Helsinki: He has become known as one of Finland’s go-to businessmen to help turnaround companies. Now some 18 months in his new role as president and ceo of Cargotec, the giant Finnish maritime equipment manufacturer, Mika Vehviläinen is in a position to identify where he sees growth coming from in a business empire that encompasses many well known brands such as MacGregor, Kalmar and Hiab.
Vehviläinen was the president and ceo of Finnair prior to taking the Cargotec role. Before that he had been with Nokia for 18 years.
Since taking the helm at Cargotec, Vehviläinen has overseen the acquisitions of two companies, the cancelling of a planned listing for MacGregor, but he has failed to staunch the red ink, the company posting a EUR9.3m net loss in its latest interims announced in July.
“We are still in the process of turning the business around,” Vehviläinen admits, while revealing he is still on the hunt for more acquisitions.
The shipping cycle is now scraping the bottom, Vehviläinen reckons, with lots of new orders coming in but the markets are still very difficult. “There is still oversupply,” Vehviläinen says. “The competitiveness of the new ships is forcing people to order,” he adds, noting in particular Maersk’s recent results. Maersk’s profit in the second quarter rocketed 24.6% year-on-year to $547m.
As a former airline man, Vehviläinen is adamant that shipping is now on a par with aviation in terms of efficiency.
“Shipping’s long downturn has made it just as efficient as airlines,” Vehviläinen concludes. [18/09/14]