the generator, which produces electricity. In the district heat exchangers, thermal energy is transferred from the steam to the water that circulates in the district heating system. Energy is always utilised safely and cleanly. “The flue gases are cleaned both in the furnace and in the LAB-loop reactor and

fabric filter that follow the boiler stage. The entire incineration process generates bottom slag, boiler ash and flue-gas treatment residue, which are transported away for further processing”, explains Alhoniemi. Although its business is based on waste, Westenergy has successfully branded itself with attractive images. One of the company’s most important values is transparency. Visitors are welcome, and each month hundreds of people are shown around the plant. “We are keen to present the plant and explain how it works. It is clean and odourless, and causes no harm to the environment. We are very happy to show off the plant, because it is a source of pride for the whole community.”  c

westenergy Tel. +358 10 229 1030 Business sector: Power production from source-separated combustible waste Electricity production: 80 GWh Heat production: 280 GWh Employees: 30


Since its foundation in 1989, VEO has been involved in over 5,000 projects, which have been delivered to 130 countries.

The entire energy chain Most of VEO’s turnover comes from renewable energy

VEO’s operations cover such a wide field that describing them to an outsider presents a challenge. The company is involved in all stages of the energy chain: in power generation, distribution and utilisation. Most of VEO’s turnover comes from renewable energy. “We are the market leader in Finland in the modernisation of hydropower plants. Recently, we have also supplied many substations both to Finnish wind farms and to grid connections”, says CEO Marko Ekman. VEO has the Nordic countries’ biggest switchgear factory, which was comprehensively modernised in 2013. Product lead times improved significantly as a result of the modernisation. “We have invested in our own production domestically because we want to serve our customers quickly and flexibly. This wouldn’t be possible if the factory was located far away”, says Ekman. “The factory is not an end in itself, however. In fact, it is the projects that are VEO’s products.” One of VEO’s biggest assets is independence. This means that the company can always choose the most suitable products for each project, regardless of the manufacturer.

VEO has worked internationally from the very start. The company has offices in Norway, Sweden and Russia, and today VEO is Norway’s fourth largest company in hydropower modernisations. The operations cover a very wide field in addition to hydropower. VEO is involved, for example, in the electrification of all kinds of power plants and in power grid improvements. VEO is also investing more in Expert Services, because many customers are seeking to outsource their service and maintenance work. “Our operations cover a broad spectrum, but all our projects have one common denominator. In one way or another, they promote energy efficiency”, explains Ekman. c

Since its foundation in 1989, VEO has been involved in over 5,000 projects, which have been delivered to 130 countries. mikko lehtimäki

veo Business sector: Automation and electrification systems

“We have invested in our own production domestically because we want to serve our customers quickly and flexibly”, says Marko Ekman.

Turnover: €73 million Employees: 400


Export: 70% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates:  ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004

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Any power, any speed. The Switch has challenged the wind industry, first by making PMG technology the preferred choice of turbine manufacturers, and now by making the technology commercially available.

Making the most of new energy PMG technology from The Switch has become the preferred choice of the market When the Switch started operations in 2006, the leading business idea was that permanent magnet generators (PMG) and full-power converters (FPC) are the best technology for wind power and other forms of new energy. Now that goal has been reached, and The Switch’s PMG technology is the preferred choice of the market. “We didn’t invent it, but we made it available”, says CFO and Executive Vice President Dag Sandås. The strength of PMGs is in partial load situations, where wind turbines operate most. PMG efficiencies remain close to nominal value over a wide range of speeds to produce more electricity. PMGs ensure fewer failures, since they have no wearing parts, are more compact and require only minimal maintenance. The Switch PMG drive trains typically enable average turbine availability of 97% or higher in all operating conditions. The experience of wind power generation in extremely demanding circumstances has given The Switch a skill set that is also useful in other markets. Three fourths of the company’s turnover is derived from delivering solutions to the wind power industry, and in this field, the company expects an annual increase of five per cent. Still, permanent magnet technology is suited to fulfil many other needs, especially in new energy sectors, like marine,

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industrial and solar power. The marine sector is a growing segment for The Switch, and electrical drive trains equipped with permanent magnet motors and frequency

converters are a part of that. The shipping business is in a state of transformation due to rising fuel costs, and thus there is a market for revolutionary new energysaving technologies. Variable speed genset electrical drive trains for distributed power generation are another area where the technology is seeing increased use. They have been installed, for example, in skyscrapers like One Penn Plaza on Manhattan. It is not only the technology that is revolutionary; The Switch’s production philosophy is based on partnership in the manufacturing process. The Switch has a model factory in Vaasa, where the production line is designed. In most cases, however, the manufacturing process is set up so that The Switch, in tandem with an industrial partner, builds a production line designed to fulfil a specific need. c

the switch “We are now utilizing the experience we have gained from the wind industry in new markets, like marine and distributed power generation in buildings”, says Dag Sandås. Tel. +358 20 783 8200 Business sector:  Innovative power electronics and drive trains for distributed power generation systems Turnower: €46 million Employees: 200 Main markets: China, Europe, USA


On the landowner’s terms

Prokon is developing Finnish wind power with 17 years of experience from Europe Although Finland, together with the other Nordic countries, has perhaps the greatest wind-power potential in Europe, that potential remains underutilised since wind-power construction only began as late as the 2010’s. Despite the late start, the race is now on in Finland and the German Prokon subsidiary, Prokon Wind Energy Finland, has established a firm grip on the Finnish market. “We have 17 years of experience in operating wind farms in Germany and Poland and have mastered the entire process”, says Reimar von Wachholtz, Head of Team Project Management at Prokon. Prokon’s extensive experience from some 50 wind farms in Central Europe forms the basis on which the company develops its Finnish projects. Cooperation with landowners, landowner associations and municipalities is the key to success. “We never sell a project, but we remain responsible for the operation throughout the life time of the wind farm. We employ local entrepreneurs at all stages of a project” von Wachholtz points out. “We use an area model to calculate the remuneration for the landowners. All landowners receive remuneration even if the wind plant itself is not located on their land”, Tore Regnell, Project Manager at Prokon Finland explains.

The wind farms in Central Europe are often situated in cultural landscapes, and Prokon has successfully constructed large facilities close to communities. “Noise and shadows have not caused any problems in a densely-populated country like Germany, and we do not see any reason why it would do so in Finland”, von Wachholtz says. Prokon is responsible for all stages of wind-power production: planning, operation, construction and service. Nowadays the company is a turbine manufacturer too. Together with The Switch in Finland, Prokon has developed its very own 3 MW turbine, Prokon P3000, that will be used in future wind farms. The P3000 is a direct-drive permanent magnet generator, specially developed for icy and snowy Arctic conditions. c

prokon wind energy finland prokon-finnland.php Tel. +358 6 356 8960 Business sector: wind power

Prokon is a unique wind-power developer in the sense that the company has begun manufacturing their own wind turbine P3000, developed in Finland, to suit Arctic conditions.

Turnover: €1 million


Employees: 12 mikko lehtimäki

Prokon’s office in Finland is located in Vaasa, in the middle of the largest energy cluster in the Nordic countries. “Here the education and know-how in the field holds a high standard, and there are excellent staff recruitment opportunities”, explain Reimar von Wachholtz and Tore Regnell.

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SMART BOILER CONTROL User interface in laptop, tablet or smartphone

Weather Forecast Hourly electricity prices Water boiler Messages and alarms

Optical power reader attaced to electricity meter

Temperature sensor

Internet connection


Wireless connection

There Corporation’s energy management platform automatically registers the electricity spot price and weather forecast in order to control domestic heating systems. Users can track their electricity consumption on a computer or mobile.

Electricity at the right price There Corporation has the technology for a working electricity-pricing model mikko lehtimäki

Electricity companies today find themselves in the same situation as the airline industry was 30 years ago. At present, there is no working pricing model for electricity and in most countries the customer is charged according to a flat rate. Yet, the production costs for electricity vary constantly, just like the supply and demand. Both the industry and the individual customer could save a lot by buying electricity when it is at its cheapest. In future, variations will only increase as ever more electricity is produced using renewable sources like wind and solar power. “We need to establish a pricing mechanism for electricity. There Corporation has now developed a technology to make this possible”, states Kaj Rönnlund, the Chairman of the Board. There Corporation possesses a clear advantage since it operates from Finland. The country has already adopted the use of smart meters, and it is possible to buy electricity at an hourly rate. There Corporation is now seriously looking at a much bigger market since the EU decided that all member countries must introduce smart meters before 2020. “The point of introducing smart grids is to make the supply and demand for electricity match”, Kaj Rönnlund explains. There Corporation’s energy-management platform works for both oil and electrically-

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There Corporation develops its services in close contact with end users. However, the corporation does not sell products directly to consumers, preferring instead to create service solutions for its cooperation partners. Large utilities wanting to offer their customers a way to save money are an important customer segment. Such utilities can offer services as part of a customer agreement. Fortum is a major customer in this regard. In Finland, There Corporation also works with the telecom company Anvia, and Kaj Rönnlund sees a great potential in the cooperation: “Telecom companies are good at developing service solutions for their customers and they need new sources of revenue.” c

“The cheapest energy is the energy produced using zeroemission sources like renewables and hydropower. Energy management is good for the environment, too”, says Kaj Rönnlund.

heated homes. In an electrically-heated house the system controls the boiler. It does this by first checking the weather report for the following 24 hours and calculating how long the boiler needs to be heated. Then it automatically checks the prices on the electricity market, taking note of the hourly prices for the following 24 hours. The amount of electricity needed to heat the house is then purchased at the lowest price.

there corporation Tel. +358 10 346 5700 Business sector: Home energy management solutions Turnover: €0.6 million Employees: 20 Major markets:  The Nordic countries, Europe


Software for the future Wapice is an industrial partner that boosts performance

katja lösönen

In the future, technology will change everything, even more than we can now imagine. This is the forecast of an expert of the field, Pasi Tuominen, Managing Director of the software development company Wapice. Behind all technology there is always a stack of programming lines, so the Vaasa company will also have plenty to do in the future. Wapice builds programming systems, particularly for large demanding global industrial clients. Business solutions, industrial systems and embedded systems are the company’s product segments. Tuominen knows that they boost the client company’s performance and develop its business. “Now and then we implement completely new ideas that are not yet in the field. We consider how the client succeeds and then tailor tools to their perceived needs.” Wapice’s growth story is truly impressive. The company’s goal is to be an export-oriented and effective technology

partner that mainly serves the energy and machine manufacturing industries. Those millions of lines of code create, for example, software that supports sales processes, monitors production and facilitates reporting. According to Tuominen, Wapice’s success is due to its skilled personnel. “They have to be the best in order to perform with excellence”, he says. Anything less is unsatisfactory. All that is modern in the software industry today will be outdated tomorrow, and new winds are continually blowing. “A culture of continuous improvement is therefore ingrained into Wapice. We take responsibility for development.” Programming interacts directly with product development. In the best case, programming can take the whole company forward. According to Tuominen, a good technology partner not only stays on the pulse of the times, but is also able to ana-

“Wapice’s best competitive advantages are its highly skilled personnel, the price-quality ratio of its services and continuous development”, explains Pasi Tuominen.

lyse the future. To stay one step ahead. He compares Wapice, which lives in constant technological change, to finding the balance in a Formula 1 car. The work is done passionately in the moment, but at the same time with an eye to what lies ahead. “Then you can drive the bends a little faster and get maximum power out of the car. Clients can calmly focus on their core expertise and trust in the fact that we are always tracking the latest technology.” c

wapice Tel. +358 10 277 5000 Business sector:  Embedded systems, industrial systems, business solutions


Turnover 2013: €18 million Employees 2013: 270 Major markets: Domestic, Nordic countries

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Prohoc delivers a very broad range of services for technical projects. The company can create an entire project execution organization for customers as well as augment the customers’ competency maps with key project personnel.

Projects done the right way Prohoc knows all there is to know about the project business mikko lehtimäki

“Prohoc’s employees are experienced hands-on engineers. Our task at the head office is to do our utmost for them as they are giving their best to serve our customers every day”, says Matti Manner.

An ever growing number of traditional manufacturing companies are switching from delivering particular machines or products to delivering projects. The fact that customers today expect turnkey industrial projects is something that poses new competence challenges for companies. This is where Prohoc steps in. The company has been helping industrial companies with site management and commissioning since the mid 90’s. In recent years, however, Prohoc has broadened its scope to cater for the growing industrial project business trend. Among the customers you will find

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leading industrial companies like Wärtsilä, Cargotec, ABB, Andritz, Metso and Konecranes. “We see a growing demand for our services and are confident that once we keep our focus on continuously improving what we do, we’ll see good years ahead of us. Our customers are facing a highly unpredictable market, and here’s where we can support them, offering flexibility and sharing part of their risk in project execution”, Manner says. “Our engineers are very experienced experts in all forms of industrial site management”, says CEO Matti Manner. “Many have decades of experience in terms of advanced project management around the world. They choose to work for us since we treat them the best. We want to be a best-in-class employer, as we need to be sure our experts can perform their best each day for the ongoing project”, Manner explains. Today, about 100 experts work for Prohoc. The company offers turnkey projects, from project planning and pre-investment to handover and full documentation. Engineering too is part of the deal, despite Prohoc not being an engineering company. “We are a company of engineers, but not

an engineering company”, Matti Manner points out. A growing specialty Prohoc is focusing on is HSEQ –health, safety, environment and quality, with standards being raised throughout the world. Documentation engineering and project documentation services are also part of the service range and growing rapidly. Prohoc operates around the globe, mainly in energy, mining, cargo-handling, oil & gas and the process industry, while also keeping their eye on domestic nuclear and renewable energy projects. The annual growth rate is expected to be more than 20 per cent. c

prohoc Tel: +358 6 315 7777 Business sector: Project business-­ related multi-discipline engineering, 022971 consulting and documentation services Subsidiary: ProID industrial marking solutions. Turnover 2013: €6 million Export: Indirectly 90% Employees: 100 Certificates: ISO9001:2000, ISO14001:2004, OHSAS18001 Twitter: @ProhocOy

The Leinolat Group offers an extensive range of metal products and services.

Maximum safety, zero defects The Leinolat Group is seeing growth in the nuclear, offshore and oil & gas sectors mikko lehtimäki

As docking a ship for service can easily become very expensive, shipping companies try to avoid doing this wherever possible, preferring instead to service ships while at sea. This kind of extremely demanding task is an example of the type of project where the Leinolat Group is called in. One company in the Leinolat Group, Adiabatix, recently changed the pipe insulation aboard a luxury cruiser in the Caribbean during a cruise. “It was a somewhat challenging project”, says the Leinolat Group’s CEO, Raimo Leinola, smiling. The family-owned Leinolat Group comprises six companies, all of which operate in the metal sector. Jointly these companies provide a wide-range of competence by being able to deliver large tailor-made systems and solutions. “We have been approved as a supplier for nuclear-power projects and our employees are certified to operate in extremely demanding environments, for example aboard ships”, says Raimo Leinola. Although the Leinolat Group operates in many fields, their main focus is within the nuclear, offshore and oil & gas sectors, where the common denominators are rigorous and strict quality standards.

and history of good time management ensured completion on time. One of the keys to the Leinolat Group’s success is a conscious effort to consistently improve QHSE – quality, health, safety and environment. These keywords guiding all operations can also be summed up as safety, traceability and zero defects. The Leinolat Group has grown a lot during the last 10 years through company acquisitions, most recently buying T-Drill. c

leinolat group A project that Raimo Leinola is happy to highlight is the conversion of the Swedish oil tanker, Bit Viking, from diesel power to LNG. In this particular technologically-demanding marine project, Uwira, a company in the Leinolat-Group, delivered customised pipes and was responsible for the installation, insulation and welding of them to the vessel. The extreme nature of the engine and gas pipelines called for materials of the highest quality and durability. This meant that high-quality prefabricated products and fully welded seams were necessary. Once Uwira had installed and welded the pipes, they were tested with a 100% RT (X-ray) examination. Although the tight project schedule put extra pressure on Uwira, the company’s delivery reliability

“We strive for safety, traceability and zero defects in everything we do”, says Raimo Leinola. Tel. +358 10 289 6800 Business sector: uwira: Pressure vessels, 020593 prefabricated and bended pipes kilkanen: Demanding and versatile CNC-controlled machining adiabatix: Advanced insulation solutions leimec: High-quality sheet-metal products lvi-leinolat: HVAC Ventilation and air-conditioning solutions t-drill: High-tech tube and pipe fabrication machinery Turnover: €30 million Employees: 220 Export: 70 % Major markets: Europe, USA Certificates: ISO 9001:2008, I SO 14001:2004, EN ISO 3834-2:2005, OHSAS 18001:2007

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Towards new markets Österberg Group aims for maximum use of core products

mikko lehtimäki

Today Österberg Group consists of seven subsidiaries, five in Finland and two in Estonia. The family business with roots stretching back to the 1940’s is on a steady course towards the future. Today the third generation is at the helm and the company is constantly adapting the products and manufacturing processes to current needs and conditions. “Our competence is to be found in the metal and plastic industries”, CEO Jens Österberg says. In the metal business Österberg Group is represented by Wel-Mach, Manor, KGN Tool, Hepmet (Estonia) and Petsmo Products. In the plastic business the subsidiaries are called Österberg and Österberg Baltic (Estonia). “Petsmo Products has traditionally had the fur trade as its main customer. Today we are trying to enter the biogas and composting plant market as well as ventur-

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“To retain our position as the leading subcontractor we have to develop new business relations, automate the manufacturing and enter new fields with our own products”, Jens and Matias Österberg declares.

ing into the market for the manufacture of small animal feed. “ The products made for the fur trade only require minor adjustments to be suitable for other needs. “It is all about focusing on spinoffs and maximizing the utility of the core product”, says Österberg. “During the last few years Russia has become an important destination for our exports.” Although Manor’s unit in Kurikka has shut down, the company has made a major investment in Kuortane, increasing the production area by 1 000 square meters. “We constantly strive to improve and expand our stock of mechanical equipment to be able to fully serve the main contractors in the steel construction business.” Jens Österberg looks ahead with both optimism and realism: “Here in Ostrobothnia we have handled the economic downturn well, thanks to the

many global industries. However, many smaller companies are entering the fray. That means that we constantly have to strive to automate the manufacturing process to improve our competitiveness.” c

österberg group Tel. +358 20 790 8600 ▶ Group of companies Turnover 2012: €28 million Employees 2012: 150


Business sector:  Metal industry, plastic industry Major markets: Domestic, Europe, North America, Russia Österberg Plast Wel-Mach Manor Petsmo Products KGN Tool

gunnar bäckman

”We aim for superb quality. In our production it is all about measuring and scrutinizing every component down to the millimeter”, Caj-Erik Karp and Kaj-Erik Loo say.

Quality is the word Mapromec and Maprotec are investing in state-of-the-art machinery gunnar bäckman

With some tough years behind them due to a shaky world economy, the sister companies Mapromec and Maprotec are now looking to the future with confidence and determination. Mapromec mostly manufactures precision components for diesel and electric engines. Most of the production is exported. “It is all about offering the best”, says Caj-Erik Karp, CEO at Mapromec. “We have invested a lot in upgrading the machinery with the very latest technology. What separates us from the rest is the quality: in our niche it is about thousandths and perfection.” The main production focuses on piston pins for diesel engines. “The quality of the piston pin is essential for the longevity of the engine. Our manufacturing process includes consummate accuracy. Every piston pin can be identified by its number and every pin is measured with utmost precision.” Whilst Mapromec is all about finesse, Maprotec does the heavy lifting. However, they are both working with the same customer segment in mind. At Maprotec the primary focus is on processing castings with CNC-technology, although they also process other components for diesel and electrical engines.

Advanced modern machinery contributes to Mapromec being the world leader in large piston pin manufacturing.

Maprotec’s strengths lie in CNC-processing and assembly. The main products are components for power plants and ship engines.

“We operate as two separate companies with a shared ownership structure. Production-wise we complement each other”, says Karp. At Maprotec too the strategic focus is on quality. “We have invested a lot in upgrading the machinery in the last few years”, says CEO Kaj-Erik Loo. “Nowadays everything moves

very quickly and it is not enough to simply keep up: to be competitive you need to stay ahead of the pack.” Karp and Loo consider their geographical location in the centre of Ostrobothnia to be an advantage. “Our region is well-known, nationally and globally. The energy cluster is famous worldwide.”  c

mapromec Tel. +358 10 229 0150 Business sector: Metal industry; parts for diesel engines and electrical motors


Turnover 2013: €19 million Employees 2013: 76 Major markets: Europe

maprotec Tel. +350 20 759 7350 Business sector: Metal industry; parts for big diesel engines and electrical machines

020592 022972

Turnover 2013: €7.5 million Employees 2013: 40 Major markets:  Domestic and Europe

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Componenta Pistons manufactures around 7,000 pistons annually. The business unit is now in the process of expanding its production facility by 1000 square metres.

Newest technology for engines Componenta Pistons’ innovative products go into environmentally-friendly engines mats sandström

“We design, manufacture and market large-bore pistons for leading manufacturers of medium-speed diesel and gas engines”, says Sakari Pisilä, B ­ usiness Unit Director. Medium-speed engines operate from 300 to 1200 revolutions per minute with a cylinder bore size of between 180 and 580 mm. The engines where the pistons are installed are used in ships as main or auxiliary engines as well as in power plants. Componenta Pistons manufactures around 7,000 pistons annually, and the future looks bright. The business unit is now in the process of expanding its production facility by 1000 square metres. This expansion will also mean modern production technology. The processes will become more automated and robot technology will be utilized. “We believe that our new production technology is the most modern for pistons of this size and our competitiveness will be maintained in the future”, says Pisilä. the sizes of Componenta’s pistons have been between the range of 200 and 340 millimetres in diameter. However, after the production-facility expansion the company will also provide pistons in sizes up to 500 millimetres. This means

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turers to develop cleaner engines for the future” says Pisilä. Componenta manages the whole supply chain, from castings at the Componenta Högfors foundry to forging blanks from the Componenta Wirsbo forge and machining, as well as inspections, surface coating and assembly at the business unit in Jakobstad. “For our customers it is valuable to know that we can ensure our delivery reliability. The Högfors foundry, in particular, has excelled at producing the big castings for our new production line”, says Pisilä. c

componenta corporation pistons Tel. +358 10 403 00

that Componenta can provide virtually the whole piston size range for mediumspeed engines to customers. “The trend of green values and environmental requirements for energy production are today’s development drivers. Reduction of emission can be achieved by using after treatment for exhaust gases or by using cleaner fuels. Componenta is a partner, as a solution provider of pistons, for engine manufac-

“Componenta is a partner, as a solution provider of pistons, for engine manufacturers to develop cleaner engines for the future” says Pisilä.

Business sector: Development and manufacturing of large-bore pistons for diesel and gas engine manufacturers


Employees: 33 Export: 32% Major markets: Worldwide Quality management systems:  ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001 and OHS 18001 Parent company: Componenta Corporation Turnover 2012: €545 million

Rolls-Royce in Kokkola celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2013. Today the company has 85 employees and manufactures small and medium-sized waterjets for fast boats.

35 years of excellent speed Rolls-Royce celebrates an era of lightweight waterjet success Say Rolls-Royce and most people will think of quality. Rolls-Royce Kokkola is part of this family, and manufactures small and medium-sized waterjets for fast boats. “We are forerunners in the field of waterjet technology. We pride ourselves on short on-time deliveries, quick responses and the best quality”, says Tomas Renlund, Site director of Rolls-Royce Kokkola. Rolls-Royce in Kokkola celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2013. When the company was founded, in the late 1970s, it was called Oy Aluminiumvarvet Ab, and manufactured boats of aluminium and steel. In 2001, the company became part of Rolls-Royce, and today it has 85 employees, who know about propulsion and fast boats. With Rolls-Royce the market has grown and is today global. “Our 35 years of operation and 30 years as one of the leading suppliers of waterjets are worth celebrating. We have a qualified, motivated and knowledgeable staff that ensures supply reliability. We’re pleased to see that our products have gained the trust of customers all over the world.” Rolls-Royce’s waterjets have been developed in close cooperation with different key customers in order to achieve the best possible performance. The company

offers, for example, a state-of-the-art electronic remote-control system for manoeuvring boats. “Our waterjets optimise fuel consumption, which in turn saves both time and money. We have a vast experience of fast boats and how to optimise their performance and propulsion configurations. This expertise has been acquired through continuous product development and meticulous work processes.”

“The customers feel that they can trust us to deliver what we have promised at the exact time. This is the key to our success”, says Tomas Renlund. mats sandström

Rolls-Royce is trusted for delivering quality and the customers today are on all continents. They comprise everything from authorities to shipping companies and private customers. Rolls-Royce Kokkola has, for example, supplied units that are used in patrol and police boats, in passenger ships and luxury cruise ships as well as other fast running boats. Approximately 400 units are produced every year. “For us, it is important that the customers feel that they can trust us to deliver what we have promised, on time. This is also the key to our success. We have succeeded in meeting our customer’s expectations for more than 30 years and our aim is to continue doing so in the future as well.”  c

rolls-royce oy ab, kokkola Tel. +358 6 832 4500 Business sector: Waterjets Turnover 2012: €523 million (Kokkola and Rauma units together)


Employees: 85 Export: 99% Major markets: Global Mother company: Rolls-Royce  International

coastline 2014–2015 49

A floating lifestyle

Nautor’s Swan is the result of tradition, high technology and craftsmanship Nautor’s Swan yachts are more than beauty, performance and quality. Behind every yacht lie meticulous planning and the latest technology. “Buying a Swan is a lifestyle decision, it’s like a sign of success, ”says Kjell Vestö, Operations Director, while showing the yacht that will be launched in 2015. It is a huge 115-foot yacht, the second largest built so far. And this is just the current trend in the industry; with yachts being built ever larger and more advanced. “We believe that everything is possible. Our brand is based on unquestionable quality – which is what we’re renowned for in the yachting world. ” Nautor’s Swan yachts are manufactured in Jakobstad and can be customized according to the customer wishes. The hull and deck are made of composite materials, which mainly consist of glass and carbon fibres held together with an epoxy resin. The mould tools, for the hull and deck, are produced with the help of computercontrolled milling machines to ensure that the right shape is achieved. “The path from production plan to finalized product is intense and complex. Typically, the customer is very involved in the process; most Swan owners visit us several times during the building stage”. Beyond the finished yacht lie skilled craftsmanship and advanced technological knowledge. Nautor’s engineers are always at the leading edge in terms of market trends and technology. “We use very advanced systems, as well as kilometres of cables, in the production of each Swan. Among other criteria, the systems are programmed to optimize energy consumption.”

The hulls of Swan yachts are made from carbon fibre, glass fibre and resin. The mould tools are milled out in order to create the right shape. mats sandström

It can take anything between four months and two years to build a Swan. The drawings are created in 3D programmes, on which the Swan is modelled. “There is a 3D master model upon which we base our drawings, and the customer can subsequently be involved in the planning and make decisions concerning layout and interior design. It’s not uncommon that interior stylists are also involved.”

nautor’s swan Business sector:  Semi-custom yachts Turnover: €39 million Employees: 250 Export: 99% Major markets: Europe, USA

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“Buying a Swan is a lifestyle decision ”, says Kjell Vestö, Operations Director.

Nautor’s customers often include experienced sailors, those who have a genuine passion for the sport, both racing and cruising. “Our customers are guaranteed a welldesigned and carefully planned yacht. In

addition, as a customer, you become member of ClubSwan, which is an international exclusive club with services and regattas worldwide. Currently we can see a growth in the Asian market, e.g. in China as well as in Russia.” c

jeff brown

In 2013 the 32.64 metres long Baltic 107 Inukshuk was launched. The yacht has four cabins and can accommodate up to eight guests as well as a crew of five.

A customized future

Baltic Yachts stands for trendsetting innovations and a passion for new technologies mats sandström

Forty years ago five enterprising men set about building yachts in their own way. They used methods that no one else used at the time, and they went in for light, fast yachts. “The principle of light, stiff and fast still applies today. We have intentionally opted for a narrow niche for market in order to realise our customers’ dreams”, says COO Matti Laurila. Baltic Yachts builds all their yachts to order; there are no standard models. “As all of our yachts are unique, every product has its own custom design and character. To begin with, we work out a concept together with the customer. The process from drawings to launch normally takes a couple of years depending on the state of the order-book.” At this moment in time, the order book looks good for several years ahead. Each year, Baltic Yachts finalizes two to three yachts, and the present trend is that the yacht sizes are increasing. In 2017 for instance, a 175-foot yacht will be completed. “ What’s characteristic for our customers is that they’re excellent sailors and have an interest in advanced technology. They value the lightness and speed of their yachts,

“The main characteristics of our customers are that they’re experienced sailors and have an interest in advanced technology. They are looking for the best products available on the market”, says Matti Laurila.

Since 2013, Baltic Yachts has been owned by the German group Ottobock, which manufactures appliances in the field of orthopaedics. The merger provides Baltic Yachts with a more solid ground to stand on and an opportunity to expand their operations. “We will initiate the production of components for the boat industry, mainly by utilizing the carbon fibre knowledge we have acquired over the years.” The goal for the future is to grow and develop as a company with production remaining in Ostrobothnia where the staff and facilities are located. “We have 180 skilled members in our team - as well as a good brand. These two components walk hand-in-hand. Baltic Yachts, in essence, is what’s in the heads and hands of our employees.” c

baltic yachts Tel. +358 6 781 9200

and they are looking for the best products available on the market. We follow our own philosophy which emphasizes lightness, sandwich construction methods and the latest technology . An example of this is Inukshuk, which was launched in 2013.”

Business sector:  Custom-made yachts Turnover: €28 million


Employees: 180 Export: 100% Major markets: Europe and Northern America

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A pioneer in dust  70-year-old Mirka doing better than ever

jan sandvik

Mirka is a world leader in the manufacture of abrasives. The secret behind their success is down to two main factors; Mirka’s renowned capacity for innovation and the company’s focus on overall solutions. Mirka offers complete sanding systems consisting of abrasives, polishing compounds and tools, backed by a team of support specialists. “Close relations with the end-users is one of the cornerstones of our business. Most of our products were actually developed on the basis of customer feedback”, says the company CEO Stefan Sjöberg. In time for the company’s 70th anniversary in 2013, Mirka built a new technology centre at the company headquarters in Jeppo, a move that will strengthen the customer relations. The centre will fulfil the vision of combining product development, marketing and training by teaching customers and distributors from all around the globe how to use Mirka’s products. Thanks to the new

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From left Simon Bloxham, Stefan Sjöberg, Mats Sundell and Vinay Mathur, standing in front of the new technology centre. The centre will combine product development, marketing and training.

centre equipped with state-of-the-art technology, it is now possible to train considerably more people than before. “Our goal is to train roughly 2000 people every year. It is not

enough that customers are simply buying our products; to reach the best results they must also be able to use them”, Development Director Mats Sundell emphasises.

-free sanding

Today Mirka is the most important unit in the KWH Group, its parent company. However, that has not always been the case – for many years Mirka was merely seen as a small but promising company. The real breakthrough coincided with the turn of the millennium when Mirka presented something completely unique: a dust-free sanding system. The patented net sanding solution saves both time and money whilst making the work place environment healthier. So what exactly is the secret behind Mirka’s knack for innovation? “We have highly motivated employees who are, in a good way, never satisfied. We believe there is always room for improvement. And despite being a global company with almost a thousand employees Mirka still retains the company culture of a family business”, Sjöberg states. Mirka’s biggest customer groups have traditionally been in industries working within automotive refinishing, vehicle manufacturing and wood processing. In

the future the company expects to grow in sectors such as the abrasive grinding of engine parts and computer screens. The company’s research and development division is already experimenting with plastic printed film. Mirka has been exporting abrasives since the 1960’s, but it is only in the last few years that it has established subsidiary companies around the world. Previously the company grew organically but now it has stepped up the pace. “You have to capture the market quickly in order to succeed. In India our timing has been perfect”, says Vinay Mathur, Vice President, Sales, Asia Pacific. Mirka’s fastest growth rate is to be found in the BRIC-countries. A lot of this growth is due to the new sales structure. “We have a model that truly works. Thanks to our own sales offices we manage to stay close to our customers”, says Simon Bloxham, Vice President, Sales. Despite a strong global presence, Mirka’s

The secret behind Mirka’s success is innovativeness and a dedicated work force. The real breakthrough came when Mirka presented something completely unique: a dust-free sanding system.

entire manufacturing is still based in Finland. This is possible due to constant investment in automation and logistics. Mirka is also a forerunner in environmental issues. In early 2014 a new bio-energy plant opened at the factory in Jeppo. The plant converts waste from Mirka’s manufacturing, as well as wood chips and other waste-based fuels into energy. This investment considerably reduces the company’s carbon footprint. c

kwh mirka ltd Tel. +358 20 760 2111 Business sector: Sanding systems, coated abrasives Turnover: €190 million


Employees: 1,008 Export: 90% Major markets: USA, Europe, BRIC-countries

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KWH Group is a front-rank actor in the Finnish logistics business. Freight forwarding and goods handling on factory sites complement traditional port operations.

Never standing still KWH Group is looking for new fields to invest in Constant renewal is a matter of pride for the KWH Group, one of Finland’s largest family-owned corporate groups. When it became apparent that the plastic pipe industry was in a state of constant excess capacity and needed downsizing, KWH shouldered the responsibility and merged its largest subsidiary KWH Pipe with its competitor Uponor. “That was our way of renewing the whole sector. The public sector is in crisis and is saving money by not maintaining water and sewage networks. We do not see any light at the end of the tunnel in the form of increased demand”, says Peter Höglund, Group President. The merger made KWH Group economically stronger than ever before, since the company is now debt free with a strong cash position. Today, the group is looking for new fields to invest in; perhaps even in a new business group. KWH’s strategy is to focus on knowledge intensive, service-minded niche businesses. “In narrow niches, medium-sized companies can compete with world leaders”, Peter Höglund notes. The largest business group since the sale of KWH Pipe is KWH Mirka, presented

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“The traditional port operations will continue but we are also seeing an increased demand for freight forwarding services. In addition, many companies are now outsourcing goods handling at their factory sites.” “We can offer unique logistics procedures and solutions for certain flows of goods”, Peter Höglund points out. This is KWH’s niche philosophy in a nutshell. c

kwh group ltd “In narrow niches, medium-sized companies can compete with world leaders”, Group President Peter Höglund says.

on the previous page. The KWH subsidiary Prevex is representative of the group’s niche philosophy. Prevex is the European market leader in waste siphons for sinks, the only product the company makes. Although the KWH Group has a clear industrial character, it is also strong in the logistics sector. The Backman-Trummer Group, for example, manages ten ports on the Finnish west coast. Another good example is KWH Freeze, which is Finland’s main cold storage provider. Around half of all frozen foods in Finland pass through its facilities. Peter Höglund sees growth opportunities as the logistics field continues to develop: Tel. +358 20 778 7900 Turnover 2012 : (Group) €560 million Employees 2012: (Group) 2,711 KWH Mirka Ltd KWH Logistics Oy Backman-Trummer Ab Oy Adolf Lahti Yxpila Ab Oy M. Rauanheimo Ab KWH Freeze LtdA KWH Invest Oy Prevex Ab Strategic holdings: Uponor Infra Ltd (44.7%)


jan sandvik

“We have delivered over a dozen systems to five different Airbus factories around Europe”, explain Peter Björk and project manager Leif Löfholm.

Movers for the world market Solving’s technology helps industry to move heavy loads

As usual, things are on the roll at Solving’s main office located right outside the town of Jakobstad. There, the precision and mobility of an air-film mover loaded with 300 tons is being tested in the production facilities. The mover is ready to be sent to Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, where it is going to move heavy transformers between different areas at a factory. Some distance away work is being completed on a 24-metrelong wheeled mover that is going to be used to move airplane wing components between different production phases at an Airbus factory in England.

a strong order backlog, which has kept Solving busy.

“We normally have approximately 50 projects going on at different stages between planning and installation at the same time. The customer requirements vary a lot. That’s why each project needs to be planned individually”, says Peter Björk, Managing Director and the founder of the company. Solving’s business idea since the 1970s has been to develop, manufacture and maintain equipment for moving a variety of objects. “Our speciality is to use different technologies based on air bearings, wheels and rails and to be able to combine these in each specific case, states Mr Björk. The company has grown steadily in the last decade and when the recession hit in 2008 Solving had

Solving’s biggest customer base has traditionally consisted of industrial companies, among them the energy sector and the paper industry. The transport industry has increased its number of orders in the past few years. “Lately the aircraft industry has grown into a big customer group for us, but also the demand for our products in the manufacturing of train chassis is growing. This is especially so in China, where one of our customers recently installed a new Solving air-film system that efficiently moves train carriages of express trains”, explains Peter Björk. An interesting area for Solving is offshore. “We are qualified suppliers to the

Airplane wings require careful transportation in the production process.

Nordic offshore cluster. In the oil industry it is important to minimise explosion risks and we produce equipment specifically suited to offshore environments”, says Peter Björk. c

solving Tel. +358 6 781 7500 Business sector: Systems for heavy load handling Turnover 2012: €11 million Employees: 47 Export: 80% Major markets: Worldwide


Solving Group Turnover: €21 million Employees: 137

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Precision, performance and partnership – Beamex’s values reflect the entire corporate culture and the methods of operation.

The Beamex way

Beamex equals precision in products, performance and partnerships mats sandström

Calibrators are the devices used to ensure that measuring instruments consistently provide exact results. Beamex is a world-leader in this area, and the company’s products are used in all types of industries, ranging from oil to pharmaceuticals. “We help our customers to improve their production processes in order to be more accurate and more efficient, resulting in higher quality as well as cost savings. Beamex’s high-performance calibrators are among the most accurate in the world”, says Raimo Ahola, CEO.

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“For some of our customers calibration is about making their processes more efficient which in the long run cuts financial costs. We provide this by creating efficient high-performance devices as well as long-term stability”, say Raimo Ahola, CEO of Beamex and Alex Maxfield, CEO of the subsidiary Beamex SAS in Lille, France.

Beamex’s values – precision, performance and partnership – reflect the entire corporate culture and the methods of operation. “Our customers are also our partners. Through cooperating with the customers and having a keen ear for their needs, we are able to develop our products. Therefore it’s also important that our employees and distributors hold the same values, and that everything is taken care of in exactly the right way.” At Beamex the performance of a product is always the main focus. This is seen in the fact that Beamex calibration solutions are high performance, a feature which saves time, raw material and costs for the customer. Behind each device is a team of 100 people. “We take good care of our staff and, as a rule, the employments are long-term. Our employees are always willing to learn new things, curious to test new solutions and open-minded when it comes to taking on new responsibilities in the company. A good corporate culture and a positive work environment go hand in hand with our values.” Beamex has partners in more than 80 countries, and subsidiaries in the USA and Great Britain. In 2013 the company’s third

subsidiary, SAS in France, was founded. “Beamex SAS is a sales support and service company. The research and development unit, however, will remain in Jakobstad also in future. For us it’s of great value to be able to utilize the local competence.” The growth has been sound in recent years. “We have chosen to specialize in just one area, a small but essential part of the customer’s processes. This results in highquality products and makes us competitive in the market.” c

beamex Tel. +358 10 550 5000 Business sector: Development 020602 and manufacturing of calibration equipment, software, systems and services for the calibration and maintenance of process instruments Turnover: 2012: €19 million Employees: 120 Major markets: Worldwide Parent company: Sarlin Group Oy Ab

Fluid-Bag offers two main products that can be customised in many different ways: Fluid-Bag Multi (multi-trip) and Fluid-Bag Flexi (one-way).

A perfect protective skin

Containers for not always perfect environments “A Fluid-Bag is not any old plastic bag. Fluid-Bag’s products are tailored to the needs of the customer’s products, they are extremely durable and take up a minimum of space during transport”, says CEO Jan Backman of Fluid-Bag. In a 1 000 litre bag approximately 5 litres go to waste. Compared to a rigid container that wastes up to 50 litres for every thousand litres that is next to nothing. A Fluid-Bag is made up of different protective layers. The outer layer consists of a polypropylene web made in the company’s factory in Thailand. “The inner layer is tailored accordingly to what will be transported in the bag, anything from food and pharmaceuticals to lubricants or fast-drying polyurethane glue”, Jan Backman explains. “The bags weigh a mere four kilograms and are recyclable. The outer layer can be reused, and we do not use any toxic plastics in the manufacturing process. Almost no waste is created after usage, hence our products are very environmental friendly”, Marketing Manager Charlotte Sandström points out. In recent years, one of the focus areas has been the mining sector, where FluidBags are used for lubricants and greases. The Fluid-Bag container is a sealed system avoiding air ingress, maximising product

protection against moisture, UV, airborne bacteria and contaminants. “We are seeing an increased usage of Fluid-Bags in the mining industry. Our products ensure that lubricants and similar products for dumper trucks and other vehicles are kept absolutely clean in harsh and dusty mining environments. This in turn prolongs the lifespan of the machines and reduces down time and maintenance. This is cost efficient for any industry”, Henrik Kass, Business Manager, Inks and Lubes, comments.

“The Fluid-Bag is manufactured in accordance with stringent standards and is very resistant, strong even enough for mining environments. It can absorb high levels of impact if dropped or even after take a direct hit from a fork lift”, Henrik Kass, Jan Backman and Charlotte Sandström comment.

Fluid-Bags are found on mining sites in many parts of the world, but especially South African lubricant distributors and mining sites have been at the forefront introducing Fluid-Bag systems in South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Ghana. Handling of waste oil is increasingly an environmental hazard especially in the early phases of a mining operation. Some sites use emptied Fluid-Bags for temporary waste storage pending disposal via the correct authorities. Used Fluid-Bags are foldable which allows scanning in high security areas such as diamond mines. c

fluid-bag ltd Tel. +358 20 779 0444 Business sector: Flexible industrial container systems including filling and discharging equipment


Turnover 2012: €9.6 million Employees: 57 in Finland, 23 in Thailand Export: 94% Major markets: Europe and South East Asia

coastline 2014–2015 57

The major share of the radiators keeping the inhabitants of the Nordic countries warm is manufactured by Rettig.

Clever heating Purmo offers innovative solutions for better living

mats sandström

The major share of the radiators keeping the inhabitants of the Nordic countries warm is manufactured in Rettig’s factory in Jakobstad. The factory employs 130 people who are continuously working on finding new, flexible solutions. The radiators are known under the brand names Purmo and LVI. “We care about heating as a major part of our indoor comfort. Our philosophy is to have the right product in the right place and in the right environment”, says Marketing Manager Mia Högkvist. She explains that all heating methods aren’t suitable for all spaces. The secret behind effective heating lies in combining. “A radiator is the right choice under the window, whereas underfloor heating is a better alternative in the bathroom. A combination of different systems will offer the most energy efficient and comfortable solutions for the end user.” Purmo also dominates the market in many parts of continental Europe. This position has been attained through operational excellence and the ability to offer innovative solutions for all types of spaces. “We are market leaders in panel radiators and have a number of design items which will gain strong ground in the years to come.”

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“Another interesting detail is that Milo contains an application that makes it possible to remote control the radiator through the internet”, says Högkvist. The greatest part of the Milo Rock line will be exported, mainly to France and Sweden. The radiator will be available in 18 different sizes and it contains a convector plate which increases the heating effect. “In the radiator industry new features aren’t launched all that often. But this is exactly what characterizes out factory: technical know-how, innovative thinking and cross-disciplinary collaboration”, says Nygård. c

“We care about heating as a major part of our indoor comfort. Our philosophy is to have the right product on the right place in the right environment”, say Mia Högkvist and Carl-Anders Nygård.

In 2014, a completely new designer product, Milo Rock, will be launched. This is an electric radiator set in limestone base and available in natural black or white. “Milo Rock is made of Rettig’s own Nordkalk material and is a very decorative product. Besides, Rettig’s thermostat can save up to 20 per cent of energy compared to bimetal thermostats”, says Carl-Anders Nygård, Plant Manager.

rettig värme ab Tel. +358 6 786 9111 Business sector: Water-based and electrical heating solutions Turnover: €45 million Employees: 130 Export: 80% Major markets: Europe


Material flow

LKI goes from smart sheet metal handling to industrial FMS-solutions mats sandström

complex automation solutions and flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) are on the rise and we’ve set our minds to meeting this demand. Today we have a bigger responsibility for the comprehensive solution and we deliver machines and software as well as installations, service and support”, says Managing Director Tom Nordström.

“We have already replaced the systems in several large-scale industries in Finland”, says Tom Nordström.

LKI’s solutions for sheet-metal handling are marketed in cooperation with their Japanese partner, Amada. The delivery time for a solution is approximately three to five months and the actual installation takes from one to several weeks, depending on the scope of the project. In cooperation with Amada, LKI has supplied FMS-solutions for sheet metal handling on the European and North American markets over the last ten years. Besides the automation and solutions for sheet-metal handling, LKI is now focusing on independently developing FMS-solutions for factory and warehouse logistics. The acquisition of the software company Camline in 2012, together with the experience gained from cooperation with Amada, has given LKI the ability and expertise to take full responsibility for the delivery of new industrial FMS-solutions and also to upgrade and modify existing systems. “At the moment we’re expanding rapidly in this field and have already replaced the systems in several large-scale industries in Finland, with good results”. The goal is to act as an integrator, a spider in the web, and bring together different parts of the internal logistics within the industry. “The key is the software, since it is the interface to the operator. An user-friendly software with great adaptability provides the customer with a flexible and functional solution. In our new field, FMS solutions, we’re at present focusing on the Nordic market and building up a network of partners”, says Tom Nordström. c

LKI is focusing on developing FMSsolutions for factory and warehouse logistics.

Large, yet silent, and painted red and black: these are LKI’s advanced automation solutions for sheet metal handling. The machines lift, sort and store metal sheets and metal parts used in various types of industrial manufacturing processes.

Examples of machined parts made using LKI solutions can be found in everyday life, ranging from the metal plate holding all the technology in your cell phone to air vents and industrial lightning. “The customers’ demand for more

lki käldman ltd Tel. +358 20 7009 000 Business sector: Development and production of equipment for automated sheet metal handling and industrial FMS-solutions


Turnover 2013: €23.8 million Employees: 150 Export: 90% Major markets: Europe and North America

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Alucar customises all of the timber trucks it supplies according to their intended function. Because needs vary greatly, the range of equipment options is also extensive.

Light but tough trucks Alucar brings quality and high-performance to timber transport mikko lehtimäki

field, understands the challenges and is able to respond to them. “We build and equip timber trucks according to customers’ needs. The result is a high quality, reliable vehicle that delivers higher productivity to the end-user”, promises Alucar’s CEO, Anssi Alasaari.

When a timber truck transports logs, it is always put to the test. Structures must be able to withstand hard knocks and impacts. Forest roads are typically in poor condition, distances are long, and the loads weigh many tonnes. Alucar, a pioneer in its

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“We place a great emphasis on the work safety of the truck driver on the road. Our goal is zero accidents at work”, says Anssi Alasaari.

Alucar manufactures timber truck superstructures and bunks. The company’s key competitive asset lies in the main construction material, aluminium. The lightweight metal optimises the vehicle’s weight and boosts the efficiency of timber transport. Production is also refined down to the last detail, in order to deliver finished products and spare parts quickly. “Our distributors enjoy smooth product delivery. Transport companies, on the other hand, receive a better payload for their vehicles due to the lightweight aluminium”, explains Alasaari. The high expertise of Alucar’s design department has raised quality to a peak level. Production time has been reduced, the fault sensitivity of products is lower, and the fitting of spare parts has been made easier. The driver’s workplace, namely the finished timber truck, must be absolutely safe, comfortable, neat and elegant. “Attention to detail counts: if a ship has loose ropes, then maybe the engine is not quite right either.”

Alucar equips 400 timber trucks per year. Vehicles sold in Finland and the Baltic countries are built in the company’s own factory. Superstructure kits, assembled according to drawings on the plug and play principle, are supplied for export. Export channels have been developed since the beginning of the Alucar story in the 1980s. Now, 30 years later, international business is an important part of everyday operations. ”We are currently exporting to 30 countries around Europe and North America. In future, Russia will be a growing and developing market area that we intend to focus on. So there’s lots of work to do. It’s hard work but fun”, concludes Alasaari. c

alucar oy Tel. +358 207 851 720 Business sector:  Truck body building Turnover 2013: €12 million Employees: 40 Exports: 70% Major markets: Europe, Russia Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 14001


Log handling equipment delivered to a large sawmill in Bombala on the coast of Australia serves as an excellent reference. It opens doors for Nordautomation into the Australian and other global markets.

Sawmills to remote markets Nordautomation supplies log handling equipment on a turn-key basis Nordautomation exports traditional Finnish expertise to the global market. Finland is a land of thousands of forests, where log handling skills have been developed to perfection over the centuries. This expertise is offered by the industry’s leading supplier, Nordautomation of Kristiinankaupunki. Today, the company also exports log handling equipment far overseas. In Australia, for example, a tree becomes harvestable in 25–35 years, whereas in the Finnish climate this can take 80 years. Nordautomation’s efficient sawmill equipment is therefore urgently needed in the large forests Down Under. “We design and build sawmill equipment specifically for the larger, high-capacity mills. Finland, Sweden and Norway are our domestic market, and in future we will increase further our exports to more remote destinations. There are large sawmill markets in Australia, New Zealand and Chile, for example”, says Nordautomation’s Deputy Managing Director, Juha Hakala. Delivering log handling equipment to a sawmill is a challenging project. Keeping to timetable is vital and end product quality must be excellent. First Nordautomation tailors a suitable product for the customer’s needs and then builds it in its factory in Alajärvi. In overseas projects,

log handling equipment may be packed into dozens of ship containers and sent on a sea voyage lasting a couple of months. At the destination, Nordautomation’s staff install the equipment, train the local workers and put the sawmill into operating condition. Fast turn-key delivery is one of the company’s main competitive advantages. Nordautomation is also known for quality. “Our log handling equipment is durable and reliable. It is easy to maintain, and the log tracks run smoothly. Product development of structures and conveyor solutions

also keeps the noise level as low as possible”, explains Hakala.

“Nordautomation always keeps to the agreed timetable. And we don’t leave customers all on their own; we also supply spare parts and consumables”, says Juha Hakala. mats sandström

In 2013 Nordautomation returned to Finnish ownership after 14 years as part of a Swedish group. The deal ensures the continuation of work in Kristiinankaupunki and Alajärvi. Hakala believes that in Finnish ownership the company’s hands are now freer, but cooperation with its former sister companies continues to be good. “Networks and relationships are in good shape with all of the sector’s experts. We are continuing effective project exports with partners on the single source alliance principle.”  c

nordautomation oy www.nordautomation. fi nordautomation@ Tel. +358 20 761 6200 Business sector:  Mechanical forest industry


Turnover 2013: €10 million Employees: 80 Export: 60% Major markets: Worldwide Certificates: ISO 9001:2000

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mats sandström

Eur-Mark sees its geographical location as an advantage. Product development in cooperation with the parent company places Eur-Mark in a unique position on the market.

Keeping it clean

Eur-Mark manufactures environmental vehicles for water and sewage network servicing mats sandström

Eur-Mark manufactures environmental cleaning vehicles and aggregates that flush, rinse and maintain sewage networks. The company is owned by the Lichtensteinbased family-owned Kaiser Ag concern that just recently celebrated its centenary in business. Eur-Mark has its own manufacturing in Finland and operates under its own brand. “We use local expertise to reach hightechnology solutions in a global environment. We feel a great responsibility towards both our employees and subcontractors”, says Managing Director Kurt Vienonen. Through cooperation with its parent company, Eur-Mark has the opportunity to invest in research and development, which is something that makes them different from many competitors. “We have technology that differentiates us from many of our competitors. Our own product development and the parent company’s input in cooperation with the research teams give us a unique starting point. Our technology is one step ahead. For example, we are the only supplier in Scandinavia that can offer water recycling.” At present, Eur-Mark is focusing on sewer cleaning- and dry-suction vehicles.

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our company. We also stay on schedule, which is appreciated by our customers and our relationships with them are long term. The customer contact person remains the same year after year, which adds value to both parties.”

“We use local expertise to produce high-technology solutions in a global environment”, says Kurt Vienonen, Managing Director, Magnus Karhunmaa, Technical Manager and Johnny Sundvik, Production Manager.

“It is always a challenge to develop new products. Our Hercules Miner machine operates like a giant vacuum cleaner and is the outcome of a long period of development work. To meet the needs of the mining industry, which requires durable, specially-adapted machines, our solution represents a totally unique concept for dry-suction vehicles.” Around 50 vehicles are produced by Eur-Mark annually. The majority of them are exported to Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries. “Our geographical location is an advantage to us. We also have an advantage compared to our competitors in the fact that we speak Swedish in

In the future Eur-Mark aims to be the leader in the field rather than the biggest. “We are going to invest resources and stay in the region of Ostrobothnia. However, the expertise that we have is absolutely worth spreading globally. It is significant for both this region and for us to have a high working morale combined with a high quality.” c

eur-mark Tel.+358 20 73 45 800 Business sector:  Sanitation aggregates Turnover: €12 million


Employees: 54 Export: 70% Major markets:  Finland, Scandinavia and the Baltic countries

Ekeri is the largest trailer manufacturer in the Nordic countries. Their signature product is their side opening trailers.

Loaded with solutions

Ekeri is the leading manufacturer of trailers with side opening doors

mats sandström

The leading manufacturer of custom-made trailers in the Nordic countries is Ekeri. The trailers are made using cutting-edge technology that enables them to function in extreme circumstances. On a yearly basis roughly six hundred trailers are made, with some 10 percent ending up in markets outside Scandinavia. “We offer solutions no other manufacturer can offer”, Ekeri CEO Mikael Eklund asserts. The company has made side opening trailers since the 70’s.

with wine for the return to Sweden. “The side opening trailers create many opportunities for varied cargo. On the outbound journey the cargo could be frozen and on the inbound journey it could be regular dry goods. Our trailers are sturdy, made to suit any task and withstand extreme circumstances.” “This results in maximum efficiency and saves money. By developing our products we make it possible for the customer to work in a cost efficient way.”

Side opening allows for easy loading and the customer saves both time and money. The trailer can be utilized to its fullest extent on a return journey. “We excel when we get to offer the customer a complete solution. All our trailers are tailored to the needs of the customer. Our niche is that the chassis, the superstructure and extra equipment is optimized to help the customers use it in their daily business. This is what makes us competitive. If you need something truly special, turn to us.” Eklund gives an example: a customer loads up with steel in Sweden through the open top roof and transports the trailer by rail to France where the trailer is then filled

In an Ekeri trailer the cargo is completely secure, since the trailer can be fitted with alarms and has a central locking system. Currently Ekeri sees the FRC sector growing i.e. frozen and chilled goods, as well as the ADR sector, dangerous goods and explosives. To be allowed to build such trailers the manufacturer has to be certified and the trailers must be fire tested. “No one in the business is as specialized as we are. We are the largest trailer manufacturer in the Nordic countries and the largest in the world in our niche. We make high quality trailers of the extreme kind.” c

“We offer solutions no other manufacturer can offer. In practice that means easy loading, something that saves both time and money for the customer”, Mikael Eklund says.

ekeri Tel. +358 6 788 400 Business sector: Trailers, semitrailers and truck bodies Turnover: €56 million


Employees: 160 Export: 70% Major markets: The Nordic countries, The Netherlands, UK, Germany

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Creator of shapes

Trikatex Mould makes plugs and moulds for all major boat manufacturers in Finland mats sandström

In the 1990’s Peter Furubacka started his own business making tarpaulins and covers for boats and lorries. More than 20 years later, the business idea has developed and expanded; today Trikatex Mould is producing mainly high quality plugs for all the major boat manufacturers in Finland and small series of direct moulds is a fast growing product group. “And this is not all. We also deliver to foundries, the car industry, wind generators, etc. – practically speaking to anybody who needs plugs and moulds”, says Furubacka. The strengths of Tricatex Mould lie in the fast delivery time and the high quality of the products. Fibreglass and epoxy paste are the most commonly used materials but also other, more environmentallyfriendly materials are on the rise. Once the blueprints are done, it takes very little time to produce a custom-made plug or mould. “We edit the drawings in a 3D-program, then mill out a product that is finally finished according to the customer’s own

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“You have to know how different materials work. What the customer really buys is our know-how, since they know that we are a step ahead of our competitors”, says Peter Furubacka.

specifications. Depending on the product, the entire process takes somewhere between a good week to a couple of months.” The unique feature of Trikatex’s way of working is that the mould can also be made directly, without intermediate steps and measurement errors. This saves both time and money for the customer, who can quickly get their product out on the market. “You have to know how different materials work, and we have that knowledge. What the customer really buys is our know-how, since they know that we are a step ahead of our competitors.” Material- and skills development is a matter of course for Trikatex Mould. They can, for instance, pride themselves on the newest technology and two large 5-axis portal milling machines. With the 3D scanner included in the machine pool, measurement errors are eliminated, which means outright money savings for the customer. “We are constantly looking for new solutions and are not afraid of trying something new.”

Today, the direct moulds manufactured by Tricatex Mould last for 1–3 laminations. In the future, Furubacka envisions more durable moulds, which can be used for bigger series and also on new markets. “There is incredible potential in the construction industry, for instance, but there will also be development in the boat industry. Within five years, we will be delivering moulds that will last for up to 10 laminations.”  c

trikatex mould Tel. +358 6 831 0353 Business sector: Parts and moulds for e.g. the boating industry Turnover: €1.2 million Employees: 12 Export: 10 % Major markets: the Nordic countries


It’s the tools that count

T-Drill manufactures pipe fabrication machines the rest of the world cannot match mikko lehtimäki

It’s the tools that say how good you are. So claims T-Drill, which has supplied its own tools machinery around the world for more than 40 years. T-Drill manufactures pipe fabrication machines that shape metal pipes and carry out collaring, cutting, flanging and end-forming. As the size of the required pipe and its wall thickness may vary, there are dozens of different kinds of machines. T-Drill’s market niche is small, but diverse. The company’s products are used by customers in the HVAC, food and solar power sectors as well as the automotive, stainless steel fabricating and shipbuilding industries. Managing Director Anne Hanka looks to the future with confidence. Over the decades, T-Drill has acquired a vast amount of expertise, which has made the company the world’s market leader. “We must continue to push forward in future, too”, she says. T-Drill leads the way in product development. It monitors the fields with a keen eye, developing for customers pipe fabrication machines that are even better, more efficient and easier to use. The latest flagship products are the F-100 Mobile Flanging Machine and the TEC-150 Heavy Duty Collaring Station. The F-100 is a lightweight and mobile fabrication machine that can flange a pipe even at the worksite. The chemical industry and the HVAC sector as well as the shipbuilding and food industries, for example, will benefit from the machine. “The flange fittings do not have to be welded to the pipe and no chips are generated at all when the flange lip is formed directly on the pipe. The unit’s energy requirement is also low. The end result is high quality, and the produced flange meets pressures up to 16 bar”, explains Hanka. She is also proud of the new TEC 150 HD Collaring Station, which is able to carry out collarings on thicker-walled pipes. The machine has been developed particularly for industrial use. “Depending on the material thickness and elongation, collars can be made even on most SCH 40 pipes.”

t-drill Tel. +358 6 475 3333 Component manufacturing in Isokyrö: Tel. +358 6 471 5500 Business sector:  Tube and pipe processing technologies Turnover 2013: €12 million Employees: 90 Export: 95% Main markets: Worldwide


“We invest in product development and are bringing to the market new, more advanced pipe fabrication machines. Our products’ best competitive advantage is their sustainability”, says Anne Hanka.

T-Drill is a strong and experienced specialist, which has created its own path in the global market. The company has grown into a unique brand, and T-Drill’s methods are renowned throughout the industry. In addition to a good brand, Hanka knows what it takes to succeed in international business: durable machines, good availability of service and spare parts, reliable operations and a local presence. “We are globally local. We have local forces at work all over the world. ”  c

The F-100 Flanging Machine is light weight, user friendly and fully automated. It therefore generates savings both in labour costs and in materials.

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Best-Hall is one of the first in the world to powder coat their metal frames. Peter Corin is measuring the thickness of the colour.

Five star covering Best-Hall is the market leader of halls with steel frameworks

mats sandström

The trend of fabric covered halls that can be moved, extended and rebuilt was started by Best-Hall in Kokkola, nearly 40 years ago. Today, the halls are used worldwide for all kinds of purposes, such as sports halls in the UK, recycling halls in Switzerland and aircraft hangars in the US. “The benefits of fabric halls are that they let through light, they are more cost effective than metal halls and as a plus, they are flexible”, says Managing Director Leif Fagernäs. The mounting of a 2000 m² Best-Hall takes around three weeks. The hall has a long life span; the fabric lasts up to 40 years. “The hall is environmentally friendly and consists of only two main components. Both can be recycled; the steel frame can be melted down and reused and also the fabric can be entirely recycled. We realize that this is important to our customers.” A natural step in the environmental way of thinking is Best-Hall’s method of painting the steel parts with powder; a method in which they are one of the first users in the world as a manufacturer of structural steel buildings. ”The powder painting process is environ-

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“The hall is environmentally friendly and consists of only two components, which can be recycled”, says Leif Fagernäs.

mentally friendly and extremely durable. Through powder coating we get the best corrosion resistance in addition to a good-looking finish. This is a money-saving investment for the customer.” The painting process is carried out in a single-flow procedure. First, the parts are sand blasted, after which they pass by a manipulator that sprays a thin layer of the powder over the parts. Finally, the parts are cured in an oven. The entire process is fast, neat and clean. “The powder is completely dry, which makes it safe for our workers to handle. There is no need for protective masks, since no solvents or other harmful chemicals are used.”

Best-Hall is continuously working on developing their product. At present, they have ongoing co-operations all over the world, which will generate bigger market shares. “We have the original product, a good name and the qualifications to deliver quality halls. Our product is the result of what we have learned over many years.” Today, Best-Hall manufactures approximately 200 halls annually. In the future, they are looking forward to getting a bigger share of the markets in Eastern Countries. “Our export of fabric covered buildings has already surpassed the domestic sales, but we can see an even bigger share on the market. We are also working on improving the aesthetics of our hall design.” c

best-hall Tel. +358 6 832 5000 Business sector: Manufacturing of halls with steel frames Turnover 2012: €30.6 million Employees: 120 Export: 40% Major markets: Worldwide


karolina isaksson

Rani Plast is by far the largest company in Finland in its field.

Film expert

Rani Plast produces packaging solutions with a personal service jansandvik

Rani Plast was established nearly 60 years ago when a young man called Nils Ahlbäck wanted to create a job for himself in his home village of Terjärv. What started as a small local business has grown to become a global plastic-film group. Rani Plast is still family-owned, and the founder’s son Mikael Ahlbäck has been the CEO for 15 years now. “In Finland, we are by far the biggest company in our field, and in Europe we are in the top 20”, says Ahlbäck. Rani Plast also belongs to the worldwide big five of silage plastics manufacturers, and the subsidiary, Tervakoski Films Group, is a world leader in dielectric films. Rani Plast is a family business, which is seen in the fact that the company has a very long-term focus. In 2012, Rani Plast opened a new factory in Russia after years of planning. “When people ask how things are going in Russia, I answer that we are losing money at the rate we envisioned. It will take a long time before this investment pays off, but we were fully prepared for that”, Mikael Ahlbäck explains. Ahlbäck argues that the Russian venture was absolutely necessary in view of the future.

“Since our transport costs are higher than our competitor’s, we have to be extra efficient”, Ahlbäck points out. Besides the long-term focus, the fact that Rani Plast is a family business also influences the way they treat customers and business partners. “We have always believed in having direct open communication and long-term relationships with customers and suppliers. This makes our work more efficient and more fun, and it also makes product development much easier.”  c

“The fact is that the markets in Finland and Europe are no longer growing, which makes it difficult to expand in our traditional markets. The day a company ceases to grow the downfall begins, hence we have to look out for new opportunities.” In addition to Russia, the group operates factories in Sweden, Slovakia and Ukraine. However, most of the manufacturing is still done in the small village of Terjärv where it all began.

“The day a company ceases to grow, the downfall begins. That is one of the reasons why we have invested in a factory in Russia”, says Mikael Ahlbäck.

rani plast Tel. +358 20 768 0111 Business sector: Polyethylene and polypropylene films for packaging, industry and agriculture


Turnover: €183 million Employees: 380 Export: 60% Major markets: Europe Certificates: ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001

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OSTP has run counter to the trend in the Finnish steel industry, and grown thanks to new investments and the concentration of production to fewer production units by the group management.

Growing industrial muscles OSTP is now fit for its stainless steel suit

jan sandvik

The stainless steel pipe group OSTP has gone through a real acid test over the last few years. The market got tougher, and within the group there were many small production units that together contributed to an excess capacity. The manufacturing simply needed concolidating, and when the company management decided which units they would focus on, the Jakobstad plant was favoured. “We had the best internal track record, a good organization, a well-functioning infrastructure and space for expansion on the factory grounds. The group management saw great potential for future investment here”, Managing Director at OSTP Finland Oy Ab Thomas Pettersson explains. Four years ago the Jakobstad plant had two production lines in continuous operation. In the autumn of 2013 an eleventh production line was opened installed. Today, 75 per cent of the group’s production capacity is located in Jakobstad. “Our product range is more extensive these days, and thanks to the strategic investments we have been able to improve our service level and flexibility in relation to the customers. There is also strength in the fact that we manufacture both pipes and butt welded fittings under the same roof”, Thomas Pettersson points out.

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The plant in Jakobstad has grown since 2010, and now makes up 75 per cent of the production capacity in the OSTP-group. “Now we are fit for fight”, Thomas Pettersson states.

Although the biggest customer group is the process, chemical and energy industry, the construction business also uses a lot of OSTP’s products. In connection with the upgrading of the Jakobstad plant, the level of automation has increased. During the expansion phase OSTP’s ambitious safety work has continued, and some tasks have been taken over by robots. Recruitment has been active, and since 2010 the work force has increased by almost 50 per cent, amounting to 210 employees in total. “It’s been an enormous adjustment internally and thanks to our skilled and motivated staff we have been able to stick to the plan. Now those tough times are in the past and we feel fit for fight”, Thomas Pettersson says. c

outokumpu stainless tubular products ostp finland Tel. +358 6 786 5111 Business sector:  Longitudinally welded stainless steel pipes, tubes and fittings.


Turnover 2012: €115 million Employees: 210 Export: 85% Major markets: Nordic Countries, Central Europe, Southern Europe

High quality on the roof SK Tuote roofing accessories impress technically and visually jan sandvik

“We don’t dwell on what others are doing; we focus on our own product development. We are currently developing for customers’ needs new and innovative roofing accessories”, says Eero Saikkonen.

SK Tuote is able to deliver roofing accessories and fasteners for both steep and gently sloping roofs of any roofing material.

a special UV-stabilised plastic material that maintains its colour and strong structure. The product life cycle is often up to 30 years, and maintenance needs are minimal.” SK Tuote has two product groups: VILPE and SK Fastening. VILPE includes exhaust ventilation products and roofing accessories for all roof types and pitches. SK Fastening covers roof fasteners for different underlays of gently sloping roofs. The company’s main customers are HVAC wholesalers, roofing material manufacturers and felt producers. “SK Tuote’s success is due in particular to the easy installability, reliability and stylish design of our roofing accessories. In product development, we first solve the technical challenges, after which the designer makes the product visually attractive”, says Saikkonen. The outcome is a roofing accessory that is essential for the building concerned and improves quality of life, delivers fresh air and extends the life of structures. Stress tests ensure that fasteners withstand installation work in temperatures of -40C and also keep roofs in place even in the strongest gusts of wind. SK Tuote has ambitious growth targets. The company’s goal is to export over 50% of its production and to become one of the market’s three largest players. There are already numerous warehouses and sales locations in Central Europe and Russia, and Sweden and the Netherlands have their own sales managers. In future, the company will invest heavily in the rest of Western Europe. Saikkonen knows why their products are in demand: the company has a strong engineering background and a high level of expertise. Due to the products’ high quality, the level of complaints is very low. “We also have a large stock of products, ensuring good and fast security of the supply. As a result, we are a success and are the best supplier in the business.”  c

sk tuote Tel. + 358 20 123 3200

When you manufacture roofing products for buildings, you have to make them durable. Water, storms and air pollution test the materials, but the most destructive element of all is the sun. SK Tuote Oy has nearly 40 years’ experience of manufacturing fasteners and special roof

products. Today, a total of 26 plastic injection moulding production lines efficiently manufacture UV-resistant products. The company’s founder and managing director, Eero Saikkonen, praises this prudent product development: “Nowadays SK Tuote is able to mix

Business sector:  Roofing accessories Turnover 2013: €15.5 million


Employees: 89 Export: 38% Major markets: Russia, Europe Certification: ISO 9001

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Behind the wheel sits a driver who has undergone ecodriving training. The result is clear when Ahola Transport gets the diesel bill.

Green cargo transport Ecological driving is second nature to Ahola Transport’s drivers jan sandvik

economical Green Wheels concept was launched. “Many of our customers ask to see emissions reports for every transport. We constantly strive to lower our emissions in relation to the amount of cargo carried. The driving style is the economic factor that we can influence the most”, says Hans Ahola, CEO of Ahola Transport.

Normally racing-circuit style driving is not recommended in traffic, but for Ahola Transport’s drivers that is ok. In the Green Wheels Challenge, which was organized by Ahola Transport and took place in conjunction with the Power Truck Show in Härmä in August 2013, the challenge was to drive as ecologically and economically as possible. No emergency braking or burnt tires whatsoever. Ahola Transport has been working consciously to reduce environmental impact since the 90’s, and in 2002, when the company was awarded the environmental certificate ISO 14001, the ecological and

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“We constantly strive to lower our emissions in relation to the amount of cargo carried. The driving style is the economic factor that we can influence the most”, Niclas Blomqvist and Hans Ahola say.

In the last few years, every company driver has undergone eco-driving training. To measure the driving behaviour of every driver, the company has developed a tool based on four variables: overspeed, idling, rollout and wasted energy. The trucks have been fitted with equipment to measure these variables, and an index is calculated for every driver. The Green Wheels Challenge was organized to encourage the drivers to adopt a more economical driving style. The ten drivers who drove with the best index over three months qualified for the finals at Power Park’s racing circuit. It became an intense competition with 160 participants, which was finally decided in 25-year old Patricia Östman’s favour by a decimal margin. Routine was probably not

her main strength, but she showed great driving skills and a knack for ecological driving. The result of the campaign can also be seen in day-to-day traffic and in the smaller amounts of fuel used by the company’s fleet of lorries. “Even though the younger generation often finds it easier to adopt the new driving style, the force as a whole improved its index by 10 per cent. Driving behaviour is now second nature, since it was so rigorously practised in the qualifying stages”, Hans Ahola states. c

ahola transport Tel. +358 20 747 5111 Business sector:  Transport services Turnover 2012: €87 million Employees: 190 Export: 95% Major markets: The Nordic and Baltic countries, Central and Eastern Europe Quality assurance systems:  ISO 9001, ISO 14001 Health and safety management:  system: OHSAS 18001


Wasa Dredging sold its dredging business in 2006, but in 2009 the company decided to return to the industry.

Water constructor

Reborn Wasa Dredging specialises in underwater drilling and blasting mikko lehtimäki

Wasa Dredging is one of the largest companies in Finland dredging fairways and harbours. The company was originally established in 1984, sold to a competitor in 2006 and re-established in 2009. “I started to miss being in the industry. In the years between I mainly busied myself with investments, but it became boring in the long run”, says Kristian Backlund, the founder and the owner of the company, as he explains his decision to start all over again from scratch. Due to his long experience in dredging, Backlund has succeeded in expanding the reborn company rapidly. When the company was sold in 2006 its revenue was six million Euros, but after only three years of operation, the revenue of the new Wasa Dredging is already € 25 million. The speciality of Wasa Dredging is carrying out underwater blasting with dredging. This is one of the reasons why the company has succeeded in getting so many contracts in Norway, where the seabed usually consists of firm bedrock and blasting is required. What makes Wasa Dredging a real expert is that the company develops its own equipment, which is then manufactured

by subcontractors. The company also sells dredging equipment to interested buyers. In the spring 2014 Wasa Dredging will take its third dredging unit into use, which the company has developed itself. In addition to the dredging equipment, the unit consists of a transport and towing vessels. ”We have chosen organic growth in the sense that we start to develop new equipment whenever our existing capacity is in full use. The new unit means that we will continue to grow rapidly.” Wasa Dredging has succeeded so well because of its strong technical know-how and because it has benefited from the trends of the times. Cargo vessels have grown in size, which means that harbours and fairways need to be dredged frequently. Also, as new mines start operating new ports are usually needed to transport the minerals. “In principle we can take on work assignments anywhere in the world. However, so far there has been enough work in the neighbouring countries”, explains Backlund. In addition to Finland Wasa Dredging has carried out dredging operations in Russia, Sweden and Norway. c

“In principle we can take up work anywhere in the world. However, there has been enough work in the neighbouring countries so far”, says Kristian Backlund.

wasa dredging Business sector: Dredging and underwater blasting to increase the depth of harbours and shipping routes


Turnover: €25 million Employees: 36 Export: 50–70% Major markets: Northern Europe

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Norcar Miniloaders are diesel-operated agile loaders with a lot of working capacity.

Hard worker gains success Norcar-BSB continues to develop its product range of miniloaders and feed trucks jan sandvik

and A75 models only weigh 1,790 kilograms but can lift 1,500 kilos”, explains Managing Director Lotta Lindén-Svarvar. Besides farmers, miniloaders are used by park and garden workers, builders and real-estate maintenance staff. There are over 50 tool attachments available, depending on whether things need to be lifted, excavated or removed. Norcar-BSB is a family business that was established at the end of the 1970s. Today, the company is run by the second generation. “When the company was established, the products manufactured were aimed at the fur farmers of the region. This is still an important market for us, even though our market has now grown to include other countries where fur farming is a limited market segment. Miniloaders have helped our business even in times when fur farming has not been going so well”, says Lotta Lindén-Svarvar. The miniloader has become the best friend of many farmers. You quickly realise the advantage of having an assistant that can work in confined spaces and do the heavy lifting work. “I have heard customers say that their miniloader is the last thing they would ever give up. Not only is it compact and agile, it even has a great lifting capacity. Our A72

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“There are many work tasks that are made easier by using miniloaders. At present, there are over 50 different tool attachments”, says Lotta LindénSvarvar.

The upward trend in the fur industry, which has taken place in the past few years, has also been evident in Norcar-BSB’s business, especially in Minkomatic Feed Trucks. Norcar-BSB has the biggest market share in feed trucks in the world. “We use a lot of the same components in the various products and production takes place on the same premises”, says Andreas

Lindén, who is responsible for product development in the company. “There are no plastic parts in our miniloaders; instead they are built of steel and metal plates. The loaders must be sturdy so they remain in good working condition on a daily basis in demanding conditions. The frames are made at our company in Estonia, where we have welding and painting lines. The frames are then assembled in Nykarleby”, explains Andreas Lindén. c

norcar-bsb Tel. +358 6 781 2800 Business sector:  Manufacturing industry Turnover 2013: €18.2 million


Employees: 60 Export: 52% Major markets: Finland, Europe, USA, Canada

jan sandvik

Paper is about to get new uses. Walki has developed a new, more resource efficient, cheaper and faster way of manufacturing RFID antennas.

Strong signals in paper laminates Walki is taking wood fibers to a new high-tech level karolina isaksson

The radio-frequency identification technology is an established technology in many fields, but the production of RFIDantennas has traditionally been expensive and environmentally unfriendly. Walki has developed the 4E Technology at its plant in Jakobstad; a new and patented method for manufacturing fully recyclable RFIDantennas based on an aluminium/paper to replace expensive plastic films. Instead of the traditional wet etching process, Walki is using laser technology to cut the shape of the antennas faster and more accurate than with the old methods. “This is an example of how we have developed new uses for paper. We used to be a part of a traditional paper cluster, but we still have a lot of know-how in the field of wood based fiber technology”, Leif Frilund, CEO at Walki, explains. Today, there is a growing need in the global manufacturing industry to improve the efficiency of used resources, like energy and raw-materials. ”We must minimize the impact of industrial activities on our environment. This is why the R&D efforts of the Walki Group focus very much on finding new resource efficient solutions for our customers.” For the food industry Walki has developed a range of smart packaging that keeps the food fresh and safe during trans-

solutions for the building and construction industry. Out of the total energy consumption in the EU, over 40 percent is used to heat or cool buildings. By improving the insulation of buildings, large energy savings can be made. As a positive side effect, also the CO2-emmission levels can be reduced. ”We have a lot of interesting things to offer to help make buildings more energy efficient and healthier for the people living in them. For example Walki’s insulation facings and construction membranes reduce the energy need, whilst allowing the house to breathe. It can be described as a Goretex-material for buildings”, says Leif Frilund. c

walki group port and storage. Walki has for example, in cooperation with its business partners, developed a thin protective barrier for the packaging that keeps pasta and cereals free from harmful mineral oils. An increasingly important area for Walki is the development of new laminate

“Resource efficiency is becoming more important and the industry needs to use resources in a smarter way”, says Leif Frilund. Tel. +358 (0) 0205 36 3111 Business sector:  Technical laminates and protective packaging materials.


Turnover 2012: €300 million Employees: 900 Major markets: Europe, Asia

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From mine to market Freeport Cobalt connects the world with cobalt

Do you know what the magnetic stripe in your credit card, the blue colour in your china, your PET-bottle and low sulphur fuel all have in common? They have all probably been made using cobalt from Freeport Cobalt, previously OMG Kokkola Chemicals. “We have a strong position in the cobalt market where we are the major supplier to all industrial applications that use cobaltbased powders and chemicals. In many cases we are the worldwide industrial benchmark in product quality and service. This know-how is based on our long experience and R&D efforts in the refining, purification and processing of cobalt into chemicals that are often tailored to meet customer-specific needs”, says Jöran Sopo, managing director. The plant in Kokkola went through some major changes in 2013 when it was acquired by its new parent company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and their joint venture partners Lundin Mining Corporation and La Génerale des Carrières et des Mines. “The new ownership structure brings significant integration and consolidation to the supply chain of cobalt. Our parent company operates a large mine and copper production facility that also produces large volumes of cobalt raw material that can efficiently be refined into high purity cobalt chemicals here at the Freeport Cobalt operation in Kokkola. This demonstrates Freeport-McMoRan’s strategy – ’From mine to market’ – and to our customers all around the world this

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Freeport Cobalt in Kokkola is expanding with new production lines for cobalt-based chemicals used in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The plant delivers its products to over 50 countries around the world.

“Sustainable development is a high priority for our company. We actively work towards maintaining and improving safety in our operation as well as mitigating the impact we have on the environment”, says Jöran Sopo.

integration provides long-term supply reliability.” An expansion of the plant is currently under construction to increase the production capacity of cobalt-based chemicals used in the rechargeable lithium ion batteries and additional investments are being considered. Freeport Cobalt delivers its products to over 50 countries around the world. The fact that they operate globally reinforces their commitment to social responsibility and to work for sustainability. “Sustainable development is a high priority for our company. We actively work towards maintaining and improving safety in our operations, as well as mitigating the impact we have on the environment.” The sustainability strategy can be

seen in the company’s work to continually develop its products, recycle, train staff and honour human rights in the countries where they operate. c

freeport cobalt Tel. +358 6 828 0111 Business sector: Metal-based speciality chemicals and powders Turnover 2012: €329 million


Employees: 410 Export: 99% of cobalt products Major markets: Worldwide Parent company:  Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold mats sandström

Boliden Kokkola is the second largest zinc plant in Europe. About 85 percent of the production is exported.

Responsible zinc smelter Boliden produces metals that make modern society work Of all the vehicles rolling along the roads across Europe, a large share contains zinc produced in Kokkola. Here you will find the Boliden zinc smelter, the second largest zinc producer in Europe, and the largest private employer in Kokkola. “Modern society needs metals, nothing works without them. This is our area of expertise. We produce metals to meet the needs of modern life”, says Jarmo Herronen, General Manager at Boliden Kokkola. One of the most important characteristics of zinc is its ability to protect steel from corrosion. Zinc extends the life-cycle of steel products and is used, for example, in cars, roofing sheets and bridges. “The zinc produced at Kokkola is sustainable. In comparison with other smelters, our carbon footprint is minimal. We feel a great responsibility for both the environment and the people working with us, which is evident in all our methods of operation.” Boliden Kokkola continuously pursues improvements in, among other things, the methods for recovering the energy consumed and generated in the plant. The perpetual improvements have made Boliden Kokkola one of the most energy efficient and modern zinc plants in the world. “Society needs, and will always need, metals – that’s a simple fact. Taking the environment into account is self-evident

if we want to continue our operations also in future. We have proved that we possess the competence required.” The raw material used in the plant comes from Boliden’s mines in the Nordic countries and Ireland, but to some extent also from other mining companies. In 2014 the company will expand their operations to include extraction of silver from zinc concentrate.

“The zinc produced in Kokkola is sustainable. We feel a great responsibility for both the environment and the people working with us”, says Jarmo Herronen. mats sandström

“This will enhance our competitiveness and increase our care for the environment. Zinc concentrate always contains traces of silver, so recovering and refining also that part of the raw material is a natural step forward.” Zinc has thousands of uses. Although the largest areas of use are within the construction and automotive industries, zinc is also used as an additive in fertilisers. Moreover, all living creatures depend on zinc for their growth and development. “As zinc is vital for human health Boliden wanted to participate in the Unicef project ’Zinc saves kids’. Through our involvement in the project we contribute to fighting zinc deficiency among undernourished children in low-income countries. This is one way in which we take responsibility for both humans and the environment.” c

boliden kokkola Tel. +358 6 828 6111 Business sector: Zinc production Turnover 2012: €198.2 million Employees: 522


Export: 85% Major markets: EU

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A meaty success story Mush uses raw ingredients in their pet food Dogs eat meat – that’s something everybody knows. Mush produces dog food that doesn’t contain any grain products, only ingredients your dog would eat if it lived in the wild. “Natural food is the best choice for our pets. Unfortunately, we have in the last decades been deceived by marketing campaigns endorsing grain-based food, and a whole industry has been built up around the health issues inflicted by the wrong fodder”, says Magnus Pettersson, CEO at Mush in Jakobstad. The company’s products are manufactured according to the BARF concept. BARF refers to pet food manufactured from natural ingredients such as meat, bones and offal, or, biologically appropriate raw food. The products are sold in frozen form. Pettersson says that the word ’BARF’ may be a buzzword, but the philosophy behind it is not new, rather something that is considered an old truth at Mush. When the company was founded in 2004, there was a crying need for high-quality, natural food for pets. “What would your dog eat if you didn’t feed it every day? Well, it would eat raw meat. This is something that an increasing number of pet owners, who want to feed the best food to their pets, realize.” In 2011 Mush was acquired by Snellman, one of the largest food producers in Finland, employing more than 1100 people in five different business areas – meat processing, ready meals, food service, Panini and pet food. “We share our values concerning naturalness and honesty with the holding company. Together we can make changes in the industry in which we work.” Mush BARF-products are partly manufactured from the by-products of animal slaughter. The products aren’t processed and no substances concealing the quality of the ingredients are added. “With our openness and transparency we’re going to alter the whole concept of pet food. As pet owner you’ll notice the positive effects when your pet receives the food it evolved to eat.” Currently Mush is available on the Finnish and Swedish markets, but the company constantly receive inquiries from other countries. “In 2014 we’ll launch our products in Germany, Norway and Denmark. The interest has been immense in an industry evoking strong emotions. With our naturalness and honesty we have a concept that is up to the mark in all markets around Europe. ” c

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mats sandström

“Natural food is the best choice for our pets. That is why we believe in BARF”, says Magnus Pettersson.

Mush produces pet food according to the BARF concept, i.e. biologically appropriate raw food, because the company believes that natural food is the best for pets.

oy snellman ab Tel:+ 358 6 7866 111 Business sector: Meat processing, ready meals, food service, Panini and animal food.


Turnover 2012: € 264 million Employees: 1104 Major markets: Europe

mush Business sector: Pet food Turnover 2012: €4.8 million Employees: 38 Export: 5 % Major markets: Europe


KPO’s app gives members the opportunity to have their personal finance in their pockets.

Eyes on the price

KPO strengthens customer relations with a mobile app jan sandvik

KPO is a part of the S-group and as a cooperative it has a uniquely strong position in Ostrobothnia. With a market share of just over 46 per cent, and with two thirds of the regions households as owner-customers, KPO is a part of daily life for many inhabitants, from Korsnäs in the south to Ylivieska in the north. “The idea of the cooperative is that members, by acting together, create better conditions for themselves by buying in bulk, which strengthens the purchasing power of each household”, says Arttu Laine, Managing Director. Although customers mostly visit KPO’s food stores, members can also choose to collect a Bonus for almost all everyday purchases. Fill up the car, eat out or call someone on your mobile, and your Bonus account fills up with new Bonus money. Some of the benefits are already tangible at the till, in the form of discount prices for members. Banking and finance services are the latest additions to the S-group’s range.

“We develop our operations according to our customers’ wishes. Right now we are noticing that many people want to handle their personal finance on their smartphones”, says Arttu Laine.

Today, KPO sees a service improvement opportunity in smartphones. An app has recently been developed by the S-group in order to increase convenience, accessibility and information for customers. The mobile app contains everything from opening hours to products and prices. In addition, customers can pay bills, do their banking and of course check their Bonus account. “The trade is in a period of transition. We need to ensure that our customers continue to enjoy good service at affordable prices”, says Arttu Laine. c

kpo cooperative Tel. +358 20 7807000 Business sector: Retail business Sales: €760 million Market share: 46%


Employees: 1,900 Owner-customers (members): 99,000 Major market: Ostrobothnia

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Good daily business Halpa-Halli wants to be near the customers

jan sandvik

The Halpa-Halli department-store chain continues to grow both online and in the number of stores it has; four new stores were opened in 2013. After this latest strategic investment, the chain now consists of 39 stores. “In rural centres we are seen as the number one point of purchase. However, ecommerce is now a fast-growing challenger in these areas too”, says CEO Janne Ylinen. In 2013, Halpa-Halli began to refocus on e-commerce under the brand name HHSport. This development is in line with the current trend in purchasing habits, where online shopping is seen as a natural accompaniment to traditional stores. HH-Sport is a specialty-store chain, whose product range is geared towards hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. This new venture is expected to reach a target group of some 400 000 customers in Finland. Back in the year 2000, Halpa-Halli was one of the very first Finnish compa-

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“Our name HalpaHalli which directly translated means “Cheap-Hall” obliges us to maintain low prices. In this respect we succeed, in part due to us handling our own sourcing”, Juha Hakala and Janne Ylinen explain.

nies with an e-commerce presence. The online store had opened and was offering a large store selection, the only exception being groceries. Unfortunately, the online store had to be shelved after a few years since the payment processing and delivery costs at the time were eating away all the profit. “We made some mistakes and gained a lot of valuable experience. One error of judgement was to target customers who did not have a Halpa-Halli store in their hometown. We have now learnt that customers use our stores in tandem with our online store”, says Janne Ylinen. Halpa-Halli now bases its new ecommerce investment on thorough market analysis. “We have studied the purchasing habits of customers, the competition and the technical solutions available. The goal now is to become the market leader in hunting weapons and equipment. Soon we will

expand our range by adding fishing gear”, says Marketing Manager Juha Hakala. The local connection is still important to Halpa-Halli. “We are a family business with distinct values and we take strong responsibility for our staff. The loyalty and trust of our customers is built upon us running things well, and explaining the reasoning behind our decisions. For example, we do not stock certain goods like alcohol and tobacco. We think trust is better than a plastic membership card”, Janne Ylinen states. c

halpa-halli Business sector: Retail business Turnover 2013: €260 million Employees: 1,400 Stores: 39


TV the way you want it Anvia focuses on tailored IPTV-services

“Whatever, whenever, wherever, is our philosophy”, says Mathias Norrback.

Imagine that you have a TV, a computer, a tablet and a smart phone and that you can choose which one of them you will use to watch your favourite TV programmes whenever you wish to do so. This is a real possibility with the services Anvia offers. “Whatever, whenever, wherever, is our philosophy. The consumers’ habits of following the media are changing rapidly and in our opinion the end customer should be able to choose how to follow the media easily. More and more consumers are choosing to watch on demand TV”, says Mathias Norrback, CEO of Anvia’s subsidiary company Watson Ltd. Anvia is the operator who has succeeded the best with pay TV on the Finnish market. Many of the other operators in Finland use Anvia’s platforms. The so-called multiscreen, the possibility to follow a moving image on other devices than a traditional TV, has made watching TV simpler for the end user. “We are proud that we have been able to see the rising trends early on. As a result we have been able to react to the new trends and invest our resources in the right places. For example, we were among the first to launch triple play TV and today our focus is on IP-based services.”

IP-based TV services can be used as a common name for all types of moving image. Anvia has worked with this technology since 2006 and also sells these services to other operators. The idea in Watson, as Anvia’s IP-based product is called, is that the customers do not have to find their own solutions; instead they recieve a complete service that can be tailored for specific needs. “Our product called Watson can also be offered as a white label product – meaning that it is then developed and branded as if

Watson is Anvia’s IP-based TV-service that includes cloud storage solution which makes it possible for customers to save their favourite programmes for up to six months and watch TV and videos on literally any suitable device.

it was a product of any company anywhere in the world. Hibox, our subsidiary, offers such technology with which anyone can build their service in IP format.” Watson makes it possible for the end consumer to see what he wants faster than is possible with any other service. Watson also offers cloud storage capacity making it possible to save your favourite programmes for up to six months. “Operators for example in the US and Bahrain are already using Hibox technology. Watson services are going to be available outside of Finland either under the Anvia Watson brand or through cooperation partners. We see profitable growth and geographical expansion in both the consumer markets and the B2B markets.” c

anvia Tel.+358 6 411 4111 Branch: Communication, IT and security solutions Turnover: €114.8 million


Personnel: 738 Major markets: Finland

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Solving the debt problem Private capital can solve debt crisis by purchasing portfolios from banks Since its establishment, OK Perintä has been a forerunner in the Finnish debt collection industry. The company was the first in Finland to launch smooth efficient debt collection by telephone. OK Perintä uses in-house developed techniques, and focuses on the well-being of its staff in order to minimize staff turnover. During the 2000s, the largest debt collecting firms evolved into accounts receivable management firms (ARM) offering a wide range of services in addition to debt collection. Besides the purchase of debt portfolios, customers today also expect services such as invoice administration, invoice financing as well as other administrative and financial services.

“The financial crisis in the western world is partly due to the fact that the total amount of debt has grown too large. We offer solutions to the debt problem by purchasing debt portfolios from banks”, says Kennet Kronman.

In 2012, OK Perintä consolidated its position as a forerunner in the ARM industry by becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Norwegian group B2Holding, whose goal is to offer financial services in the Nordic countries, the Baltics and Eastern Europe. “Our common points of view concerning the future of the industry, success factors and values were what made OK Perintä and B2Holding join forces”, says Kennet Kronman, Marketing Director and co-founder of OK Perintä. One of B2Holding’s fundamental business ideas is to take an active part in solving the debt problems of the western world. By offering market solutions, debts no longer have to be paid for by the tax payers. B2Holding and OK Perintä estimate that there will be a remarkable increase in demand for actors able to purchase large debt portfolios in the future. “We acquire private capital willing to purchase debts”, says Kronman. Finance companies tied to the ARM industry can buy problem debts from banks at a discounted price so the banks can start from a clean slate. In this respect, both B2Holding and OK Perintä have a lot of experience. This can be seen in OK Perintä’s successful track record at maintaining payment morale while showing respect to insolvent individuals in difficult situations. “We can remit a part of the debts, which the banks cannot, since they must treat everybody equally”, says Kronman. OK Perintä and B2Holding believe that the financial obligations of states, companies and private individuals must be solved in order for growth to gain momentum. “There has been a tenfold increase in the amount of debt in the world during the last 40 years. There’s a large risk for social unrest and moral decay if the debt crisis becomes untenable”, says Kronman. c

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gunnar bäckman

ok perintä Tel. +358 30 603 5600 Business sector: Accounts receivable management, debt portfolio management, financial and administrative services. Turnover: €24 million Employees: 160


Changing the world of finance Fixura is the first peer-to-peer lending company in Finland

katja lösönen

designing the service. The borrowers and lenders agree on the terms of the loans amongst themselves, we only provide guidelines”, Simon Sandvik adds. Abroad peer-to-peer lending businesses have operated since the mid-2000’s and the sector’s turnover is counted in the billions. The phenomenon is part of the sharing economy, an expression describing how new funding methods are emerging on the web complementing traditional banks and investment banks. Fixura too, has grown quickly. During the first business year 2010–11 the company arranged loans worth a million euros. That number has since multiplied every year. At the same time Fixura’s services have become more advanced. An automatic programme distributes the investor’s contributions in small shares across many loans in order to spread the risks. Nowadays the borrowers can connect a warrantor to their loan application to increase their chances of getting a loan with a low interest rate.

Good business ideas are often born out of a genuine need. Fixura’s founding partners Jeanette Samuelsson and Simon Sandvik found themselves missing a safe investment alternative with a good rate of return. At the same time they had noticed a great societal demand for small credits. Out of this, the idea of starting a business 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.2

that connects people wanting to borrow money with people willing to lend their money at interest, was born. “People have always lent money to each other. We make it possible to continue this tradition in a new fashion on the web”, Jeanette Samuelsson explains. “One of our core ideas is that the users are involved in

“At first not many people believed in our business idea. Luckily we did not listen that much to those who said that this would never succeed”, Sandvik and Samuelsson say.

The fact that Fixura is a company to be reckoned with is made clear in the way that the board contains of many notable heavyweights from the banking and finance sectors. “At first not many people believed in our business idea. Luckily we did not listen that much to those who said that this would never succeed”, Sandvik and Samuelsson say. The sights are now set at further growth. In early 2013 Fixura opened up for European lenders in SEPA countries to invest in loans for Finnish people, with special emphasis on the German market. In the future they aim at expanding to more countries, and also to offer foreigners the opportunity to apply for a loan via Fixura. First in line is Sweden in 2014. c

fixura Tel. +350 20 7344 530


Business sector:  Peer-to-peer loans


1.1 1.0

Turnover 2013 (est.): €2 million



Arranged loans in total: About €25 million in more than 7000 loans (by the end of 2013)

0.8 2010



Fixura has had an annual average return of 10.8% including paid subscription and transaction fees. The chart shows the value development compared to the OMX index.


Employees: 20 Major markets: Northern Europe

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Local relationship banking Nordea is the leading financial partner for Ostrobothnian customers

gunnar bäckman

Nordea’s team of specialists in Ostrobothnia possess expert financial knowledge. Behind them are the whole group’s experts that can handle the client’s affairs if needed.

Nordea’s services include the full range of corporate and private banking needs, among others financing, markets, asset management, private banking and company acquisitions. The clients range from individuals and the self-employed to large corporations. Overall, Nordea’s market position is strong, and in Ostrobothnia they are the leader. Nordea in Ostrobothnia focuses on relationship banking. That means they strive to establish durable long-term customer relations, with private as well as corporate clients. A question sometimes posed, one which is important for society as a whole, is whether the banks can actually fund investments. Nordea in Ostrobothnia can proudly answer “yes” to that question. “We have both the capacity and the will to increase business capital, thereby opening up new growth opportunities”, says Thomas Lempiälä, Manager of Nordea’s Ostrobothnian corporate bank. “It is often the case that a business owner also banks with us, thus we need to be able to cater to both corporate and private needs”, says Stefan Grönholm, division manager in Vaasa. “Our strength lies in our large competent team, who are involved in everything we do. All our customers have their own contact

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ann-sofi berg

person and through the contact person the client has access to the entire group’s experts”, Lempiälä explains. “Nordea is a big bank and our strength lies in the fact that we can cater to the local needs in our area, which spans from Kokkola in the north to Kristinestad in the south. We have the biggest corporate expert group in our area consisting of some 50 people, and behind them the entire group’s specialists”, says Markus Lindahl, regional manager for Coastal Ostrobothnia. The tight customer relations are the most distinctive feature of Nordea in Ostrobothnia. It is also what makes them the leading bank in the region. Nordea has a long tradition of handling corporate clients and the future looks bright. “We are constantly growing and focusing on expanding the corporate side. In our region there are good companies with bright futures. We want to help them grow”, says Lempiälä. c

nordea Tel. +358 200 2121

“Our unit has both the capability and the will to increase business capital. Our strength lies in the fact that we have a large competent team involved in everything we do”, Markus Lindahl and Thomas Lempiälä explain.

Business sector: Banking Employees in Ostrobothnia: 140


Effortless travelling Flybe Finland’s strength derives from its Finnishness

suvi-tuuli  kankaanpää

Flybe, an airline with British roots, touched down in Finland in 2011. This was achieved through the acquisition of the entire share stock of the private airline Finnish Commuter Airlines, resulting in Flybe owning 60 per cent and Finnair 40 per cent. The new airline was named Flybe Finland Oy. Flybe Finland’s concept is to be a regional airline offering business and leisure travellers an affordable, high quality, environmental friendly and convenient way to travel. From Helsinki, Flybe flies to ten destinations in Finland and its surrounding areas including Kokkola–Pietarsaari. They also have seasonal destinations such as Visby in summer 2014. “Our goal is to provide a modern regional route network. We serve the regions with flights three to four times a day and this is about the balance in terms of demand and commercial feasibility”, says Flybe Finland’s Acting Managing Director, Mikko Sundström.

In addition to its own flights, Flybe Finland flies roughly a third of Finnair’s European flights, as well as a very significant part of Finnair’s domestic flights, including flights to Vaasa and Oulu. Flybe Finland has its own headquarters and operating premises at Helsinki–Vantaa Airport. Aircraft are maintained at the facility, which also serves as a base for flight personnel staff. Flybe Finland has its own pilots, cabin crew, office employees and mechanics, most of them Finns, who are also covered by Finnish collective agreements. Amidst the turbulence of the global economy, Flybe is one of the few companies to have been active in hiring additional staff. “In 2011 we had around 300 employees, now we have nearly 700. We train our staff in our own training centre, which is regularly attended by enthusiastic new recruits, from mechanics to flight attendants”, says Sales Manager Elina Boman, who is respon-

“Our goal is to provide a modern regional route network. Flybe flies nearly all of Finnair’s flights to domestic destinations”, say Mikko Sundström and Elina Boman.

sible for Flybe Finland’s sales. In addition to Finnishness and quality, Flybe considers it important to invest in environmental friendliness. According to Sundström, this is now an obligation for airlines. “Big fleet investments have been made in reducing emissions in recent years, and now we can say that an aircraft pollutes even less than a passenger car per passenger, as measured with average passenger loads”, says Sundström. c

flybe finland Tel. +358 600 9 44 77 Business sector:  Aviation, regional flying Turnover 2012/2013: GBP 167.2 M


Employees: Around 700 in Finland Major markets: Europe

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The history of Nextjet is unique in the sense that the company started operations when air traffic was at an all-time low, in the aftermath of 9/11.

Taking off to Kokk

Nextjet flies to Swedish destinations and to the neighboring countries The history of the Swedish airline Next­ jet is unique in the sense that the company started operations when air traffic was at an all-time low, in the aftermath of 9/11. The five founders thought that the timing was right, since the air traffic market was experiencing major restructuring, thus there was space for new actors to enter the fray. “We started charter operations with private jets. In 2005 business really picked up when we won a contract from the Swedish state to operate two domestic routes that were not economically viable”, Magnus Ivarsson, CEO and co-founder of Nextjet, recalls. Since then Nextjet has won many more state contracts. A new chapter in the

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We always try to find ways to utilize our fleet optimally; which aircraft suits which route and how to rotate our crew in the best possible way.

history of Nextjet began in 2011 when the company started to operate purely commercial routes in addition to the contract destinations. That same year the company also won a contract to arrange air travel between Stockholm and the Åland Islands. Today the company flies to some twenty different destinations, mostly domestic in Sweden, but also to the neighboring countries Denmark and Finland. According to Magnus Ivarsson Nextjet is constantly working to improve the cost structure of the operations. “We always try to find ways to utilize our fleet optimally; which aircraft suits which route and how to rotate our crew in the best possible way.” At the turn of the year 2012-2013,

Nextjet was bought out by the airline Höga Kusten Flyg and today the company operates under both brands. At the end of 2013, the Ostrobothnians received some great news: Nextjet was to start operating the Stockholm–Kokkola / Pietarsaari route, which had been discontinued by SAS a few months prior. “We definitely believe that the route can be profitable, given how many passengers it has had in the past. Our fleet is optimally suited to the amount of passengers”, says Ivarsson. The aircraft model that will run the Stockholm–Kokkola / Pietarsaari route is a Saab 340 with space for 33 passengers. The route will have three daily departures

Today Nextjet flies to some twenty different destinations, mostly domestic in Sweden, but also to the neighboring countries Denmark and Finland.

ola–Pietarsaari in both directions from Monday to Friday, and slightly fewer departures on weekends. The flight will take one and a half hours, and some of the flights will make a stopover in Pori in Finland on the way to Stockholm. A big reason for Nextjet daring to invest in the route was that the local industry strongly backed the plans. The initiative for the whole arrangement came from the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce. The Kokkola –Pietarsaari region is one of Finland’s most industrialized regions, and the many export-oriented companies are in need of fast and reliable air traffic. “I think our chances to succeed are good, since we have developed our product and

“We definitely believe that the Stockholm– Kokkola / Pietarsaari route can be profitable, given how many passengers it has had in the past”, says Magnus Ivarsson.

our schedule in close cooperation with the industry. This makes it easier to attract passengers”, Ivarsson concludes. c

nextjet Tel. +46 771 90 00 90 Business sector: Aviation Employees: 350 Destinations: 19


Aircrafts: 17

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Ports to the world

The specialised ports of Ostrobothnia are vital to the region

mikko lehtimäki

Many goods needed by industries in the Ostrobothnian region arrive to the ports of Kokkola, Jakobstad and Vaasa. “It’s important to be of service to the economic growth of this area. We are continuously developing our harbours in order to provide the best possible service to cater for our customers’ changing needs”, say the directors of the three ports in unison. The Port of Kokkola is the northernmost of the three ports and the biggest port in Ostrobothnia. At the moment the port has an operating area of 65 hectares, while a further 71 hectares of land is being developed for business use. “Our core business and long-term strategy is mainly based on bulk shipments. Another important area of our operations is to help the domestic, Russian and Swedish mining industries by offering effective harbour services in conjunction with transport services”, explains Torbjörn Witting, Director at Kokkola Port. The Port of Kokkola is continuously investing in the expansion of its port area while increasing its service capacity in the other ports. In addition, investments are being made in improving equipment such as harbour cranes and terminals. Up to two million metric tons of free capacity is available and the reaction time for new customers’ products is short.

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“It’s important to be of service to the economic growth of this area”, say the three port directors Torbjörn Witting, Teijo Seppelin and Kristian Hällis.

“The port is ready to offload shipments within only a few hours from a notice of arrival”, says Mr Witting. Some distance south, the Port of Jakobstad focuses on handling forestry products. “It’s not by chance that UPM, Europe’s biggest pulp mill, and Alholmens Kraft, the world’s biggest bio-fuelled power plant, are located just a stone’s throw from the port. Together with the port operator, Euroports Pietarsaari Oy, the port is one of the most efficient in the world at dealing with products from the wood-processing industry”, says Port Director Kristan Hällis. The future seems bright for the Port of Jakobstad. At present, the harbour basin and fairways are being dredged, a project which will be completed in 2015. This is the biggest individual investment ever made in the Port of Jakobstad. In addition a new warehouse area is being completed. “The industry in the area needs a safe and effective way to reach new markets around the world. Currently, investing in regular line traffic to Europe is a topical issue for us. The port also has a high environmental profile in terms of organising and handling waste from vessels.”

The southernmost of the three Ostrobothnian ports is the Port of Vaasa. Imports are central to this port and it is also the only passenger port in Ostrobothnia. “Our mission is to work as a link in developing the energy cluster operating in the area. The situation today is that the majority of the raw materials needed for industry arrive by road. This also goes for the export of high-tech components, which need to be transported to southern ports. Using local ports in the future can increase the efficiency of logistics, leading to improved competitiveness”, says Port Director Teijo Seppelin. To meet the customer needs, the Port of Vaasa has now invested in a Ro-Ro ramp, consolidation areas and heavy lift cranes. Plans are currently being made to build a new road to a logistics centre being built close to the airport. “Our aim is to become the number one entry port in this area. We want to keep the traditional coal, bio-fuel and oil-product imports we have now, as well as develop the conditions needed for exporting the products of the energy cluster. We also want to further develop passenger traffic as well.” c

flybeof finland port kokkola Tel. +358 600 9 44 77 Port Authority: 53 Satamakatu FI-67900 Kokkola, Finland Business sector:  Aviation, regional flying Turnover 2012/2013: GBP 167.2 M


Port director: Employees: Around 700 in Finland Torbjörn Witting Major markets: Europe Tel. +358 6 824 2400 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 quay length: 2,334 m Volume 2012: 7.4 million tonnes Open: All year

port of jakobstad Port Authority:  Laukkovägen 1 FI-68600 Jakobstad, Finland Port director: Kristian Hällis Tel. +358 44 356 5689


Main areas: Specialised in handling pulp, sawn timber, chips, paper and mixed goods Channel depth: 9 m Total quay length: 1,250 m Volume 2012: 1.5 million tonnes Open: All year

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 depth: 9 m Total quay length: 1,615 m Volume 2011: 1.2 million tonnes Open: All year

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From control to knowledge economy UpCode’s technology eliminates unnecessary work tasks and frees up resources katja lösönen

When the home-care staff at the City of Vaasa started using UpCode, it saved them 25 per cent of their working hours; hours that had previously been spent writing reports. Now they have more time for their clients, while saving taxpayers’ money. Today, the members of the homecare staff receive and report their tasks in real time using UpCode’s mobile platform. In most cases, they only have to scan the smart 2D-code with their mobile, occasionally fill in a simple web form or take a picture. The risk for human error has decreased and those responsible for the care – as well as relatives and other authorities – can monitor the work in real time. SRV, one of the leading construction companies in Finland, uses UpCode for onsite reporting, people flow management and document authentication. When an employee reports how the job is progressing, UpCode checks in real time that all the forms have actually been filled in and gives

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UpCode can be used in many ways. In this magazine you can get more information on every company simply by scanning the code. “Above all, UpCode’s technology enables users to transfer their lives to a realtime economy, where all transactions are digital”, Sture Udd points out.

new tasks. The SRV employees do not need to sit down by a computer to write a report, and there is no need for a supervisor to check that the job has been done. Hence, the company can reduce management costs. “Instead of an old-school control function we get an intelligent function that results in houses that are 5 per-cent cheaper”, says Sture Udd, Managing Director of UpCode. The use of UpCode applications by SRV and the City of Vaasa’s home care are two examples of how UpCode can be used to create a real-time economy, where business transactions and information processing can take place digitally. “The old IT-world is about controlling and reporting to others. It is not intelligent. We need to get away from control and create a real-time knowledge-based economy”, Sture Udd points out. Sture Udd’s vision of the future includes

smart cities, where neither tax money nor time are wasted on what he calls “stupid functions” that can be automated. “Today, a medical doctor can spend half of his working day putting information into a computer. By removing all the unnecessary tasks, we could make do with fewer doctors, and we would also need fewer offices. A real-time economy can save huge sums of money”, Sture Udd states. c

upcode  |  upc consulting Tel. +358 6 321 8000 Business sector: Communication Turnover: €24 million Employees: 105 Export: 50 % Major Markets:  Europe, the USA, Asia South America


Strategic partner in law

Finland’s biggest law firm, Roschier, focuses on matters that matter to its clients

Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone division is one of the largest and most spectacular business deals made in the Nordic countries in recent years. In the Nokia-Microsoft deal, Roschier acted as Nokia’s lead IP and technology counsel, and key advisor on all Finnish corporate and public company-related matters. This case is a prominent example of the breadth of Roschier’s specialist services. Roschier is Finland’s largest law firm with approximately 300 employees, including 190 lawyers firm-wide. Roughly 100 of the firm’s employees work in Sweden. Roschier is growing steadily and has captured market share during recent years. The law firm provides a full range of services to blue-chip Nordic and multinational clients across the region. Much of the work is focused on high-end corporate advisory services and M&A’s, including public M&A’s and private equity, as well as banking and finance. Roschier has a particularly strong reputation in the high-tech sector, with intellectual property and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) high on its list of priorities. The law firm is able to offer a full service concept all the way up to the board level in global corporations.

In recent years, Roschier has further strengthened its service offering in certain niches by broadening its intellectual property law practice with a focus on brand protection services. The law firm gained leading-edge competence by joining forces with Benjon Ltd. in October 2012, creating Roschier’s Brand Protection practice, which provides services relating to global trademarks, design and domain-name registrations. The Brand Protection practice also covers trademark clearance, portfolio management and monitoring services as well as IP enforcement, consultations, strategic planning and training. “It is all about how a company can protect and utilise the technology it has developed; even when faced with infringement”, says Stefan Wikman, a partner at Roschier and Head of the firm’s Vaasa office. Roschier has traditionally been strong in transactions, and is continuously involved in the most demanding assignments in the Nordic region. The firm is consistently ranked among the top firms in both Finland and Sweden, as shown by winning the prestigious Financial Times & Mergermarket M&A Award for Finland in 2013. The continuously-growing Stockholm office, with approximately 80

Roschier’s Vaasa office provides specialist legal knowledge, especially in the fields of energy technology, company law, M&A and contract law. Through the firm’s strong local presence, clients gain access to Roschier’s entire knowledge base as well as a vast international network. In the picture: Elina Peltokorpi, AnneMaria Marttila, Stefan Wikman, Ilkka Puikkonen, Miia Sirviö, Leena Lilius.

katja lösönen

lawyers, plays a significant role in serving clients from the Ostrobothnia region. Stefan Wikman sees some recent trends in business demanding a high standard of specialist competence from law firms. “One trend is that an increasing number of joint ventures are being set up between industrial companies and private equity firms. We have also noted an increase in civil law disputes, e.g. companies taking legal actions when they have been economically harmed by a cartel”, Stefan Wikman states. “In 2014, Roschier will have been operating in Vaasa for 20 years. Our strong local presence combined with the firm’s full service range continues to meet the needs of the companies in the region”, Wikman summarises. c

roschier Business sector: Legal services Turnover: €63.6 million (fiscal 06/2012–05/2013)


Employees:  Approx. 300, over 190 of which are lawyers Major markets:  The Nordic and Baltic countries

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Financial solutions Finnvera finances development and growth

katja lösönen

Finnvera is a specialized financing company owned by the State of Finland. It grants loans, provides 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 a company’s own resources or collateral are insufficient for acquiring funding on the commercial market, then Finnvera will step in to help. One of Finnvera’s main tasks is to offer financial assistance at the start-up phase.

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“Finnvera offers financing for business establishment, growth and internationalisation”, says John Erickson .

“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, such as export credit guarantees, for covering export and project risks, and has started financing export credits at the beginning of 2013. “The objective of the new export financing model is to ensure the competitiveness of Finnish exporters. The model is intended for the arrangement of financing for foreign customers who purchase Finnish capital goods”, says Erickson. Finnvera also provides venture capital products through its seed fund to strengthen the capital of early stage innovative companies. According to Erickson, Ostrobothnia has weathered the downturn relatively well.

“The region and its energy sector are very innovative and export-driven and have not taken as deep a plunge as many others. In many ways, this region is a forerunner in the world.” c

finnvera Tel. +358 204 6011 Regional offices: 15 Business sector:  020637 Domestic risk financing for small and medium-sized companies. Export credits, export credit guarantees, special guarantees. Outstanding commitments arising from export credit guarantees and special guarantees (Q3/2013): €10.9 billion Outstanding commitments arising from financing for export credits; outstanding and commitments (Q3/2013): €4.0 billion Outstanding domestic commitments (loans and guarantees) Q3/2013: €2.9 billion Employees: 400 (the Vaasa office 11) Customers in Q3/2013: 29,800 enterprises (the Vaasa office 1,800)

Expert on export Viexpo acts as a mentor, guide and facilitator

jan sandvik

Viexpo is the export advisor that can offer good counseling on the basics of export as well as hands-on and resolute guidance. “We focus on SMEs”, says Håkan Forss, CEO of Viexpo. “It is mostly about supporting and helping the entrepreneurs on an individual level. There are many small businesses in our region, and often one person fills many roles. Sometimes it is most important to be available and offer concrete advice on how to present material at an international exhibition: how to design the exhibition stand, and how to generate interest.” The so-called export groups are another highly appreciated service that Viexpo offers. The idea is that many smaller businesses join forces and Viexpo provides them with a joint export manager. “The goal is that the companies will manage to hold their own in the international market, after we have helped them cross the threshold”, Forss explains. To establish oneself on the global market there is one golden rule to follow: “It is essential to do one’s homework. A long-term, systematic and carefully managed buildup is what it takes”, Forss points out. “The export market is in a state of constant flux. A few years ago Asia was trending, but now we are seeing the pendulum swing towards our neighbouring countries. Besides Germany, Sweden and Norway are also very interesting export targets right now”, Forss says. Eastern Europe together with the new EU-countries constitute a new and interesting market, too. “One must remember that we also function as a gateway to Ostrobothnia, even though that is not our primary task. Our contact network is vast, and we guarantee that we can point outside actors to the right producer.” c

viexpo Headquarters in Jakobstad Tel. +358 6 781 6440 Kokkola office Tel. +358 50 385 4373


Vaasa office Tel. + 358 6 319 9250 Business sector: Assistance in international trade for small and medium-sized companies

“For a company to successfully establish itself in a foreign market, long-term methodical work is needed”, Håkan Forss points out.

Employees: 8

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Towards new opportunities

New transport routes and a new ferry keep the Kvarken Council busy

katja lösönen

Mathias Lindström of the Kvarken Council is living in exciting times. “As a result of global warming a ship has made its way through the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic Ocean without icebreaker assistance for the first time in recent history. This will bring about revolutionary changes in global logistics and open up brand new opportunities for Northern Europe.” A new northern East-West shipping lane shortens the transportation time between Europe and the Far East by one to two weeks. “It is essential to improve our capacity now, since the question is not if this will become a reality, but rather when”, Lindström establishes. “We are in a very good position and together with the city of Umeå we constitute a strong multimodal link with great potential.” Umeå on the Swedish side already boasts one of Northern Europe’s largest goods terminal. Locally, the city of Vaasa and the municipality of Korsholm are currently planning a common logistics centre. “We can strengthen the transport

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“The new ferry that is currently under development will feature many of the latest technological solutions. The aim is that the ferry will leave practically no environmental footprints whatso­ ever”, Mathias Lindström says.

network in Northern Europe by connecting Finland and Sweden. In the long run this also involves Norway and Russia, due to the international transport corridor that runs from Mo i Rana on Norway’s Atlantic coast all the way down to Saint Petersburg”, Lindström explains. A strong infrastructure across the Kvarken is particularly important for the surrounding regions. “At the moment, Umeå is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, with Vaasa as its closest neighbor. As both cities attract a lot of students, there are many synergy effects that could be harnessed even more efficiently.” Today the Vaasa-Umeå route is serviced by the ferry Wasa Express, but there are already concrete and far-reaching plans for how to handle the traffic in the future: “The amount of work and lobbying has been massive, and it has generated fantastic results. If it all goes well, a new specially adapted ferry will start to operate the route in 2020. It is a custom designed ferry, fully tailored to suit our needs and purposes. Thanks to our great regional

competence, we will be able to develop a state-of-the-art product that will serve the local business needs in full”, Lindström asserts. c

the kvarken council Tel. +358 6 319 5500 Business sector:  Cross-border cooperation forum 020621 for the Kvarken region. Operates as a registered association and is one of the official cross-border bodies of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Coordinates the Nordic Logistic Corridor project that is financed by INTERREG BotniaAtlantica, and the TEN-T Motorways of the Sea project that is named Kvarken Multimodal Link. Employees: 2 full-time and 4 part-time

The shortest way by ferry to Sweden Wasaline handles both freight traffic and fun-seeking cruise passengers

M/S Wasa Express is registered for 800 people but can hold 1,500 passengers. The shipping company focuses on both freight and cruise traffic.

When Wasa Express moored at the port of Vaasa in January 2013, the enthusiasm and nostalgia ran high throughout the region. “Since the ferry has operated here previously, using the same name, it felt like recapturing some of the glory days when the cruise traffic was at its peak and a million passengers per year traversed the Gulf of Bothnia ”, says Catarina Fant, Sales and Marketing Director at the new shipping company Wasaline. The ferry route between Vaasa in Finland and Umeå in Sweden dates back to 1948. It connects two neighbouring cities, unites two peoples and constitutes an important link for freight traffic. When the on-board tax-free sales came to a halt in 1999, the merry pleasure cruises that had been run by Silja Line came to a sudden end. “The ferry connection is first and foremost an integral part of the E12 road”, Fant points out. “We have built up our operations from scratch, with a new ferry and a new concept.” Wasaline took over when the predecessor RG-Line went bankrupt at the end of 2012. The cities of Vaasa and Umeå joined forces and founded NCL Ferry AB Oy. “Today we operate under the name Wasaline with the ferry M/S Wasa Express. The ferry link is indispensable for the region.”

Wasaline has developed a new concept focusing on the newly built on-board conference facilities with space for up to 200 people. “We need to attract new kinds of travelers. Being able to hold meetings and conferences on-board is an interesting alternative. The route runs straight through a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We also offer a range of theme cruises for those who are out for a good time. In addition to that, our schedule is perfect for anyone wishing to spend six hours shopping in Umeå”, Fant states. She has a solid professional background coming from Vacon and Wärtsilä before taking the helm at Wasaline. However, she is no landlubber. “You could say that I started on the floor”, Fant reminisces. “Back in the day I worked as a waitress and cruise hostess on the same route.” c

Wasaline strives to offer a reliable solution. “The main thing is to ensure that the service runs. Wasa Express is well suited to our ice conditions and we have been spared major winter time delays. One needs to remember that we run the northernmost year-round route in the world!”

“The Vaasa-Umeå route is part of the E12, and for the professional drivers the passage means four hours of rest”, Catarina Fant at Wasaline says.

wasaline Tel. +358 20 771 6810 Business sector:  Ferryline between Vaasa, Finland and Umeå, Sweden


Turnover: €13 million Employees: Between 100 and 120 depending on the season

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Building global connections VASEK is working towards good conditions for the export companies

“We develop logistics according to global needs, since the companies in our region are global. We do not only focus on today’s requirements, but work strategically with the aim of establishing a worldwide reach and to be globally available in the long run”, Anna Måtts, Logistics Expert at the Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK says. The cost of logistics is important for the competitiveness of an export dependent country like Finland. It should not be more expensive to operate here than in other countries. That is the starting point of VASEK’s work, that above all else caters to the needs of the largest energy cluster in the Nordic countries. A third of Finland’s energy-technology exports come from Vaasa. This includes a wide range of products, from large diesel engines and generators to smaller electronic components and machine parts.

katja lösönen

The Vaasa-Umeå sea route is one of the nodes in the Nordic Logistic Corridor connecting Russia to the Norwegian Atlantic coast. The ports in Norway will become even more important export ports when the traffic on the northern routes around Russia and North America increases.

Vaasa is home to one of Finland’s busiest airports, and the port has traditionally been an important traffic link to Sweden. VASEK, together with the other players in the Vaasa region, has worked hard to ensure that the road and rail networks are kept to a good standard. The most visible result is that the railroad to Vaasa has been electrified, and that the main roads to Helsinki and Turku gradually improve. In Vaasa a large logistics centre is under development as well as a separate flight logistics centre at the airport. Together with the city of Umeå in Sweden, VASEK currently focuses on developing the traffic across the Kvarken and the Nordic Logistic Corridor. Again, with energy cluster in mind, VASEK wants to strengthen the export aspect of the port by adding direct routes to Europe. “Strategically we need to monitor the Arctic situation, and what happens to the global traffic flow when the northern sea routes around Russia and North America become navigable”, Anna Måtts points out. “The Nordic Logistic Corridor becomes an important route thanks to the Atlantic ports in Norway. However, it is also possible that the rail traffic will change focus to ports in the north of Russia. In that case we need to be prepared”, Måtts says. c

vasek, vaasa region development company Tel. +358 6 3177600

“A third of Finland’s energy technology exports come from Vaasa”, Anna Måtts, Logistics Expert at VASEK says.

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Business sector: Promoting regional business, helping SMEs to grow, marketing the region, developing logistics. Employees: 20


Dynamism and drive INKA-status comes with prestige and national responsibility

katja lösönen

DESPITE HARD TIMES Ostrobothnia can still proudly present the country’s best employment rate. Kaj Suomela, director at the ELY Centre in Vaasa argues that the dynamism and drive in the region is the reason behind this. “We have a very versatile industry structure and we represent an innovative approach. The energy cluster is growing steadily and thanks to that we have received INKA-status.” The INKA-status means that the city of Vaasa has been given national responsibility for sustainable energy solutions. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy has established five different themes for five different innovative cities. Being granted this status means increased international competitiveness and prestige in addition to opening up new opportunities for increased co-operation. The ELY Centre serves the whole region and is always on the lookout for new innovative business ideas that can improve the

employment rate. According to Suomela, there is a great diversity of enterprises in Ostrobothnia: “We have the forest industry in Jakobstad, whilst further north Kokkola is characterized by the metal and chemical industries and the big port. In the southern parts of the region, the greenhouse business dominates the landscape and there is an abundance of subcontractors, family businesses and small-scale entrepreneurs spread out all across the region”, Suomela explains. The agricultural sector is also doing well and, according to Suomela, the sector is increasingly concentrating in western Finland. “We have many large food processing companies in the region. Fishery is also an important and traditional part of the business landscape.” Currently, the ELY Centre is focusing on increased internationalization. Specifically they are working on the Ostrobothnian subcontractors’ internationalization. To

“Some of our most important tasks are to promote startups, focus on the Youth Employment and ensure that Ostrobothnia will remain a region of opportunity”, director Kaj Suomela says.

guarantee a thriving region it is essential that both large and small businesses are faring well. “The big industries live in a constant state of symbiosis with the smaller subcontractors. It is of the utmost importance to be able to continuously provide competent and available subcontractors, since without them the big industries simply would not exist”, Suomela states. c

the ely centre Tel. +358 295 028 500 Business sector: Promoting 020638 entrepreneurship, the functioning of the labour market, preservation of a thriving countryside, competence and cultural activities and Tekes services (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation). Employees: 130

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Citec’s new head office is Vaasa Parks’ latest tailored project. The company moved into the new building as a tenant at the beginning of 2013.

Facility developer

Vaasa Parks tailors business premises with a unique model mikko lehtimäki

When a building developed by Vaasa Parks is completed, companies become its long-term tenants. The clients are mainly companies of the Vaasa energy cluster, and examples of tailored projects already completed include business premises for The Switch, the Powergate building and Citec’s new head office.

When a company in the Vaasa region is looking for new business premises, it’s well worth contacting Vaasa Parks. The company, founded at the turn of the millennium, tailors and builds business premises for companies and also arranges project funding. “For more than ten years, the trend has been that companies do not want to own the walls that surround them. They’d rather use their capital for their core business”, says Vaasa Parks’ CEO, Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma.

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“Public-private ownership allows us to implement projects such as The Switch factory”, says Ulla MäkiLohiluoma.

Vaasa Parks operates in Finnish conditions with a unique model, because the company has both private and public shareholders. In addition to the City of Vaasa, Vaasa Parks is owned equally by the venture capital firm Wedeco and the Merinova Technology Centre. Merinova, on the other hand, is to a large extent owned by companies in the region. “This kind of public-private partnership model is unusual elsewhere in Finland. If the company were entirely publicly or entirely privately owned, it would be more difficult to work in this way”, says MäkiLohiluoma. She considers that The Switch factory is an example of a project that would have been difficult to realise with some other kind of model. The company was a newly established start-up with very little to show for itself when Vaasa Parks built a factory for it in 2008. Vaasa Parks wants to be a new builder rather than a long-term real-estate investor. The buildings can therefore be sold if

a long-term real-estate investor is found, and if the investor is also suitable for the tenant. In this way, the capital is then released for the next project. The unique model has attracted attention for elsewhere, and visitors are often astonished by the public-private partnership model. “Properties are always designed to meet the needs of users and to optimise space efficiency. Contracts are subject to competitive tendering, and implementation can be altered even during the construction stage, if the tenant so wishes.” Over the last decade, Vaasa Parks developed properties totalling more than 60,000 square metres with an investment value of around €70 million. Most of them are located in Vaasa Airport Park, which has long been Finland’s fastest growing business park. The park employs over 4,000 people. c

vaasa parks Tel. +358 6 282 8228 Business sector: Development of business parks and facilities, 020626 property and facility management, marketing and rental of business premises. Turnover: €3–4 million Employees: 5

Taking energy further Merinova’s projects take the energy expertise of the region worldwide

Technology centre Merinova is a development centre promoting the development of the energy cluster in the Vaasa region. It does this by taking the know-how to wherever there is a need for it in the world. katja lösönen

Technology centre Merinova is a development centre promoting the development of the energy cluster in the Vaasa region. It does this by taking the knowhow of the region to wherever there is a need for it in the world. Merinova is jointly owned by stakeholders from trade and industry, municipalities and universities. In addition, Merinova operates the national INKA programme for the energy sector, which is owned by the city of Vaasa. Merinova’s projects and activities can be divided into three areas: process development, development of company activities, and products and internationalisation processes. “We offer services when and where we see a demand for them. We are usually at the centre of things when new projects are launched. In a project involving several parties and large companies, Merinova is the party to ensure smooth cooperation”, says Mika Konu, Managing Director. Merinova works in a field where change happens quickly. Konu tells about a trip to Tunisia, which was part of an internationalisation project involving energy experts from the Vaasa region. The trip resulted in a successful business deal within the energy sector. “In our region we possess a huge amount of expertise, and Merinova creates

opportunities to spread it to new markets. We actively contact new suitable companies when we have a project going on, and sometimes companies approach us when they want help with implementing an idea. Sometimes it’s about a concrete assignment such as a process development; sometimes it can be something more unspecified.” Since the technology centre was established in 1989, Merinova has launched several successful concepts. The technol-

“One of our duties is to market the energy cluster internationally and create an attractive region. We want to show the world that our region offers establishment opportunities”, says Mika Konu.

ogy centre, for example, is the actor behind the trademark EnergyVaasa, which, among other things, arranges the annual EnergyWeek, together with collaboration partners. In addition, the technology centre has played an active part in launching the idea of appointing an energy ambassador, who travels around the world promoting the energy cluster in Vaasa. “One of our duties is to create an attractive region. We want to show the world that our area offers establishment opportunities.” The energy cluster of the region is in the growth stage, and Merinova sees the opportunities to help this development. “It is our job, for example, to ensure that the electricity grid of the future will be aware of the large investments needed, both on a local and global level. To this we actively contribute.” c

merinova Tel. +358 6 282 8200 Business sector:  Development services Turnover 2012: €2.5 million


Employees: 15

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A concrete example of the success of the international efforts is that the Kvarken Archipelago was approved as a Unesco World Natural Heritage Site in 2006.

Centuries of globalisation Internationalism is in the blood for the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia Ostrobothnians have gone out into the world since time immemorial. There is no other region in Finland from which such vast amounts of people left for America in the late 19th and early 20th century. Going abroad is natural for people in a region by the sea – the highway of the past. The long traditions of contacts abroad are still seen today in the form of a flourishing export industry.

“It is still natural for Ostrobothnians to go abroad to study and work. This results in an influx of new ideas and knowledge”, says Olav Jern, Executive Director of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia. For example, prosperous primary sector industries like fur farming and greenhouse cultivation were imported from abroad. The longstanding engine manufacturing industry in Vaasa was also started by a returning emigrant.

katja lösönen

“Ostrobothnia has always been an outward looking region, thus the international efforts permeate every aspect of the Council”, Olav Jern states.

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Ostrobothnia exports 70% of its industrial output, an exceptionally high figure in Finland. Ostrobothnian exports are also more global than most Finnish exports, the majority of which targets the EU countries. “The export is extremely important as it brings in money and prosperity. Hence Ostrobothnia is one of the most prosperous regions in Finland”, Jern points out. Just like the rest of the region, the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia looks beyond the borders, more than the other regional councils. “Internationalism permeates everything we do, it is not a separate concern for us”, Jern notes.

The Regional Council of Ostrobothnia has focused a lot on cooperation in the Kvarken region and the Baltic. The Council is also a member of the European umbrella organisations CPMR and AEBR. In addition, the Council maintains a permanent presence in Brussels in the form of the West Finland European Office. “Our problem is that Ostrobothnia is sparsely populated compared to many other European regions. Therefore it is crucial that we can showcase our strengths.” A concrete example of the success of the international work is that the Council, as a joint effort with regional partners, managed to get the Kvarken archipelago inscribed on the Unesco World Natural Heritage List in 2006. c

regional council of ostrobothnia Tel. + 358 6 320 6500 Business sector: Regional development and spatial planning. 022989 Distribution of regional funding for business development. International matters and contacts. Turnover: €4 million Employees: 32

Better together

KPEDU focuses on collaboration with working life and students mats sandström

Education tailored to the needs of working life is what the Central Ostrobothnian vocational college – or KPEDU – is all about. It is also an educational entity with two vocational institutes, the Central Ostrobothnian Vocational Institute and the Central Otrobothnian Adult Education Institute, owned jointly by 14 municipalities in the area. In the eight units they run, the student body ranges from young students to those who have just completed their comprehensive education, as well as adults who are in working life and want to add on and to develop their professional skills and competences. The number of students is approximately 4,000 annually. “Our focus is on cooperation with working life. Those studying for basic vocational qualifications get a specific occupation and those who educate themselves further on gain specific skills in their own field”, says Sirkku Purontaus Principal at KPEDU. The most popular fields of study at KPEDU are social and health studies as well as technical studies and business. Apprenticeship is an essential element in the education process. This means that the students work at a company or at some other organization for a certain time period so that they can learn the work tasks in practice. For adults the apprenticeship means studying and working at the same time and gaining special qualifications in this way. “We educate competent employees and offer possibilities for those people to develop their skills further. Working life needs the people we train which is the reason our education programs are so popular”, says Apprenticeship Manager Pentti Paananen. At KPEDU the importance of continuously learning new is emphasized. “Our work is based on a flexible model which allows us to tailor our education and apprenticeships based on the encountered needs. As a result of this, the number of students who drop out of their studies is very small. Most find employment immediately after completing their studies”, says Paananen. For many years, international exchange has been offered as a possibility for both the students and the teachers. The aim is to maintain a high level of education and keep up with the development of the world and different societies. “Our students come to study with us so that they can get an occupation and the needed competences. Society is developing all the time and we educate people who make development possible. We want to

“Our focus is on cooperation with enterprises and working life. It’s a win-win situation. All parties gain from the cooperation”, say Pentti Pasanen and Sirkku Purontaus.

be an inspiration to our students on their way to becoming successful professionals and entrepreneurs in their field”, says Purontaus. c

Apprenticeship is an important element of the education at KPEDU. Students work at a company and learn to do their work in practice.

kpedu Tel. +358 6 825 0000 Business sector: Vocational education, adult education and development projects


Turnover: €46 million Number of students: 4,000 Number of Employees: 600

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Lifelong learning

Chydenius takes education and research outside the main campuses

Under one roof, three universities conduct academic research and educate students who already have solid work experience. That, in a nut shell, is what Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius is all about. “All our research activities are carried out in close cooperation with our scientific networks, local companies and organizations. On the other hand, all our students are people who are already in working life and want to extend their competence with a university degree. They usually complete their theses for their own companies or workplaces, and through this cooperation we play an active part in the development of the region”, says Tanja Risikko, director. Chydenius undertakes advanced academic research focusing on the region’s strengths, which are then put into practice. Thanks to close cooperation with trade and industry, the consortium is always up-to-date with the trends in different fields and can adjust its research accordingly. “The cooperation offers both challenges and opportunities. The companies keep us informed about their needs, which we in turn endeavour to fulfil, while continuously looking ahead. The close partnership is beneficial for both parties.”

At Chydenius the students earn degrees primarily in education, information technology, social sciences and chemistry in cooperation with three universities. In the near future the university consortium aims to launch a Master’s programme in business economics. mats sandström

Chydenius operates in the city of Kokkola as an umbrella organization for the activities of three universities: University of Jyväskylä, University of Oulu and University of Vaasa. “We bring the opportunity of earning an academic degree closer to the people living outside big university cities, enhancing the idea of lifelong learning. At Chydenius the students earn Master’s degrees primarily in education, information technology, social sciences and chemistry. In the near future the university consortium aims to launch a Master’s programme in business economics. “We are forerunners in adult education. We can also offer our students access to research teams and cooperation with trade and industry.”

kokkola university consortium chydenius Business sector:  Higher education Turnover: €7.5 million


Employees: 100 Students:  4,000, of which 300 are degree students

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“We are forerunners in academic adult education. We offer our students access to research teams and cooperation with trade and industry”, says Tanja Risikko.

In recent times the demand for higher education has increased remarkably in working life. In this respect, Chydenius acts as a close link to the scientific world. “We want to be an innovative, creative research environment also for those needing to supplement their professional competence by

completing their PhD studies. In the future we also aim to increase the number of visiting scholars and international professors in order to further enrich our knowledge and networks.”  c

Centria University of Applied Sciences has become known for its work on development, welfare and wellbeing as well as competitiveness.

Security and safety Centria University of Applied Sciences cooperates with working life mats sandström

Centria is a university of applied sciences with an operating area stretching from Jakobstad in the south and Oulu in the north. The university has become known for its work on development, welfare and wellbeing. “Contacts with working life are very important to us at Centria. We strive after continuously developing and lifting up current topics and technologies. This makes us an attractive place to study”, says Centria’s President Pekka Hulkko. The students gain concrete contacts with working life through practical training and their final thesis work. The aim is that the students do their training and their applied final thesis in the fields that they are studying, for example in the business world or in health care. Lately Centria has chosen to focus on security and safety in working life. These topics may cover for example processing hazardous substances in industry, handling money in commerce or drugs and medication in health care. “As we are an educational entity with strong connections to working life it is important that we participate in developing the security and safety in business life in the area. A well-functioning safety culture improves the quality of business

The future looks promising for the students both in Finland and abroad. Centria has had international connections since the mid-90s and has many cooperation partners around the world. This means that Centria students have the possibility to participate in international exchange programmes and that the number of foreign students coming to study at Centria is increasing. “It is extremely important to be able to offer exchange opportunities for the students. Everyone is given the opportunity to participate in an international exchange programme and our goal is that still more students will grab this opportunity.” c operations and affects both the result and the competitive edge positively.” Skills in working safely make the students attractive on the job market. “It is a strategic choice to focus on security and safety as this area is becoming increasingly important in working life and the reason for us to focus on it in our education programmes. We give the students the basic skills in security and safety and then their skills develop further in the work that they do after graduation.”

“We strive after continuously developing and lifting up current topics and technologies. This makes us an attractive place to study”, says Pekka Hulkko.

central ostrobothnia university of applied sciences Tel. +358 6 825 0000 Business sector: higher education, research and development Degree programmes:  15 of which 5 in English


Turnover 2012: €28 million Employees: 250 Students: 2,900

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katja lösönen

“The VAO invests significantly in the skills of its teachers. Only expert staff can deliver quality teaching that in turn produces skilled labour”, says Åsa Stenbacka.

Work needs to be done Vaasa Vocational Institute educates skilled workers for the region

“No company can succeed without expert personnel”, begins the Principal of Vaasa Vocational Institute (VAO), Åsa Stenbacka. She speaks with pride about those who have studied and trained at her institute. They graduate after three years to become workers who are the most important links in the chain: their hands build the products of the energy cluster and provide many of the region’s services. Social services and health, catering, business administration and technology are fields of study that the VAO offers and whose products everyone needs in daily life. The VAO is Ostrobothnia’s largest vocational institute. Its main mission is to educate and train skilled workers for the needs of the region, and that’s why the biggest field of study is technology. The region’s energy industry employs thousands, of whom around half have received vocational education. “Subcontractors need skilled people who can make internationally high-quality products. Our goal, through the education we provide, is to ensure that the energy cluster can grow and develop further”, explains Stenbacka. The VAO has around 2,000 students, who study in Finnish, Swedish and English. The institute is well resourced. Considerable in-

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The VAO’s project activity is also brisk. The goal of all projects is to develop their own work. Projects focus, among other things, on promoting internationalisation, improving the flexibility of study paths, and the employment of young people. Project material or the institute’s marketing communications are by no means empty words. The VAO has succeeded both in student competitions and in national surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education. “The ministry awards effectiveness grants to the best vocational institutes, based on, for example, student satisfaction, young people’s employment and further studies. We have received a large sum for three years in a row”, says Stenbacka, deservedly proud of her institute’s achievement. c The VAO has a long tradition of work in the field of internationalisation. Studies allow the choice of an international path, and many students spend vocational practice periods abroad.

vestment has been made in the educational environment, and facilities and equipment in metal and electrical studies, for example, are among the best in Finland. Planning for additional investment is under way. “We are development-oriented and like to stay one step ahead. We continually direct our activities according to the needs of business and industry, and we can quickly react to stakeholders’ wishes.”

vaasa vocational institute Tel. +358 6 326 7411 Business sector:  Vocational education Students: 2,000 Employees: 250


Professional trainer

VAKK provides adults with practical training for employment needs mikko lehtimäki

VAKK (Vaasa Adult Education Centre) is like a personnel trainer for business life. It provides expertise and training to companies that want to improve their skills levels. Through VAKK, employees can acquire basic, further and specialist vocational qualifications, authorisation cards and proficiencies. Consulting and short courses are also offered – often tailored to companies’ specific needs. Principal Pirjo Kauhanen has high objectives and standards for her education centre. “Our goal is to be in tune with the times and to meet the specific challenges of the region. VAKK’s high level of professionalism and flexibility have received a lot of praise. We are also quick and reliable, and we are a significant presence in the training sector”, she says with pride. The Vaasa region’s energy cluster needs experts, particularly in the field of technology. VAKK, which has invested in technology development projects, is well aware of this. The centre’s educational facilities and equipment have also been modernised.

“We maintain a constant dialogue with businesses about their training needs. We focus on the major fields, namely electrical, metal, building and information technologies. We are also constantly tuned into how the renewable energy industry is developing”, explains Director of the Technology Sector, Olavi Mäntylä. Tähtipiste is a 15-employee Vaasa company providing industrial maintenance. For the company, VAKK has developed training in the sector as well as a vocational qualification covering the whole field of maintenance. Tähtipiste’s Project Manager Lassi Pukkinen is satisfied with the results. “Cooperation has been excellent. We have managed to develop our own expertise, and at the same time the training supports the company’s growth strategy very well.” Alongside its training, Tähtipiste has developed its own CMMS software MaintBox in cooperation with Devatus from Vaasa. The program is a tool for managing maintenance work and spare parts, and for identifying problem points in production.

“VAKK invests in business partnerships. The cooperation between Tähtipiste and VAKK has worked brilliantly”, say Tähtipiste’s Lassi Pukkinen and VAKK’s Marko Haikonen.

MaintBox will be released in May 2014. VAKK has taken the opportunity to act as a pilot customer, and Tähtipiste has been able to use the education centre’s facilities and laboratories to develop the software. “We are in a win-win situation. The training we have developed meets a skills shortage in the maintenance sector, and the software improves our operational efficiency. We are both learning from the relationship, which is a prerequisite of all development”, says Marko Haikonen, VAKK’s Metal Sector Training Manager. c

vaasa adult education centre Tel. +358 40 727 8898 Business sector: Vocational training for adults Students: 4,800 / year, 1,500 / day


Employees: 150

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Novia constantly endeavours to meet the demands of the job market. The goal is to be a multilingual study environment.

Serving trade and industry Managerial skills and multilingualism in focus at Novia

katja lösönen

With a history in Vaasa dating from 1849 and a strong foothold in the vibrant entrepreneurship culture characteristic for the region, Novia University of Applied Sciences is a dynamic and innovative nursery in which young students thrive and develop into professionals. “We live in an ongoing symbiotic relationship with the trade and industry of the region”, says Novia’s President, Örjan Andersson. “The companies in the region are here because this is where the competence is, and our educational institution is flourishing thanks to the close cooperation with working life.” Novia constantly endeavours to meet the demands of the job market. “Within the engineering education our focus has traditionally been on the technical competence, but today it’s becoming increasingly important to supplement the technical side with business competence. As our engineers are even more employed in positions requiring both technical and business skills, we also give courses in for example project and sales management, which are customized to suit the needs of working life. A growing number of our graduates attain managerial positions, and hence Novia also offers a Master’s programme in

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institution cooperates with the University of Vaasa and Åbo Akademi University. “Our goal is to create a multilingual study environment, and here in Vaasa we have the unique conditions for a campus where three languages are used: Swedish, Finnish and English. The multilingualism reflects first and foremost the working life in the region”, says Andersson. “Our campus is also growing. The next step will be to bring in education in healthcare and social services. This will facilitate collaboration between different sectors and provide a platform for innovation”, Örjan Andersson points out. c

“We have a vast network of contacts both to trade and industry as well as to the world around us. The cooperation is of symbiotic nature, which is, naturally, of advantage for both students and working life”, Örjan Andersson points out.

technology-based management. “The programme is a part-time, workintegrated study programme for postgraduate engineers, which has proved to be a successful solution benefitting both individuals and employers”, says Andersson. Novia is already partly located in the same facilities as VAMK University of Applied Sciences in Vaasa. In addition, the

novia university of applied siences Tel. +358 6 328 5000 Business sector:  Education, research and development services Students: 4,000 Employees: 400 Certificates: ISO 9001, ISO 14001


Building bridges

Hanken links businesses, research and future employees mikko lehtimäki

Hanken School of Economics has three important focal areas in its operations, which are research, internationalisation and ties to the corporate world. Most of Hanken’s graduates find employment in the business world and Hanken has a long track record of collaboration with businesses within both research projects and executive education and leadership development. The latest form of business collaboration is the Hanken Partnership programme, which was launched in Helsinki in 2011 and in Vaasa in 2013. The purpose of the partnership programme is to strengthen and develop the cooperation between the business world and Hanken. “It is all about linking the expertise and needs of the companies with the knowledge and passion of our students and researchers”, says Nina Olin, Director of External Relations and Communications at Hanken. In addition to offering access to Hanken’s research, the partnership programme enables a dialogue between the corporate world and the students. Partner companies also get a first-mover advantage in recruiting Hanken students, who

tend to be attractive on the job market. “Our students have international experience, since a study period abroad, either as international exchange studies or as internships, is an integrated part of the bachelor’s studies. Moreover, Hanken students are ambitious and have strong social skills”, says Olin. Hanken also has a solid track-record when it comes to delivering executive education for both companies and individuals. “We offer a broad range of courses and workshops, varying in length”, says André Österholm, Director of the executive education unit at Hanken in Vaasa. “We also offer tailored in-company programmes based on the needs of the customer. In our Vaasa unit, the focus lies on business process management and on professional development.” At its campus in Helsinki, Hanken also offers a two-year Executive MBA programme. The alumni activities constitute a vital and appreciated part of Hanken’s collaboration with the business world. “Our alumni are very engaged and are more than happy to share their experiences with our students through, for example, career seminars or mentoring programmes. It is

“Together with internationalisation, Hanken’s focus lies on forming ties to the corporate world, as well as conducting high standard research”, say Minna Kullas, Nina Olin and André Österholm.

of the utmost importance for our students to gain practical insights into the life that awaits them once they graduate”, says Minna Kullas, Business and Industry Coordinator at the Hanken campus in Vaasa. From the companies’ point of view, it is just as crucial to gain an understanding of how today’s students are reasoning and the kinds of goals they are striving towards. “The so-called Generation Y has their own values and views on careers and working life. Hence, it is very valuable for companies to know how to attract, retain and motivate the new generation of employees”, states Olin. c

hanken school of economics Tel. +358 6 353 3700 Tel. +358 9 431 331 Business sector:  Education and research


Students: 2,228 (Vaasa 478) Doctoral students: 157 (Vaasa 28) Employees: 236 (Vaasa 46) Accreditations: EQUIS, Associations of MBAs Certification systems: FINHEEC, PRME

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Around half of the graduates of the University of Vaasa have participated in exchange programmes and 18% of master-level students are international, while around 400 foreign students per year study in the education programmes of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences.

Towards global bus

University of Vaasa and Vaasa University of Applied Sciences educate for an international mind   The University of Vaasa and Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK) are partners. Each has its own mission, but a common outlook on the world. Both offer international business know-how in their education and research activities. The University of Vaasa’s business studies discipline is one of the largest in its sector in Finland and it has been nationally awarded many times for providing high quality business education. VAMK has a strong local influence and is an energy industry and export trade specialist. It offers customised research and development services for companies; the students implement real assignments from working life in the context of their studies, and the teachers supervise the implementation.

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We want to develop students’ international capabilities.

The business-oriented University of Vaasa has long experience of business education and research. Today, the field of business studies is at the centre of growth and internationalisation. Study places are being increased and research funding is continuing to grow. The University offers 20 degree programmes, which attract thousands of applications from potential Finnish and international students. Dean of the Faculty of Business Studies Vesa Suutari is pleased how things are going. He stresses the importance of internationalisation in the whole learning environment. “We want to develop students’ international capabilities. In the business world of the future, students must have a global mindset. Student exchanges abroad, the

international mix of students in Vaasa, language studies and visiting professors bring multiculturalism to the study environment.” Business is also one of the most important priorities for VAMK. It undertakes a great deal of applied research in which local companies are involved. The business community of the region is also closely involved in education. For example, complete study courses in which future engineers are taught sales and project skills have been developed in cooperation with local export companies. “The School of Business cooperates closely with the School of Technology. Course programmes focus on large-scale

katja lösönen

“We focus on the international business know-how of our students. Dialogue with the business world is important, because the experts of the future for the region’s export industry companies will graduate from our schools”, say Vesa Suutari and Elina Martin.

iness know-how


contexts, and issues are not only viewed from a Finnish perspective”, says Director of the School of Business, Elina Martin. Martin also emphasises the significance of internationalising studies. “All our education programmes include study courses or modules taught in English. Student exchanges and practical training periods abroad are also very popular.” Both higher education establishments have developed their activities on a longterm basis. The two master’s programmes of the University of Vaasa’s Faculty of Business Studies have also passed the EPAS international quality audit, which shows that the education provided is of a high international level. An international quality audit will also be carried out at VAMK in 2014.

“The accreditation is a guarantee of educational quality. The international audits also provide reqular international feedback for us on how to improve our education further”, say Suutari and Martin. Vaasa’s multidisciplinary and international higher education units are networked worldwide. In addition to the

the university of vaasa Tel. +358 29 449 8000 Business sector:  Innovative research and education Students: 5,000 Employees: 500


All our education programmes include study courses or modules taught in English.

students, the teaching staff are also internationally mobile. Due to good international links, studies in cooperation with foreign institutes of higher education are also offered. Suutari and Martin believe that graduates of the University of Vaasa and VAMK will not lose their way in the business world of the future. c

vaasa university of applied sciences Tel. +358 207 663 300 Business sector:  Education and applied research Students: 3,400


Employees: 270

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Coastline magazine is published by the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce. The project is also supported by a number of other organisations.

Pekka Haapanen, Managing Director


The Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK is owned by the municipalities in the Vaasa region. Whether you need help with starting a business in the region, are looking for a business partner or need advice on how to expand your existing business, VASEK provides the information and tools you need. For foreign companies, VASEK functions as the gateway to the region, connecting them with local networks. Tel. +358 6 317 7600

Jarl Sundqvist, Director


With over one thousand members Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce includes all leading companies in the region. Its members employ about 70% of the workforce in the region. The mission of the Chamber of Commerce is to promote industry and commerce as well as to create networks.

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Juha Häkkinen, CEO Tel. +358 6 318 6400

Jonne Sandberg, Managing Director


KOSEK (Kokkolanseudun Kehitys Ltd) is a versatile provider of free-of-charge business and development services as well as business advice services intended for all entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes in the Kokkola region. Tel. +358 6 824 3400

Maria Nybäck, CEO


Network building, business development and facilitating. These are just a few of the free-of-charge services the development company Concordia provides for companies in the Jakobstad region. Together with our five owner-municipalities Concordia strives for flexible regional infrastructure, extensive connections and dynamic local services that are success factors also for the companies located or doing business in the Jakobstad region. Tel. +358 10 239 7550

Jukka Ylikarjula, Executive Director, Regional Mayor

Olav Jern, Executive Director


REGIONAL COUNCIL OF OSTROBOTHNIA Tel. +358 40 160 5700 Tel. +358 6 320 6500

The Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia is a joint municipal authority formed by thirteen member municipalities. The main responsibility areas are regional development and regulation of area usage. Promoting regional interests e.g. in welfare and culture is another important dimension. The Regional Council is also responsible for a wide range of international issues.

The Regional Council of Ostrobothnia is a joint municipal authority formed by fifteen municipalities. It has mainly two functions: regional development and spatial planning, which both form the basis for supporting regional interests. The Regional Council is also responsible for a wide range of EU affairs, international issues and contacts.

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Newborn land Although a landscape is usually thought of as something stable and unchanging, the Ostrobothnian archipelago undergoes constant transformation. Every year several square meters of land slowly rises all along the coastline. As such, views change radically within one generation; bays dry up, new islets are formed and ports must be moved. This phenomenon is known as land uplift, which is the result of the glacier pressure on the land during the last Ice Age. The rate of land uplift is actually one of the fastest in the world. So unique is the phenomenon from a global perspective that the region has been included in UNESCO’s list of world natural heritage properties.

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