Lars Hellberg appointed as President and CEO of Fortaco Group

Fortaco Group has appointed Lars Hellberg (B.Sc. (Eng.) as President and CEO of Fortaco Group starting from mid-December 2013 the latest. He will be based at Fortaco’s headquarters in Helsinki.

Mr. Hellberg has extensive experience from engineering and automotive industries. Before joining Fortaco, he was President PowerTech division & Executive Vice President at Wärtsilä Corporation, where he served on the Board of Management since 2004. He has held various positions at Wärtsilä with focus on the Industrial operations, Research & Development and a strong focus of establishments in all BRICK countries. He also was Managing Director for the large European financed Hercules program since 2004 focusing on clean energy and highest engine efficiency. Prior to that, he was a member of the Board of Management at Saab Automotive AB, Executive Director for the Customer Satisfaction & Quality division and member of General Motors Europe Executive board for Quality between 2001 and 2004. He began his career in 1985 at Volvo Cars AB, where he worked until 2001. He held positions e.g. as Research Engineer within advanced engineering, Project Director for power train and vehicle development programmes, General Manager for Volvo Car Operations BV and Vice President of Global Business & Volume Optimization within Marketing, Sales & Services. Mr. Hellberg is a Swedish national and has worked mostly outside Sweden in Europe, Asia and the US.

“We are pleased to welcome Lars to Fortaco at this exciting time in our company’s executive development. Lars is a member of the Board of Fortaco Group Oy and has been involved in the completion of the massive integration and improved productivity phase following the merger of units from Komas and Ruukki Engineering. We are now starting the next chapter in building a growing profitable player serving the European engineering industry. Lars is a seasoned manager with an international background and vast knowledge of heavy industry, and I am confident that he will be able to further the process that we have started,” states Peter Augustsson, Chairman of the Board at Fortaco Group. “I am very respectfully looking forward to leading the development and the team of Fortaco. The former Komas and Ruukki Engineering have since many years successfully been preferred business partners especially in the Nordic markets. I see significant potential to further expand the portfolio of customers and products within the European market. Fortaco has a strong and competent team and efficient manufacturing assets in Eastern Europe and Finland. The new Fortaco structure and strategy as a result of the merger will continue to offer profitable growth both for our customers and our company,” says Lars Hellberg.

Mr. Hellberg will replace Esko Harila, who has been acting Managing Director for the interim period. Mr. Harila will resume his duties as CFO.

New sales offices opened

In order to further strengthen customer service, Fortaco has opened three new sales offices manned with experienced manufacturing professionals who are able to guide you through the whole manufacturing supply chain. Run by Peter Green, Fortaco AB is located in Southern part of Sweden. Fortaco BV in Netherlands with Harald van der Broek in command and Fortaco GmbH with Frank Elert in Germany serve our Central-European customers. All offices provide you with a single touch point to the full scope of our manufacturing service for even the most demanding jobs you can imagine. Peter’s, Harald’s and Frank’s aim is to help you to optimize your supply chain to the full extent. Stay in touch!

Mariusz Majdanik Appointed Director, Janów Lubelski

Mariusz Majdanik (Director, Fortaco Janów Lubelski Production) has been appointed as the Director of Fortaco's site in Janów Lubelski, Poland, as of 23 May 2013. In his new role Mariusz will be leading the development of Janów Lubelski site business and cooperation with all related stakeholders. Mariusz will be reporting to Juha Simola, Executive Vice President, Business Unit Poland.

Mika Kari steps down as managing director of Fortaco

The Board of Directors of Fortaco Group Oy today announced that Mika Kari has stepped down as managing director, effective immediately. Esko Harila, CFO, will serve as acting managing director on an interim basis and Peter Augustsson, the chairman of the board, will have an active supporting role until a new managing director will start at the company. Recruitment of a new managing director is in process and the appointment will be announced in due course.

During his time at Fortaco (previously Komas), Mika Kari managed the significant restructuring of the manufacturing operations, including divesting and combining smaller units into larger entities with long-term competitiveness, creation of a state-of-the-art management team, significantly adding operations in best cost countries specifically through a take-over of Cargotec’s operations in Narva, Estonia and the merger with Ruukki Engineering, as well as integration of the combined operations.

"Mika Kari came to Fortaco to address specific challenges in the business, most importantly the required restructuring of the operations that has now been successfully completed with the combination with Ruukki Engineering. This challenging task has been well executed,” says Mr. Augustsson on behalf of the Fortaco Board of Directors.

“Mika has indicated his desire to pursue other career opportunities. To facilitate these professional goals and Fortaco’s efficient transition to new management, we have agreed with Mika that it is in the best interest of the company that he steps down at this time. We thank Mika for his leadership and contributions in seeing through this period of challenging transition," Mr. Augustsson continued.

“As I reflect on the accomplishments of the last two years, I am very proud of the progress we have made, despite the challenges in the overall economy,” says Mr. Kari. “I know I leave Fortaco with a great foundation and a strong team that will take the organization forward.” Funds managed by CapMan and Rautaruukki Corporation agreed in October to combine units of Komas and Ruukki’s Engineering division to form a new company called Fortaco.

Petteri Malin appointed Director of Fortaco site of Wroclaw

Petteri Malin (Director, Business Development) has been appointed Director of Fortaco’s site in Wroclaw, Poland as of 18 April 2013. In his new role Petteri will be leading the development of Wroclaw site business and cooperation with all related stake-holders. He has been working for Komas and Fortaco for 5 years now and has extensive experience in different managing positions. Petteri will be reporting to Juha Simola, Executive Vice President, Business Unit Poland.

Roope Ruusunen is appointed Sales Manager at the Kurikka site

Roope Ruusunen is appointed Sales Manager at Fortaco Kurikka machining as of 1 April 2013. His responsibilities include sales of Kurikka and Härmä products in Finland. Roope Ruusunen will be reporting to Simo Ruotsalainen (Director, Kurikka machining & Härmä) and in regard to key customers to Marcus Engman (Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing).

Cooperation negotiations at Fortaco Ostrobothnia Oy completed

Fortaco Ostrobothnia Oy cooperation negotiations that were launched in January have now been completed. During the negotiations decision was made that the component manufacturing at Kurikka site will be ended and transferred to other Fortaco sites. Kurikka site cabin and other assembly business was decided to be further streamlined and developed. The Cabin manufacturing will be centralized to one location at Kurikka and the development actions started will continue as planned.

Cooperation negotiations will be resulting in smaller amount of reductions than estimated. That is because the market situation is believed to improve during the spring time. Employment contracts of 75 blue-collar workers and 17 white collar workers will be terminated and the amounts include pension solutions. The temporary lay-offs continue as planned.

Fortaco is Europe’s largest manufacturing partner for the engineering industry. The company’s main products are high performing welded and machined components, ready-to-install operator cabins and fully-assembled machines and equipment for the world’s leading engineering OEMs. The company employs 2,600 persons at 11 sites in Finland, Poland, Estonia, Hungary and Slovakia. Expected pro forma net sales for 2012 are EUR 270 million.

New surface treatment line at the Holíč, Slovakia is in operation

Fortaco has opened successfully a state of the art surface treatment line for serial manufacturing at the Holíč site in Slovakia. The site manufactures ready-to-assemble cabins for mobile machines for its globally-operating OEM customers.

The investment enables Holíč to optimize its order to delivery process, lowers the surface treatment related costs considerably and facilitates quality control in the surface treatment process. With the new surface treatment is achieved surface treatment class C-5 M (ISO12944-6), which fulfills the needs of the most demanding applications such as in mining, construction or material handling cabins needed.

On the automatized line, the cabin frames go through zinc-phosphating and cataphoresis process before powder painting. The line meets the high quality and environmental criteria of the automotive industry and the original equipment manufacturers. Fortaco has used a similar coating process at the Kurikka cabin site in Finland since 2006. The total investment value was worth about three million Euros.

Fortaco starts co-operation negotiations in Parkano

Fortaco Oy starts co-operation negotiations in Parkano in order to improve the competitiveness of the site and respond to the foreseen changes in market demand.

The objective is to further enhance the productivity and competitiveness of Parkano site and look for alternatives in order to relocate the current Parkano operations to other Fortaco sites. The co-operation negotiations concern all employees (24) of the Parkano site and might lead to permanent redundancies.

Fortaco starts co-operation negotiations in Kurikka components and assembly site

Fortaco Ostrobothnia Oy starts co-operation negotiations in order to improve the competitiveness of the site and respond to the foreseen changes in market demand. The objective is to further enhance the productivity and competitiveness of cabin assembly operations and look for alternatives for the component business within the Fortaco organization. The co-operation negotiations concern all employee groups of the site. This process can lead to permanent redundancies up to 105 blue collar and 17 white collar employees out of total number of 377. The co-operation negotiations are conducted in accordance to as defined by finnish law and established practices.