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Moelven recruiting a new Tender Manager

Moelven's project division, Building Systems, is boosting its efforts towards tendering activities, and has recruited Hans Andersson (54) as a new Tender Manager.

Hans Andersson will mainly work within the housing segment in Byggmodul AB.

“The housing market in Sweden is very positive at the moment. Nonetheless, we aim to achieve profitable tender activities before we target growth in the housing segment,” explains Division Manager Marcus Johansson in Building Systems.

From Skanska

Hans Andersson is 54 years old and comes from a position with Skanska Sverige AB, where he has gained years of experience of management related to tenders and business development.

“We are delighted that Hans has decided to join Moelven. Alongside working on specific tenders, one of his most important assignments will be building up advanced expertise related to tenders in Byggmodul AB,” explains Marcus Johansson.

He goes on to confirm that tendering activities in the entire division will benefit from Hans Andersson's extensive expertise within tenders.

Market leader

“This is particularly true for the building module operations in Norway, but also our glulam and building furnishing operations in both Norway and Sweden. We have a goal to improve our capacity for tenders in all project-related activities. Our projects shall be profitable at every stage, and we aim to be the market leader,” confirms Marcus Johansson.

Marcus Andersson will be working from a home office in Stockholm, but also has office space in Hjellum in Hamar, Norway. His first day of employment with Moelven is 20 March 2018.

Bø school named School of the Year

The award for School Building of the Year 2017 was won by Hå municipality. The award was announced at Danish NOHRCON’s conference, “Building the schools of the future”.

The school façade has around 4,500 square metres of cladding made from Canadian cedar from Moelven Wood Prosjekt AS. The new primary school, Bø in Hå municipality in Jæren, won the award in competition with four other schools.

“The jury's assessment was based on the combination of materials, good outdoor areas and the flexibility of space to allow for different forms of organisation. Several other schools provided stiff competition, and the final award was determined by a public vote,” explains Product Manager Winfried Schaal in Moelven Wood Prosjekt AS.

Durable cladding

Sales Manager Fred Karlsen in Moelven Wood Prosjekt AS, who has been responsible for monitoring the project for Moelven, explains that the customer was looking for façade cladding that was durable and did not require a lot of maintenance.

“They assessed a number of alternatives but decided on a superior façade solution in cedar,” he confirms.

Fred Karlsen worked on the project for more than two and a half years.

Growth in demand for cedar

He explains that Norwegians, Swedes and Danes are starting to show an interest in cedar, and that this type of wood was relatively unusual in Scandinavian buildings only a few years ago.

“Cedar was used as a construction material for both homes and boats by the indigenous people in the north-west of North America, from Oregon to Alaska. So, this is an old type of wood, known for its use without any form of treatment. It has a long life and is resistant to fungus and rot. It is very rewarding to see a Norwegian school with cedar cladding win a Danish award,” confirms Fred Karlsen.

Pine and spruce

Traditionally, façades in Norway, Sweden and Denmark have been clad with spruce panelling or pine cladding. However, over the past three to five years, we have received an increasing number of requests for other types of wood for façades.

“Scandinavians have obviously become more aware of building traditions farther south in Europe. You only have to go south to Denmark to see that cedar is far more common there than in Norway,” says Fred Karlsen.

The team behind the project

The project was supplied by Partner Tre AS. Sola Bygg is the contractor and Hå municipality the building owner. Lars Haakanes from the firm of architects, Ola Roald AS, drew the first lines for the new school building. He has monitored the project until completion for the first day of school in 2016 and explains that quality for the pupils has been priority number one.

“It can be a bit overwhelming for young children to have their first day in a new, large school. By using wood cladding both indoors and outdoors, the aesthetic qualities of the wood make the building feel smaller. The wooden cladding also helps the building to breathe and improves the indoor climate,” explains Lars Haakanes.

550 pupils

The new Bø primary school in Hå municipality in Jæren was completed and opened its doors to pupils in the autumn of 2016. The school has capacity for 550 pupils, of which around 20 attend the ATO section (section for adapted education). The school also has an adjacent multi-purpose hall. The school has been designed in a cruciform shape, with the “heart” of the school at the meeting point of the different wings. Outdoors, the main material on the façades is cedar.

NOHRCON is a private-owned and independent organisation that arranges courses and conferences. They organise more than 100 events per year in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Germany. The company has specialised in two segments that are practically interconnected: public procurement and the building and property market.

Moelven Wood is taking over the running of Moelven Tom Heurlin AB

The planing mill, Moelven Tom Heurlin in Ånimskog is now to be merged with Moelven Wood Sweden and will become a production unit under Moelven Notnäs Wood AB.

Moelven Tom Heurlin AB started out many years ago as a sawmill but has operated purely as a planing mill in recent years. In 2013, they invested in a new planing line and have targeted products for export within the Moelven Timber division.

Severe challenges with profitability

“Despite major efforts and a number of measures implemented, the company has struggled for several years with severe problems related to profitability. This is primarily attributed to various challenges and uncertainty on the external markets. In the autumn of 2016, the decision was made that the company could no longer be a going concern without comprehensive changes,” explains Division Manager Anders Lindh in Moelven Timber.

In December, it was decided that the company had a good fit with the organisational model for operations in Moelven Wood Sweden, and that production at the planing mill could be amended and adapted to suit a predominantly Scandinavian market.

Integration of companies

Integration between the companies will as such have an impact on Moelven Wood's company, Moelven Värmlands Trä AB in Säffle.

“This will result in the winding-up of planing operations at Moelven Värmlands Trä AB in Säffle. The business combination allows us to concentrate fully on continuing to develop and carry out investments in the surface treatment operations at the company, which are already very successful,” explains Managing Director Mikael Axelsson in Moelven Wood AB.

Manpower cuts

Unfortunately, the business combination will require a reduction in the number of employees in both Ånimskog and Säffle.

“For the time being, this affects 16 positions in Ånimskog and nine in Säffle. We have started negotiations with the labour unions and will do our utmost to try to find new jobs for most of those affected,” confirms Mikael Axelsson.

High expertise

The Managing Director goes on to say that with the take-over of the company in Ånimskog, Moelven Wood in Sweden is gaining significant expertise in addition to a practically new yet well-tested production facility.

“This will allow us to continue developing what is already a very successful investment in interior panelling,” he confirms.

Competitive solution

According to Mikael Axelsson, the two planing production lines in Ånimskog and Torsby, after integration and specialisation of product ranges, will in total represent a very competitive solution with major potential for development.

“At the same time, we are considering a major investment in new technology and extended capacity for surface treatment of new and modern panels for the Scandinavian market at Moelven Värmlands Trä,” he continues.

Focus on Scandinavia, not on export

The company in Ånimskog shall be adapted to fit Moelven Wood’s market strategy. This implies that a large share of the volumes sold outside of Scandinavia will disappear.

“The plan is for the employees to work one shift. Management and planning of operations will be based in Moelven Notnäs Wood in Torsby, while certain services will also be coordinated with Moelven Värmlands Trä in Säffle.”

"An amazing experience!”

It is safe to say that Stein Morten Velta was more than surprised to receive a formal invitation from the Norwegian government to a state dinner in the National Opera to celebrate the 80th birthdays of both King Harald and Queen Sonja.

Stein Morten works in production at Moelven Østerdalsbruket AS in Koppang and was surprised by how much he enjoyed the event.

“I felt like a very small fish in a huge pond, it was all a bit surreal. But it didn't take long before I saw someone else from Koppang. He works for the post office and is in charge of developing new stamps, so had been invited because of his job,” explains Stein Morten.

Stein Morten was seated at a table of ten together with Gerhard Heiberg and his wife, only a few tables away from the guests of honour.

“Gerhard Heiberg knows King Harald from hunting trips and sports and had lots of stories to tell. Before the event, I was worried that the mood would be a bit stiff, but it all went so quickly, and I had a great time. The food was delicious. We had crayfish from Skreia as a starter,” says Stein Morten.

Stein Morten Velta was invited as a people's representative, selected as an employee representative at a cornerstone company in Hedmark county.

Moving warehouse from Malmö to Hässleholm

Moelven's expansion continues by integrating storage and distribution for building material merchants and industry with a larger product range from Hässleholm.

Moelven has seen a substantial increase in the sales of board materials to Swedish industry and building material merchants in recent years. In November 2016, Moelven acquired DLH’s Swedish business in Hässleholm.

“The number of customers is on the increase, and volumes and product range are following the same trend for expansion,” says Managing Director Mikael Axelsson in Moelven Wood AB.

Even stronger supplier
The company is witnessing growth in relation to both building material merchants and industrial customers.

“With the acquisition of DLH, we obtained a 23,000 m2 facility providing excellent opportunities in Hässleholm. This allowed us to merge our storage and distribution activities for southern Sweden in one location, making us an even stronger supplier. As a result, we are closing our warehouse in the centre of Malmö, which unfortunately means that the warehouse employees in Malmö are superfluous,” explains Mikael Axelsson.

Sales office remaining in Malmö

At the same time, he underlines that Moelven Wood's sales office will remain in Malmö, even when the company has moved its storage and sawmill operations out of the city.

“We are doing so well that we have quite simply grown out of the warehouse buildings. We have been looking for larger warehouse facilities in the Malmö area for several years now. The acquisition of DLH in Hässleholm provided the perfect solution for storage and format sawing,” confirms Sales Director Jerry Oldén in Moelven Wood Industri in Malmö.

This growth is obviously very welcome and means that the company now needs to increase its manpower in the department that sells products to industry.

More efficient orders and delivery

South Sweden is an important market for Moelven Wood, and proximity to the customers is of decisive importance.

“The capacity to offer building material merchants in South Sweden an efficient distribution system and more complete range of wood-based building and furnishing materials from one location is an important step forward for us. The capacity for co-loading is positive, and we can provide customers with a much more efficient order and delivery process. On 1 April, we will take a further step forward and expand our product range in Hässleholm to include interior panelling and a larger range of boards,” concludes Mikael Axelsson.

About Moelven Wood AB
Moelven Wood in Sweden manufactures and sells wood-based building and furnishing materials and has a leading position within the sale and distribution of products for building material merchants and industry. Revenue in Sweden is approximately SEK 1,200 million. Wood-based board materials represent a significant percentage of revenue.

Moelven Norsälven AB to be liquidated

The Board of Directors of Moelven Norsälven AB decided today to liquidate the sawmill. The reason for this decision is that the mill requires major investments, and any investments made will not generate the necessary profitability.

The company's Chairman of the Board, Division Manager Anders Lindh at Moelven Timber, explains that even with substantial investments, it would not be possible to create a modern and profitable company.

Sad day

“It is always distressing to liquidate a company, and this is a sad day for the company's employees. The technical status of Moelven Norsälven is unfortunately very low, and maintenance is constantly required to keep the business running. It is only a matter of time before the business can no longer be kept going safely,” confirms Anders Lindh.

He goes on to explain that Moelven is currently not able to allocate such major investments when profitability is not certain.

A total assessment

“In recent years, Moelven has had limited investment funds, and any funds available are allocated to those companies and projects with the best conditions for generating profitability. The liquidation of Moelven Norsälven is the result of a total assessment. We have reached a structural decision to create improved profitability on the whole for the Moelven Group,” explains Anders Lindh.

The employees have been informed of the closure in a personnel meeting.

“We will spend the next few days carrying out negotiations with the respective labour unions regarding dismissals,” says Chairman of the Board Anders Lindh.

A plan to wind up the company's operations will be prepared. It is thought that the winding-up process will mainly take place during the first quarter of 2018.

Moelven donating NOK 500,000 to the Norwegian branch of Save the Children

The Scandinavian wood corporation, Moelven, is extending its cooperation agreement with Norwegian Save the Children (Redd Barna) and once again donating NOK 500,000 to help children and adolescents in some of the world's poorest countries go to school and gain an education.

This year, once again, the 3,500 employees of the Moelven Group will not be receiving a Christmas gift in the post from their employer. In place of a gift, they receive a Christmas letter from CEO Morten Kristiansen. He has taken the initiative, as in recent years, to donate a large sum of money – around NOK 140 per employee – to Save the Children.

“It is important for us to be able to help children and adolescents go to school and gain an education. Over the past two years, we have had a great cooperation with Save the Children, and we aim to continue this agreement,” confirms CEO Morten Kristiansen in Moelven.

A positive response

Morten Kristiansen says that the initiative received a positive response from the employees when it was first introduced in 2015.

“Moelven has had a tradition of giving all employees a gift for Christmas each year, but we have come to the conclusion that very few of our employees in Norway, Sweden and Denmark actually need anything. By donating a large sum to Save the Children, we can all help do something good for others, something that really matters,” he explains.

The cooperation agreement with Save the Children will continue in 2018.

No coincidence

The fact that Save the Children receives these donations is by no means a coincidence. Moelven's strategy for sponsorships states that priority shall be given to projects to help children and adolescents.

“Most of Moelven's subsidiaries are located in Scandinavia, countries with extremely good living conditions for children and young people. It feels more natural for us to help those who are less fortunate in where they live,” says Morten Kristiansen.

Education for children

Tove R. Wang is the General Secretary of Save the Children in Norway and confirms that one of the organisation's most important missions is to make sure that children receive a quality education.

“If we are to achieve our goals, we rely on good and stable support. We are therefore delighted that Moelven plans to continue cooperating with Save the Children,” she confirms.

Active in 120 countries

Save the Children fights to protect the rights of children and to ensure their survival, education and safety. They are active in 120 countries and are the world’s leading independent organisation for children.

New timber quay in Granvin

Today, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food informed the management of Moelven Granvin Bruk AS that the company will receive funding to build a timber quay.

The application was submitted in cooperation with Granvin municipality, Ulvik municipality, Voss municipality, Vestskog SA and Nortømmer AS. Managing Director Ørjan Mikal Kalsaas at Moelven Granvin Bruk AS says that the approval of the application is cause for celebration for Moelven Granvin Bruk and for the forestry industry in West Norway.

“The application was for an 80-metre timber quay with  a cost of approximately NOK 26 million. We have received substantial support both from the municipality and the county during the process and are now extremely happy to learn that we will most probably have a new quay,” he says.

Support from many sides

The county governor in Hordaland is among those to support the application and is positive to the construction of a new shipping quay in Granvin. In his opinion, quays play an important role for forestry in the area.

“The forestry industry in West Norway has a lot of activity, and the new quay will be an important part of the infrastructure for forestry in Voss, the largest forestry municipality in Hordaland and the surrounding region. The quay will boost the region's economy in that the volume of timber not processed at Granvin mill can be efficiently transported from the area. Good infrastructure is extremely important for forestry,” confirms the county governor in Hordaland in a statement.

The company has already carried out surveys of ground conditions to chart the seabed. Everything is now ready for construction start on the new timber quay in Granvin.

Moelven aims to attract young and talented engineers

Moelven Industrier ASA has now initiated a Scandinavian trainee programme for recently qualified and talented engineers with a Bachelors’ degree or technical college certificate.

Competency consultant Emma Østerbø in the Scandinavian Moelven Group, which currently has revenue of close to NOK 11 billion, aims to attract young graduate engineers by inviting them to take part in the development of sustainable solutions for industrial wooden buildings in local companies with a strong Scandinavian identity but on a global market.

“My hope is that young and talented graduates are coming home this Christmas to visit their parents and will see the advertisement and send in an application. We can provide HUGE opportunities for those who are interested. The application deadline is 1 March,” confirms Emma Østerbø.

Read more about the trainee programme here

Talented engineers

Emma Østerbø explains that the group aims initially to recruit recently qualified and talented engineers, either with a Bachelors’ degree or technical college certificate, to the trainee programme.

“Over a period of 18 months, the trainees will experience two different workplaces that are suited to their education. Simultaneously, the trainees will be taking part in a competency programme, which will provide them with an overall insight into the value chain, from forest to exciting projects such as the world's tallest wooden building,” explains Emma Østerbø.

Some of the trainees will be assigned to the timber mechanical segment of the Group, i.e. a sawmill or planing mill. The others will be assigned to the building engineering segment of the Group – working either with modules, glulam or furnishings for Moelven.

Value creation

Emma Østerbø explains how the young engineers will mainly focus on the value creation processes in the organisation.

“This means that they will be allowed to work directly with the processes that create Moelven’s products and services. Once they complete the trainee period, they will have gained 18 months of operational experience. Even though several may end up in administrative jobs, or in time as managers, I believe it is important for them to gain experience from those parts of the organisation where value creation actually happens. This programme is not designed to send young graduates directly into management meetings. And that makes our trainee programme competitive,” confirms Emma Østerbø.

Scandinavian programme

According to Emma Østerbø, the Group aims to recruit four trainees for Moelven's operations in Sweden and four in Norway.

“Moelven's trainee programme is also supplementary for those already associated with Moelven via the Higher Ambitions programme in Sweden and the Trainee Innlandet programme in Norway. The difference is that these programmes are for graduates with a Masters’ degree,” explains Emma Østerbø.

Investing in development of competencies

She goes on to explain that Moelven aims to invest significant resources in developing people and competencies on a parallel with developments in society.

“The building industry is experiencing growth. Wood as a construction material is now very much in fashion. Recent developments are very exciting. Our employees are our most important resource when it comes to boosting our competitiveness on a market with ever-increasing demands. We aim to take care of and develop our employees. Without the right manpower, we will not be able in the long term to supply quality goods and services to our customers. Attracting young engineers with a Bachelors’ degree or technical college certificate is an important task for Moelven,” confirms Emma Østerbø.

Aiming for leading position in industrial building

Central organisations in Innlandet have now signed an agreement aiming to develop the region into an international powerhouse for industrial building with wood as the main material.

The new cluster has chosen the name Norwegian Wood Cluster and comprises organisations in the value chain for forestry, industry and building.

Binding agreement

The management group leader is Kristin Vitsø Bjørnstad, Director of Communications and HR at Moelven. She explains that the parties have signed a binding agreement.

“We shall work towards closer cooperation to develop an internationally leading cluster for industrial and sustainable wooden buildings. Innlandet region shall be the world leader in industrial building projects using wood,” she confirms.

The organisations in the cluster are Hunton Fiber AS, Forestia AS, Boligpartner AS, Moelven Industrier ASA, Gausdal Bruvoll SA, Mjøsen Skog SA, Glommen Skog SA, Statskog SF and NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) in Gjøvik. The Directors of the different companies will all be members of the management group.

Good premises

Kristin Vitsø Bjørnstad explains that Innlandet as a region has the best premises for achieving a leading position both at home and abroad.

“We have the raw materials, the industry and market proximity required. We also have the University of Science and Technology in Gjøvik, which has an ambition to be the leading educational institute within industrial wooden buildings. These all provide solid foundations for our goals,” she confirms.

Central target areas

The parties to the cluster have established several central target areas for their cooperation.

“One is an increased level of industrialisation throughout the value chain. Another is to increase innovative capacity and the third is increased expertise. We will also focus on developing the reputation of an industry that is thought of as traditional – but which is actually experiencing a significant development. We are heading at full speed towards ‘Industry 4.0’, and the entire industry has to keep in line with this development to remain competitive. We believe we will reach our goals more rapidly if we cooperate,” confirms Kristin Vitsø Bjørnstad.

School + commerce = true

On 1 January 2016, the University College in Gjøvik became part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology or NTNU. Professor Tom Johnstad from the Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management at the University in Gjøvik explains that the clusters that have achieved most success have a close cooperation with the educational and R&D environments.

“At NTNU, we believe that the establishment of this cluster is a major and important step towards further developing the industry's contribution towards the ‘green shift’. On a global scale, the building industry represents 40 percent of our footprint, and urban wooden buildings will therefore play an important role in achieving our climate goals,” explains Tom Johnstad.

He believes that the wood industry cluster will take a leading part in this process, with ambitions to lead the way internationally within industrialised and sustainable wooden buildings.

“NTNU primarily aims to focus on the industrial and building-related aspects of the forestry and wood industry. Other professional environments, such as the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) specialise in forestry. However, knowledge of wood as a material may help form closer links between these two groups,” says Tom Johnstad.

Apprentices and vocational colleges important for the cluster

“The parties in this cluster also rely on being able to recruit talented workers and operators. We also need to offer postgraduate education to the people we currently employ so that we can follow technological developments. This is true for all the companies in the cluster, so this will be one of our target areas,” explains Kristin Vitsø Bjørnstad.

Plans to recruit a cluster leader

The cooperation agreement is binding economically for the parties, and a cluster leader will be recruited to take care of daily management of the cluster.

“Central tasks for the cluster leader will include developing actual cooperation in the cluster, ensuring cooperation on innovation between the companies and R&D groups and working on development of expertise at all levels in cooperation with the companies and educational institutes,” explains management group leader Kristin Vitsø Bjørnstad.

Door open to new cluster participants

Kristin Vitsø Bjørnstad explains that the cluster participants are now focusing on initiating specific cooperation projects. In time, we will also open the door to other companies who want to join us.

“This is not meant to be an exclusive cluster for the largest companies. Innlandet has a number of small and medium-sized companies in the forestry-industry-building value chain that will benefit from having closer cooperation with others. The only requirements on cluster members are dedication and contribution. This will ensure that each member benefits from closer cooperation,” she concludes.