Finnish builders’ merchants Rautakesko Ltd and Puukeskus Oy have agreed to co-operate on wholesale warehousing and purchasing with the sawmill and board industries.

The agreement, effective from 2003, will see Puukeskus, part of UPM-Kymmene, provide purchasing and warehousing services for Rautakesko, plus the development of a joint electronic order and invoicing system.

Rautakesko, a subsidiary of the Kesko Corporation responsible for hardware and builders’ supplies operations in Finland, Sweden and the Baltic countries, is expected to benefit from more competitive prices, a wider range of merchandise and faster deliveries for its K-rauta and Rautia chains, and industrial and constructor sales.

Puukeskus says the co-operation will improve its operational efficiency by increasing the stock turnover rate and purchasing volumes.

Rautakesko will continue to develop its chain concepts in the timber trade and will be responsible for timber selection development, chain marketing, logistics guidance and industrial and constructor sales.

The agreement only covers Finland and is subject to approval by the competition authorities.