Case Binderholtz

Austrian company’s acquisition of Vapo’s sawmills is among the biggest investments in the North Karelia region during this millennium.

Finnish acquisition brings growth and opens new international markets

Binderholz Group is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of solid wood products. In January 2016, it acquired the entire share capital of the Finnish sawmill company Vapo Timber Oy, taking over its two sawmills located in Lieksa and Nurmes in Eastern Finland. The sawmills employ 147 people and have a combined annual production capacity of approximately 450,000 cubic metres of sawn spruce and pine. The Finnish sawmills now operate under the name Binderholz Nordic and act as the group’s Nordic headquarters.

The acquisition boosts the turnover of the Binderholz Group by around EUR 100 million to a total of EUR 500 million in 2016. According to Binderholz, it will expand the cutting capacity of the sawmills from the current level of 1.75 million to 2.55 million cubic metres per year, which will create 40-80 new jobs over the next few years.

“The acquisition is of great importance for Binderholz. It opens up new dimensions in terms of the quality of our machined products and enables us to enter new markets and reach new milestones,” says company owner Hans Binder.


High-quality timber for new growth markets

Binderholz will use its Finnish operations to target new opportunities in Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. The Finnish facilities will also provide timber to Binderholz’s sites in Central Europe where it will be processed into solid edge-glued wood products. “We see the extraordinarily high quality of the sawn timber produced in these two sawmills as an excellent starting material for all further value-added stages, which we plan to establish over the next few years,” says Binder.

In addition to high-quality timber, other major factors behind the acquisition included the fact that both sawmills had a good technical basis and sufficient room for expansion. Binderholz is planning further investments in their production and processing capabilities, with a long-term goal of building a high-level competence centre for wood production in Finland.


Valuable support from Invest in Finland


Binderholz has been Invest in Finland’s customer since the 1990s and has spent considerable time in identifying the right opportunity to enter the Nordic countries. Invest in Finland visited Binderholz in Austria in 2013 and also networked the company with government ministries, construction companies and other actors in Finland in 2014.


“When Lieksa and Nurmes emerged as Binderholz’s investment targets in early 2015, we mapped out all the available incentives and explained the processes concerning land use and environmental permits. We also arranged an intensive series of meetings with all the relevant local actors,” explains Helvi Väisänen, Senior Director, Business Development, Finpro.


According to Binderholz, Invest in Finland’s valuable work saved the company six months of research effort when preparing to make the investment.
“It helps a lot to have a partner on your side who knows the market and has access to the authorities and necessary key stakeholders,” says Hans Binder.

Binderholz’s investment is among the biggest in the North Karelia region since the turn of the millennium. It is also a success story for the Invest in Eastern Finland project which is a unique joint initiative by the Northern and Southern Savo and North Karelia regions, led and actively supported by Finpro’s Invest in Finland.


For more information, please contact:

Helvi Väisänen, Project Manager & Senior Advisor, Business Development, Finpro, Invest in Finland


Johanna Hiltunen, Coordinator, Finpro, Invest in Finland johanna.hiltunen(at)


This news has been updated.