Most companies in Finland do not live to see their fifth birthday, but KWH Groups turns 90 years on August 28, 2019. Behind the success lies the ability to adapt the business to changes in the environment, a combination of ending such activities that no longer work and to invest in new niches with potential.
Over its 90-year-long history KWH has functioned in many branches. During that time the KWH Group has bought, sold, developed and phased out around 150 smaller companies. The most important industries in history have been timber trade, fur farming, manufacture of plastic pipes, carpets and foils, clothing industry and printing business. Today, the KWH Group consists of three business groups; Mirka, which produces abrasive products, KWH Logistics that offers logistics services and freezer storage, and Invest which includes Prevex that specializes in water locks and strategic investments, including 45% ownership in Uponor Infra. In addition to Ostrobothnia, there are operations in many of Finland’s port cities as well as abroad with manufacturing in Italy and Poland.
KWH’s strength lies in its group structure, where the task of the group management is to look to the interest of the entire group and not only a single company. The structure enables a long-term strategy, with more investments in development than most other companies dare to make.
– Our strategy has always been to develop the companies we own for the long-term. The development has been financed with revenues from other businesses that at the time have been profitable. In other words, we plan for the distant future – our quarter is 25 years long, say Henrik and Peter Höglund who in different roles have been leading the group since 1970s.
The day is celebrated in the sign of work throughout the Group, both in Finland and abroad. To celebrate the day, an anniversary book has been published which will be distributed among other things to all the employees. The book is called The constant change and it describes the major structural changes that the Group has undergone with emphasis in the last 30 years. The anniversary is also recognized by inviting the entire staff to coffee and cake.