We wondered, whether there was anything to be done in order to maintain and develop domestic electricity technology know-how and decided to become entrepreneurs ourselves.

The three giants — ASEA, Brown Boveri and Strömberg — merged in 1986. The competitive situation of the Nordic energy technology market changed significantly and customers were concerned that prices would rise. We wondered, whether there was anything to be done in order to maintain and develop domestic electricity technology know-how and decided to become entrepreneurs ourselves.

 

 

The company Vaasa Engineering Oy was founded on Independence Day 6 December 1989. Apart from me, the founding members included Harri Niemelä, Henrik Skytte, Martti Manner, Pekka Haakana, Jan Sandvik, Heikki Ojakoski and Martti Ehrnrooth. All of us strong-minded and true Ostrobothnians. Pekka Haakana pointed out that it would be nice to have an office where you can go to work, so that was arranged. We were the first energy technology company to settle down in Runsor, Vaasa. However, the company quickly became much more than a roof over our heads.

We received our first orders from Savon Voima for the hydropower plant in Karjalankoski and from Wärtsilä for a diesel power plant in Mecca. We are very proud to say that both companies remain long-term customers and partners to this day. An important milestone during our 25 years was purchasing our business facilities here in Runsor from Onninen Oy in 1992. Due to the recession, we acquired the facilities at an affordable price and were able to use them as a guarantee for working capital loans.

The next year, 1993, we participated in establishing Vaasa Control Oy, currently known as Vacon. In the beginning, our share was 37%. In hard times, we have been able to realize our shares in order to maintain and develop our own operations.

The first electrifying 25 years

In 1994, Vaasa Electronics Oy (later VAMP Oy) was founded, which is nowadays incorporated in Schneider Electrics. Our initial share was 40%. Since then we have used their arc protection relays.The same year we initiated the development of our own switchgear. VEDA and VEKE were born.

All did not always go as planned. In 2002, two automation businesses we acquired in Sweden went bankrupt after three struggling years. 2002–2009 was a period of great growth. Our turnover leapt from 25 to 80 MEUR and our staff from 200 to 400. We also founded sales companies in Norway, Sweden and Russia.

In 2010 VEO got its share of the recession. We managed by leaning on our cornerstones, and the company yet again started to grow. We have kept VEO in Finnish ownership, strongly anchored in Vaasa, in times when many energy businesses from the region have been sold to foreign investors. VEO has an unyielding position at the very heart of the Energy cluster in Vaasa.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank all those at VEO for what we have achieved over the past years. I would also like to thank all of our clients and partners for their trust and excellent co-operation. The future looks bright!

MAURI HOLMA,
long-term CEO of VEO, currently chairman of the board