A company with a long ancestry.
The year is 1867 and Ingemar Svenssion starts the first steam-powered sawmill in Vislanda.
The year is 1867 and Ingemar Svensson starts the first steam-powered sawmill in Vislanda. This is the foundation for the company becoming a global supplier of processed products from sustainable Swedish forests 150 years later.
Göte Johansson, a farmer’s lad from Ryd in Moheda in the county of Småland, was the General Manager of the sawmill in Vislanda when he became the owner of the sawmill with the new name, Ångsågen i Vislanda. 1954 can be said to be the start of Vida’s modern history. Ten years later, Göte’s son Christer started to get more seriously involved in the company, even though he himself would say he was born on a pile of boards and thus started working at the sawmill much earlier. Christer later became Vida’s Chairman of the board, and one of the major owners of the Vida Group.
In 1973 Ångsågen i Vislanda changed its name to the somewhat more modern Vida Timber. The name was inspired by the shipping mark that was used to mark the ends of the timber, and it is an abbreviation of the name of the town of Vislanda.
In 1977 Alvesta Träförädling, then close to bankruptcy, was acquired. The business was streamlined and a group of some 15 people remained, who battled through fairly tight conditions. Within this group, an enormous crisis awareness, great loyalty and a passion for the company to survive was generated. They become a clear little brother to Vislanda, which had almost 100 employees and a turnover of SEK 50 million. At that time, 5,000m3 per year was produced at Alvesta, this is now what is produced in a day within the entire Vida Group.
Sale and re-acquisition
In 1979, both companies were sold to Domänföretagen. The reason for this was that Göte wanted to handover to the next generation, and the prevailing tax rules enforced a company sale. The staff and management remained and the sawmill was run as before. Four years later, Domänverket suffered a large loss from a bad debt, which led to a number of sawmills being sold off, including Alvesta Träförädling AB and Vida Timber i Vislanda. The companies were put out to sale, and this resulted in seven of the employees buying both sawmills from Domänföretagen.
A few tough years lay ahead for Vida Timber and Alvesta Träförädling as they battled to improve profitability. Little brother Alvesta competed with big brother Vislanda and the results achieved in Alvesta and Vislanda during the 80s enabled the building of a brand new sawmill in Vislanda during 1990 and 1991.
Stronger position in Germany
In 1987, Tom Heurlin located in Dalsland was acquired. This was a large step for the small group in Småland that suddenly doubled its turnover and now also needed to manage a sawmill in Ånimskog, 350km away. In the beginning, this acquisition was very significant for the development of the company, and for example meant that the company strengthened its position on the German market. However, 10 years later the company was sold again due to reduced synergies with the rest of the business. A few years later, seven owners became three. Two of these, Christer Johansson and Santhe Dahl remained major owners until spring 2010 when Christer retired.
Urshult and Bruza join the family
At the end of the 80s, and beginning of the 1990s, John Neikter AB in Urshult and Bruza Timber in Hjältevad and Bellö were acquired. Two large acquisitions, a newly built sawmill in Vislanda and the beginning of a deep economic downturn. The new owners were perhaps perceived by some as being a little reckless.
During the acquisition of the sawmill in Bruza, Bruza’s MD Kjell Markusson was recruited to the sawmill in Vislanda. Christer was then able to focus on the market. Vida was therefore an early player on both the Japanese and the American markets. The subsequent upswing in the economy had a great impact, with the help of the new acquisitions. Large capacity and good profitability.
Vida Packaging is born
In 1999, Santhe Dahl was appointed the Group Chief Executive Officer. In 2000, Ljungby Sågverks AB was acquired, which meant that the company could specialise in sawing fir in Vislanda and pine in Ljungby. Since then, the strategy of specialising the sawmills, getting longer series and minimising the range at each sawmill has remained a focus. In the same year, Niab in Hestra was acquired. In addition to a sawmill, it had packaging production where pallets, pallet collars and cable drums were manufactured. This acquisition gave birth to Vida Packaging.
Acquisition in Borgstena
In 2002, Anderssons sawmill in Borgstena was acquired. Vida already had two sales offices on the English market, but this acquisition meant that the consolidated companies gained a significantly stronger position. Every second roof truss erected in the UK today comes from Vida.
In 2006, Lessebo bruk (paper mill) joined the Vida family after the bankruptcy of Klippan. The plant was given the name Vida Paper and made uncoated fine paper and coloured paper, classed as one of the most environmentally friendly in Europe, as well as dissolving pulp that is used in textile production, amongst others. In late autumn 2012, the board of Vida Paper AB was forced to apply for a company reconstruction. The reason for this application was that a creditor bank chose to cancel the credit line to Vida Paper AB with immediate effect, despite the fact that Vida Paper AB had fulfilled all of its payments. The company could not be saved and filed for bankruptcy in December 2012.
During spring 2010, a generational shift occurred in the Group. Christer Johansson retired and Måns Johansson was appointed as the Vice Group Chief Executive Officer.
Vida HN AB & Vida Building AB
In 2011, the sawmill Vida HN AB in Hästveda was acquired, which primarily supplies wood products to the Dutch market. During the same year, Villa fabriken (the house factory) was acquired, now called Vida Building, with the ambition of learning more about wood products in the the manufacturing of buildings.
Acquisition in Nössemark
In 2015, Vida Group acquires Moelven Nössemark Trä AB, which becomes Vida Nössemark AB. The plant is located in north-west Dalsland, some 10km from the Norwegian border. Only products made from small dimension saw timber are manufactured here. The products complement and fit well with Vida’s product range.
That was the end of the beginning of our history, and perhaps a clarification of what we represent today.