The first 100 years of Lassila & Tikanoja

Lassila & Tikanoja was founded in 1905 as a wholesale business. Through many phases, L&T has developed into an international corporation focusing on environmental management and support services for properties and plants. L&T has business operations in Finland, Sweden and Russia.

1905: Lassila & Tikanoja founded

Lassila & Tikanoja was established by Josef Lassila and Frithjof Tikanoja in the town of Vaasa in 1905. The enterprise was a wholesale business selling fabrics, knick-knacks and “heavy products” such as soap, Baltic herring, bagels and confectionery.

Over the years, operations expanded to cover the whole country, and it grew to be the biggest privately owned wholesale company in the Nordic countries.

1923–1980: From the wholesale business to the clothing industry

In 1923, Lassila & Tikanoja began manufacturing clothing alongside its wholesale business, and it was one of Finland’s largest clothing manufacturers until the 1980s. At its height it had industrial operations in almost 20 different locations all over Finland. Some of the company’s better-known brands were Tiklas suits, shirts and tops, and Topman shoes.

Exports accounted for more than 50 per cent of net sales starting from the 1960s, and the company had substantial operations in several other European countries. Lassila & Tikanoja became a public listed company on the Helsinki Stock Exchange in 1961.

1980's: New operating sectors

In the 1980s, Lassila & Tikanoja expanded its operations through major corporate acquisitions. In the beginning of 1982, it bought J.W. Suominen, a manufacturer of non-woven fabrics, and in 1988 Amerplast, which produced plastic flexi-packaging.

In 1989, Lassila & Tikanoja bought 74 per cent of Säkkiväline Oy’s shares. Säkkiväline was established by Finnish paper bag manufacturers in the 1960s to market waste bags and to promote the use of waste bag systems. A separate company, Säkkiväline Oy, was set up in 1967. Gradually Säkkiväline expanded through corporate acquisitions into waste collection, cleaning services, industrial cleaning and maintenance, and damage repair services. In the late 1980s, property maintenance was included as a new field.

1990's: Environmental management as the biggest operating sector

At the beginning of the 1990s, Lassila & Tikanoja was a multi-business company with its operations divided into the non-woven fabrics, flexi-packaging and webbing industries (J.W. Suominen, Amerplast, Inka), the service industry (Säkkiväline), and the clothing and footwear industries. Clothing and footwear and the wholesale trade were discontinued in the early 1990s.

In 1995, Säkkiväline became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lassila & Tikanoja. Its net sales continued to grow vigorously throughout the 1990s, and at the end of the decade it accounted for almost one-half of the Group’s net sales.

Säkkiväline and its services were developed systematically in the 1990s. Considerable resources were invested in waste recovery and recycling, the cleaning business was developed further, and hazardous waste management was added to the range of services. In property maintenance services, the company developed a service control system with a control centre staffed 24 hours a day. Development work on environmental products focused especially on products related to waste recovery.

In the spring of 2000, Säkkiväline acquired the environmental management company WM Ympäristöpalvelut Oy and thus became the leading provider of environmental management services in Finland.

2001: L&T

Lassila & Tikanoja assumed its present form on 30 September 2001 when Lassila & Tikanoja plc split into two separate companies (Lassila & Tikanoja plc and Suominen Corporation).

Lassila & Tikanoja plc served as the parent company of Säkkiväline until 31 March 2002 when Säkkiväline merged with the parent company. At the same time, the company launched the L&T brand name for all of its operating divisions: Environmental Services, Property and Office Support Services and Industrial Services.

2014: Local and international

Lassila & Tikanoja is a service company that is transforming the consumer society into an efficient recycling society. In co-operation with our customers we are reducing waste volumes, extending the useful lives of properties, recovering materials and decreasing the use of raw materials and energy. We help our customers to focus on their core business and to save the environment. Together, we create well-being and jobs.

With operations in Finland, Sweden and Russia, L&T employs 8,000 persons. Net sales in 2014 amounted to EUR 639.7 million. L&T is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.