|PKC Group history in short|
Pohjolan Kaapeli´s wiring harness factory 1969-1980
Nokia´s subsidiary in Oulu, Pohjolan Kaapeli, founded a wiring harness unit in Kempele in 1969. During its first year of operations, the unit employed just over 40 people. The company took on a completely new challenge when it began to manufacture wiring harnesses as a subcontractor to the car factory in Uusikaupunki, which was also founded the same year.
The company´s success has always rested on three cornerstones: persevering work, know-how and internationalisation. By the mid-1970s, the company had cut deals with Scania and Volvo, with whom successful co-operation continues to this day. Other significant customers in the 1970s included Kone and IBM.
Early on, Pohjolan Kaapeli was strongly personified by Industrial Counsellor Matti Pesola who worked as the company´s President and CEO from 1966 until 1981. Pesola was an influential figure in society who can be credited with the growth of the Kempele unit in the 1970s. Late in 1979, the Kempele factory employed 430 blue-collar workers and 35 white-collar workers.
Merger with Nokia 1981-1990
The Kempele wiring harness unit became more closely linked with the Nokia Group in 1981, when Pohjolan Kaapeli was merged with Nokia Kaapeli. The Kempele wiring harness factory was a very independent unit whose production was in many ways different from the Group´s other operations.
Trade with the Soviet Union was very important for Finland in the 1970s and 1980s, a fact clearly evident in the Nokia Group´s exports. The Kempele factory never found a market in the Soviet Union, because, at the time, the Russians wanted to manufacture their own wiring harnesses. Later, however, the factory played a strong part in the new phase of Finland´s eastern trade which began after the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991.
The Kempele factory was at its largest in 1988 when it employed over 900 people. The incorporation carried out in 1990 saw the company being renamed Nokia Johdinsarjat Oy.
The international automotive industry went through difficult times in the late 1980s and the downswing continued well into the mid-1990s. Nokia Johdinsarjat had to cut its workforce by 70 per cent between 1990 and 1994. Following the lay-offs, the factory was left with about 200 employees.
The first listed company in northern Finland 1990-2000
Nokia Johdinsarjat undertook long negotiations with General Motors in the early 1990s, but the talks never translated into actual production. The costs of production in Finland were simply too high. In order to maximise cost-efficiency, subcontracting was started in Estonia and Russia between 1990 and 1992. In this aspect, the company was a trailblazer in Finland.
In 1994, Nokia decided to focus on telecommunications, leading to the sale of Nokia Johdinsarjat Oy. At the same time, the manufacturing of wiring harnesses for cars was discontinued. The main field of business became the manufacturing of wiring harnesses for commercial vehicles.
In June 1994, PK Cables made one of the largest management buy outs in Finland when the acting management acquired Nokia Johdinsarjat Oy´s wiring harness business. The business was incorporated into PK Cables, whose founders were Tom Hakalax, Risto Luostarinen, Leo Ojala, Hannu Rahkamaa, Veikko Ravaska and Timo Saukkonen, who collectively owned 38.1 per cent of the company. Tom Hakalax, formerly in charge of Nokia Johdinsarjat, was named President and CEO of PK Cables. In 1996, the company´s future began to look very bright after several years of gloom. The upward trend and the pressure to go international led to the company being listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. PK Cables Oyj was listed in the spring of 1997, the first company founded in northern Finland to do so.
Following Tom Hakalax´s move to the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1998, Timo J. Niemi was named as the new President and CEO. His period at the company´s helm lasted from 1998 to 2000.
PKC Group´s international growth continued in 1998 when its subsidiary PK Cables do Brasil began its operations. The acquisition in 1999 of Oy Raahen TH-Elektroniikka Ab (currently PKC Electronics Oy) in Raahe, Finland, was also a significant expansion.
Period of strong international growth 2000-2008
Since 2000, the company has operated under the name PKC Group Oyj. In the same year, the Kempele factory and the Group´s head office moved to their present location by Lentokentäntie road, and the subsidiary PK Cables Nederland B.V. began its operations.
Tom Hakalax returned to the tasks of President and CEO for 2001 and 2002. Hakalax´s influence on the company and its history is significant. Having joined Pohjolan Kaapeli in 1972, Industrial Counsellor Hakalax has left his mark on almost every important milestone in the company´s history. Hakalax´s mission for his second stint as President and CEO was to reconcentrate the company´s operations on its core areas of expertise.
The period under the leadership of Hakalax´s successor, Harri Suutari, between 2002 and 2005, was marked with strong growth, the rationalisation of operations and strong internationalisation.
In the organisation revamp of 2002, five separate business units with profit accountability were established within the Group. Three of the business units manufacture wiring harnesses for vehicles. One business unit produces solutions for the cabling of electronic appliances, and the last unit provides R&D and contract manufacturing services for the electronics industry. Following the revamp, the Group has two core sectors, Wiring Harnesses and Electronics.
During the past decade, subcontractors in Russia and Estonia have played a significant role in PKC Group´s growth. With the acquisition of the Estonian AS AJT Harju Elekter (currently PKC Eesti AS) in 2002, PKC Group became the owner of the units in Haapsalu and Keila. PKC has developed PKC Eesti AS strongly.
The Carhatec Group became part of PKC Group in 2003. In addition to its units in Finland, Carhatec owned a factory in Kostomuksha, Russia. The investments made into this factory have been the largest in PKC Group´s history.
In 2004, PKC Group spun off its electronics business into a subgroup, and established a unit in the United States. In the following year, a decision was taken to found a subsidiary in China where production started in 2006.
PKC expanded to North America by acquiring the Electro Canada companies with units in Canada, USA and Mexico. Through acquisition, PKC Group became the main global supplier of wiring harnesses to Bombardier Recreational Products. The PKC Group has streamlined the Group's management system by revising the Management Teams of the Group and the business segments and by adopting a matrix organisation.
New significant market segments and customer accounts 2008-
At the end of 2008 PKC Group Oyj acquired MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG's cable harness business from MAN Star Trucks & Buses Sp. z.o.o. in Poland. PKC's Polish subsidiary, PKC Group Poland Sp. z.o.o. will continue the operations. The acquisition brought a significant addition to PKC's customer base as MAN Group became PKC's customer on the basis of long-term supplier agreement signed at the same time.
On 1st of November 2009 PKC reorganised its Wiring Harness business into a separate subgroup. The aim is to streamline the operations and to improve company's opportunities for continuous development.
In the spring 2011 under the share purchase agreement, PKC Group´s subsidiaries purchased all shares in Segu companies functioning in German, Poland and Ukraine. The Segu companies manufacture and develop wiring harnesses for the automotive and construction equipment sectors. The acquisition is continuance to the acquisition carried out in Poland for over two year ago. Segu companies and PKC´s Polish unit will form a business unit servicing the West-European markets with annual sales of about hundred million and about 2,500 employees. In addition to access to interesting new OEMs, the acquisition of Segu companies will bring a strategically important footprint in Germany as well as benefit of scale and increased credibility for PKC.
In the fall 2011 PKC Group signed an agreement for the purchase of AEES companies from funds controlled by Platinum Equity. AEES is one of the leading North American wiring harness manufacturers for heavy and medium duty trucks and it also has a significant position in light vehicle wiring harnesses. In addition, AEES provides components and wires to other contract manufacturers. AEES´ largest customer accounts within the truck industry are e.g. Daimler Trucks North America, Navistar and PACCAR. Major customer accounts relating to the light vehicle industry include i.a. Continental, Ford, General Motors, Harley Davidson and Lear. AEES has operations in USA, Mexico, Brazil and Ireland and had about 13,800 employees at the end of June 2011. By combining AEES, a major North American truck wiring harness manufacturer, with PKC, one of the leading wiring harness manufacturers for trucks in Europe and South America, we created a leading global truck wiring harness supplier. Following completion of the transaction, the combined entity supplies wiring harnesses to the six leading Western truck groups. With this acquisition, we also entered the automotive industry in North America and Brazil. The acquisition hereby provided access to new customer segments and also offered PKC an opportunity to expand its product and service offering, e.g. via manufacturing of components and wires.