GLIMPSES OF JUNNIKKALA PAST
WOOD PROCESSING DURING PREVIOUS GENERATIONS
In the autumn of 1953, Aarne Akseli Junnikkala was drilling wooden water pipes when the straps of his loose overalls were caught by the drill. The accident at work took Aarne to the hospital for several days, where he later died of his injuries.
THE BEGINNING OF THE JUNNIKKALA SAWMILL
Aarne’s eldest son, Ismo, decided to set up a sawmill. Operations began in Kalajoki in Finland in the autumn of 1960 at Sahantie.
BROTHERS INVOLVED IN THE COMPANY
The Junnikkala sawmill grew steadily and competed with another sawmill in Kalajoki – A. Santaholma Osakeyhtiö. Later, at the turn of the 1970s, Ismo’s youngest brothers Ilpo and Heikki joined the family business.
FROM FOREST FIRE TO RAPID GROWTH
The company’s growth was boosted by a large forest fire in Kalajoki. The Junnikkala brothers decided to buy charred logs from the forest fire for sawing. The brothers saw a good opportunity and gained good revenue from forest fire subsidies. The income was then used for investments, which contributed to further growth.
FOREIGN TRADE TO ENGLAND STARTS
In 1972 the Junnikkala brothers began trading in foreign markets. Junnikkala’s timber was shipped from Finland from the port of Kalajoki to England. Around the same time, the sawmill also started processing timber – and the local trade was successful.
JUNNIKKALA SAWMILL WENT THROUGH TWO FIRES
A fire broke out in Junnikkala in the 1970s when the sawmill’s exterior caught fire. Ismo broke his leg badly whilst fighting the fire himself and had to use the cast for the rest of the year.
The second fire broke out in the spring of 1980. At that time, the fire had a significant effect on the province as well. However, the decision to build a new sawmill was made quickly, and a new sawmill manufactured by Ahlström – the Otso700 frame line – was in operation already by autumn. With the new facility, the production of the Junnikkala sawmill tripled.
THE NEEDS OF THE HOUSING INDUSTRY DRIVE INVESTMENT
In 1987, the Junnikkala brothers invested in building a larger planing factory to meet the needs of the housing industry. At the same time, Junnikkala’s export trade developed and its share could be raised to as much as 50 percent of the sawmill’s turnover.
The growth of the private family business continued and new local sales offices began operations in Lapaluoto, Ylivieska and Raahe.
THE RECESSION HITS KALAJOKI
The growth achieved earlier came to a halt when the recession of the 1990s hit Finland. Previous investments in the housing industry momentarily lost their relevance as orders ran out and the area’s housing industry disappeared overnight. Like many other companies, Junnikkala struggled on the brink of bankruptcy. The survival was helped by the fact that the company had not taken out foreign currency loans and the business was allowed to continue despite the recession.
Even under recession, financiers had belief in the Junnikkala sawmill and the company made investments to enable production growth. Finland eventually emerged from the recession, exports recovered and the Junnikkala brothers again invested in the housing industry.
CHANGES AT JUNNIKKALA SAWMILL
In 1992, Ismo Junnikkala retired and Heikki was appointed CEO of the family business.
The production of sawn timber was increased to 100,000 cubic meters with the renovation of the sawmill line and dryer and the construction of a bioheat center in 1998.
HEATING FOR KALAJOKI AND INVESTMENT IN THE HOUSE INDUSTRY
In the early 2000s Junnikkala bioheat plant started supplying heat to the city of Kalajoki. Junnikkala’s bioenergy secured 80% of the heat production for the inhabitated area of Kalajoki .
THE GENERATION CHANGES
In 2002 Ismo and Ilpo started a generational change in Junnikkala. Heikki remained the CEO, but Ismo’s children Juha and Johanna and Ilpo’s sons Kalle and Veli-Matti became the owners. In 2003, Juha was appointed CEO of Junnikkala, and the Kalajoki family company continued to grow with the help of a new generation.
In 2004, Junnikkala’s cousins made a decision to invest in the housing industry, and the company invested in a further processing plant and a high-power planing mill. The modern surface treatment line for exterior cladding met the customer needs of the building industry.
In 2008, ownership arrangements were made at the Kalajoki sawmill and Ruukki Group Plc became the owner of the company. In connection with the change of ownership, Heikki Junnikkala sold his holding. The change made it possible to buy Pyy sawmill and planing factory in Oulainen. Janne Pyy also became a co-owner through a share exchange. With the changes in ownership, a large investment program of EUR 14.5 million was also launched.
JAPAN AND KOREA IN SIGHT
There was a desire to boost exports to Japan and Korea, and the decision to build new sawmills was made on the basis of these needs.
JUNNIKKALA RETURNS TO ITS ROOTS IN GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
The consequences of the global financial crisis of 2008 hit Finland while the Junnikkala investment program was underway. Ruukki wanted to move away from mechanical wood processing and Junnikkala Oy bought its shares in 2011 continuing its operations as a family company again.
KALLE JUNNIKKALA BECOMES PRESIDENT AND CEO
In 2012, Ilpo’s son Kalle was appointed CEO. Juha, who previously served as CEO, joined Junnikkala Oy’s Board of Directors, which also includes Juha’s sister Johanna and Kalle’s brother Veli-Matti Junnikkala.
JUNNIKKALA’S GROWTH CONTINUES
In 2014, Junnikkala increased its heat production capacity in Oulainen. The company’s production was doubled in 2016 by investing in sorting dry goods and a drying room.
Juha and Johanna Junnikkala divested their holdings in 2019. Kalle and Veli-Matti Junnikkala and Janne Pyy remain to lead the company towards new challenges.