KWH, one of Finland’s largest family-owned corporate groups, has never been in better shape. All companies in the group are doing well despite the economic downturn, and the degree of solvency is as high as 83 per cent. With full coffers, the group can handle harder blows and most importantly, it makes acquisitions possible.
“We have been looking to invest in new companies that would fit in the group for a couple of years now. One of our most important criteria is that the company needs to make high value added products, otherwise we do not stand a chance in competition with China,” says Group President Peter Höglund.
KWH’s subsidiary KWH Mirka is one of the few Finnish manufacturing companies that have succeeded in exporting Finnish made goods to China.
“It is possible by choosing a clear niche and investing heavily in development of both processes and products. In a high cost country it does not make sense to manufacture bulk products,” Höglund explains.
KWH operates in many different fields and one of the secrets behind the group’s success is constantly having the finger on the pulse of the society and successfully adapting to a changing environment. Sawmill products and plastic films are a thing of the past – today the group focuses on abrasives, logistics and siphons.
The last major restructuring of the group took place in 2013 when the plastic pipe manufacturer KWH Pipe merged with its competitor Uponor’s infrastructure business. The new joint venture is called Uponor Infra Ltd and is owned by KWH to 44.7 per cent.
“Without the restructuring the plastic pipe manufacturing would have been in bad shape. It is mostly the public sector that buys plastic pipes, and that sector as a whole has been in a state of crisis for a long time,” says Höglund, explaining the reason behind the restructuring.
Peter Höglund grew up with the family business and has been with the group most of his working life. “Financially KWH has never been this strong. It gives us a degree of freedom and allows us to take risks. The main thing is to never stand still and settle for what you have.”
KWH GROUP LTD
Turnover 2014: (Group) €364 million
Employees 2014: (Group) 1,631
KWH Mirka Ltd
Oy Backman-Trummer Ab
Oy Blomberg Stevedoring Ab
Oy Adolf Lahti Yxpila Ab
Oy M. Rauanheimo Ab
Oy Otto Rodén Ab
A. Jalander Oy
KWH Freeze Ltd
Oy Prevex Ab
Uponor Infra Ltd (44.7%)