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Binderholz spruces up production with Finnish expansion

Austrian Binderholz Group has grown into one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of solid wood products. Now the company has expanded its production capabilities in Finland. Binderholz

A major Finnish acquisition boosts the global plans of wood processing specialist Binderholz.

During its 60 years of operation Binderholz Group has grown into one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of solid wood products. Now the Austrian family company has further expanded its production capabilities with a new Nordic facility. In January, Binderholz finalised the acquisition of Finnish sawmill operator Vapo Timber which has two sites in Eastern Finland.

“[This acquisition] is of great importance for Binderholz,” says company owner Hans Binder. “It opens up new dimensions in terms of the quality of our machined products [and] enables us to enter new markets and reach new milestones.”

The Finnish sawmills, located in Lieksa and Nurmes, will operate under the name ‘Binderholz Nordic’ and act as the group’s Nordic headquarters. They will serve Binderholz customers worldwide, with a particular focus on the joinery and construction industries in Germany, Benelux, Scandinavia and the UK.

The Finnish facilities will also provide timber to Binderholz’s sites in Central Europe where it will be processed into solid edge-glued wood products.

As part of the acquisition Binderholz took over all 147 employees at the Finnish sawmills and plans to quickly grow operations by recruiting 40 to 80 additional staff in the next few years. Currently Binderholz employs 1350 people across its five Austrian, two German and two new Finnish sites.

Sustainable production

Binderholz Group has built a strong reputation as a developer of versatile products and high-technology production methods. The company manufactures a variety of wood products, from lumber and profiled timber to single-layer and multi-layer solid wood panels and glued laminated timber.

Binderholz plans to grow its Finnish operations by recruiting new employees and investing to increase production and processing capabilities. Pictured (left to right) Ludwig Foidl, Hans Binder, Matteo Binder, Suvi Kupiainen (CFO Vapo), Anne Liukkonen (Business Controller Vapo), Juhani Ylä-Sahra (Managing Director Vapo Timber), Tomi Yli-Kyyny (CEO Vapo) Image: Binderholz

These products rely heavily on their raw materials and the high quality and availability of spruce and pine particularly attracted Binderholz to Finland. Binder also highlights Finland’s legal stability and the significant status of the forest industry in the country as important to the investment decision.

In addition Finland has a long tradition of sustainable and future-oriented forest management which aligns with Binderholz’s key values. The company operates with a no-waste principle and all of its waste timber (a production by-product) is processed into biofuels and green electricity.

This same approach will be applied in Finland. Binderholz has already started technical improvements at the two sawmills which will include the expansion of their combined cutting capacity from 1.75 million to 2.55 million cubic meters per year.

The turnover of the Binderholz Group will increase by approximately 100 million euros as a result of the acquisition and will now total up to 500 million euros in 2016.

Continuous investment

Binderholz spent a long time identifying the right opportunity to enter the Nordics prior to the Vapo Timber acquisition and an important part of the process has been its collaboration with government agency Invest in Finland (IIF).

“It helps a lot to have a partner on your side who knows the market and has access to authorities and necessary key stakeholders,” Binder stresses.

But the acquisition is only the first step for Binderholz in Finland. The company plans further investments in production and processing capabilities and has a long term goal of building a high-level competence centre of solid wood production in the country.

“We see the extraordinarily high quality of the sawn timber produced in these two sawmills as an excellent starting material for all further value-added stages, which we plan to establish over the next few years,” Binder summarises.

Binderholz is also looking to use its Finnish operations to target new opportunities in Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. The Lieksa and Nurmes sawmills have a lot to sink their teeth into.

The Finnish sawmills, located in Lieksa and Nurmes, will operate under the name ‘Binderholz Nordic’ and act as the group’s Nordic headquarters. Pictured Lieksa’s sawmill. Image: Binderholz

Text: Eeva Haaramo

Editor’s note: This article is published in cooperation with Helsinki Business Hub and Invest in Finland.

Published on 18.03.2016