Bergs Timber readies for battle to attract private forest owners

Sweden’s largest forest owner, state-owned Sveaskog, is a major supplier of timber, pulpwood and chips to Swedish industry. It and Sweden’s other large forest companies need to purchase more timber from private forest owners. But that won’t happen without opposition.

“We extract more sawable timber from the forest and can pay better,” says Gustav Grybäck, a buyer with Bergs Timber.

Bergs is the country’s fastest-growing sawmill group, with six sawmills – four in Sweden and two in the Baltic states – plus Sweden’s biggest impregnation facility, and the group has also announced more future purchases. Bergs even has its own port north of London plus its own ship.

“We’ve now passed the 1,000-employee mark and are continuing to grow,” says Sofie Madenäng of the impregnation unit Bergs Timber Bitus.

The group’s Swedish operation is concentrated in the county of Kalmar on the east coast. Its local presence plus its knowledge of the private forests in its catchment area give Bergs advantages in the competition for the raw material. Transport costs are also lower because the industry is located where the trees grow.

Data about tree age distribution in the forests owned by Sveaskog and the other major forest companies reveal that the need to buy additional timber from private forest owners will increase over the next few years. At the same time, though, one of Sweden’s bigger corporate groups is expanding by adding sawmills that must purchase timber on the open market, which means that competition over the private forests is increasing.

Bergs Timber is growing fast. From left: Sofie Madenäng, Gustav Grybäck and Anders Johansson.
Bergs Timber växer snabbt. Fr v Sofie Madenäng, Gustad Grybäck och Anders Johansson.