The forestry industry is one of the few sectors of the Swedish industrial scene that is showing promising growth. The market for Swedish sawn timber products is stable. Swedish production is high, especially of redwood, timber consumption is good and prices are rising, although in small steps. Furthermore, the pace of deliveries at the sawmills is high and stocks are low.

In respect to Swedish sawmills there has been a number of developments in recent months – part of a rationalisation process in this field. The sawmill group VIDA AB has acquired Anderssons Sågverk AB and in doing so has become Sweden’s largest privately owned sawmill group with a turnover of SKr1.75bn. The total sales volume produced will amount to 850,000m3 per year, of which 90 per cent will be processed.

VIDA AB has concentrated on producing timber for house factories, the construction industry and DIY chains, with 90 per cent of production exported to the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark. Anderssons Sågverk specialises in producing timber for rafters and supplies timber for 20% of the rafter market in the UK.

Group CEO Santhe Dahl says: “Since our customers are getting larger and larger we have to grow with them to meet their increasing demand for timber. One way to expand is by acquisition and when the opportunity arose to acquire Anderssons Sågverk, which is a modern company and fits in well with the VIDA Group’s mix of sawmills, we were naturally very interested. Anderssons Sågverk is the largest privately owned sawmill group in the west of Sweden and has a great deal of expertise in all areas.”

In another deal the forestry group Södra is acquiring all the shares of AB Geijerträ. This concern consists of the sawmill group Geijer Timber AB, with four sawmills and planing operations, and the interior wood group Gapro AB, with five plants. The acquisition is subject to approval in accordance with the Swedish Competition Act.

Geijerträ has 550 employees and reported net sales of SKr1.1bn for 2001. Södra’s subsidiary, Södra Timber, is the largest sawn timber operator in southern Sweden with approximately 600 employees and sales of more than SKr1.5bn in 2001.

“Geijerträ is one of the best-managed companies in the sector,” says Anders Wahrolén, president and CEO of Södra. “Geijer Timber has, for many years, developed an extensive further processing operation and Gapro is the market leader for strips and panelling. The merger will create an effective unit which will be able to meet the challenges in these sectors.”

Sveaskog has also been reviewing its sawmill operations. It has decided to keep the sawmills it acquired through the purchase of AssiDomän since it considers these to be a strategic long-term asset for the company. Furthermore, Sveaskog has acquired an additional sawmill from Korsnäs as part of a SKr2.06bn deal whereby it is purchasing 235,000ha of land, of which 200,000ha is productive forest land. The acquisition is expected to be completed at the end of August.

The Kosnäs Timber sawmill has an annual capacity of around 160,000m3 of sawn pine timber and 90 employees. Like Sveaskog’s sawmill operations, most of Korsnäs Timber’s products are sold to the carpentry and furniture industry. Sveaskog’s total sawmill capacity following the acquisition will amount to approximately 1.5 million m3.

“The acquisition means that Sveaskog has improved its position as the leading producer of pine timber products in Sweden and will remain a strong player in continued restructuring measures”, says Bo Dockered, Sveaskog’s chairman. “This will speed up the changes that are needed in our industry.”

A project involving an innovative use of timber is under way in Växjö in the south of Sweden. It comprises three buildings – two office buildings and a service building. The buildings incorporate visible, red painted, glulam columns and beams, plus precast concrete flooring with an in situ concrete top layer. The design allows for the timber and the concrete to act in unison, with the glulam beams being provided with steel stirrups which are then cast into the concrete floor slab.

A feature of the buildings is that the two upper floors cantilever out 10m at either end. Timber is being used for infill walling in the form of panels which are prefabricated on site and lifted into position. The facades are being clad in untreated larch panels.

The client is Vidéum, a company owned by the municipality of Växjö, the architect is Arkitektbolaget i Kronoberg AB, the consulting engineersTyréns Byggkonsult AB and the main contractor Peab Sverige AB. The glulam structure was manufactured and erected by Martinsons Trä AB.

A second project, which Vidéum is having built for the university, is thought to be the largest timber building in Sweden. It has a total floor area of approximately 11,000m2 and is three storeys high, plus a basement level of concrete cast in situ. The university needed a new building for its courses in timber, forestry and timber research and thought it appropriate that timber should be used as much as possible in its construction.

Everything above ground level is based on a timber construction system, with a glulam structure (Långshytte Limträ AB), timber flooring units (Södra Building Systems), timber façade panels (Fellesson Byggnadsvaror AB), timber windows (H-Fönstret AB) and timber internal panels (Gustafs Inredningar i Dalarna AB). “It is a very special and spectacular building, as well as being a very attractive one,” said Mats Kollind of Vidéum. The building will be opened by the King of Sweden on September 16. n