Woodworking Industry

 

Wood processing has historically been a mainstay of the Estonian economy. The international competitiveness in the industry during the 1990’s was based on a lower cost base. Since 2000, in addition to Estonian sources, saw mills are moving increasingly to processing logs imported from Russia and Belarus for western markets.

Similar to the technological leap made in other sectors of the economy, the flow of new investment has brought state-of-the-art equipment to all areas of the wood processing industry.

Wood product exporters - overview of the sector in Tartu (pdf)

 

 

Industry associations

Many wood processing companies are also members of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

 

 

Sawmilling

Over the last decades, the market for sawn material has undergone fast developments and can be considered well-organised today. The competitive advantages of larger sawmills are their size, name, reliability, efficiency and price. The advantages of smaller producers include their flexibility and niche-production not available with large players. In addition, they can also more easily adapt to producing different items.

Leading companies:

  • RAITWOOD delivers finishing materials and construction timber produced from Nordic softwood:
    We manufacture profiled boards for the finishing of different surfaces in the living space around us such as floors, ceilings, interior and exterior walls, terraces. We also produce fences and various garden items. Established in 1991, RAITWOOD has gained extensive experience in softwood processing and marketing worldwide having dynamically developed our facilities by continuously investing in state-of-the-art planing and sawmilling technologies.
  • Ha Serv, established in 1996, is a timber industry company based on Estonian capital:
    In the initial years, the main activities of the company were producing and marketing high-quality planed material from knot-free alder and aspen, which is used in the interior finishing of saunas. By today, we have expanded our product selection considerably. Our products can be broadly divided into three: planed material, finished saunas and thermo treated wood.
  • TARM produces sawn construction timber:
    The company was established in 1990 and operates in South-Estonia. We started manufacturing sawn timber in 1991. At the moment half of our products are exported to Europe, mainly to the Netherlands and to Germany.
  • Falaris produces birch components for furniture industries:
    Our market is mainly in UK. Monthly we supply to UK. ca 600m3 calibrated components for upholstery manufacturers. For that we process annually over 20 000 m3 of birch.

 

 

Furniture, house details

The main export markets of the furniture industry are Finland, Sweden, Norway and Latvia.

Leading companies:

  • Tarmeko enterprises consist of several factories engaged in woodworking and furniture production. Tarmeko was established in 1947. Today they employ more than 200 people and export more than 70% of their production.

  • Arens is the largest kitchen manufacturer in Estonia and has been making kitchen furniture since 1992. Arens's plant is situated near Tartu and it is provided with modern equipment in compliance with European standards. Ca 40% of production is for export to Switzerland and Nordic countries.

  • Bellfire is an Estonian company, founded in 2005 as a furniture wholesaler and upholstery fabric importer. Bellfire distributes its products in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Latvia, and Russia.

  • Velma is one of the biggest furniture manufacturers in Tartu. The company makes kitchen, office, medical, hotel, library and home furniture. Most of the products are made to order.

  • Tiksoja Puidugrupp produces furniture for bedrooms. The company provides product design, development and production services.

  • Lasita Aken is the oldest industrial manufacturer of wooden windows in Estonia. Lasita Aken produces and sells contemporary wooden and wooden-aluminium windows, terrace doors, exterior doors, wooden framed glass facades and special solutions. The enterprise has representatives in Estonia, Latvia and Russia. Most of the production is sold on Estonian market, but it is also used by prefabricated and log house producers who export their production to Scandinavia and other European countries.

  • SeiCom is an Estonian capital based company established in 2002. Among other products the company produces wood windows and doors.

 

 

Prefab buildings and log houses

The products range from manufactured round and milled square log houses, hand-made log-houses, pre-fabricated wooden frame houses to module houses.

Log house building is a centuries old tradition. Typically Nordic pine is used for its durability and visual quality. Houses are built to order, with either machine milled logs or hand-made logs, taken apart, exported and reassembled on site by the Estonian craftsmen. Northern European countries have been the main markets where log houses have become architectural fashion and are seen as fitting with an ecological life style.

Another form of house exports are modular house units which are built in-factory, transported and assembled as up to 5 storey apartment complexes, Kodumaja has grown rapidly to become one of the leading producers in Estonia and exports 90% of its prefab houses.

In addition to living houses, several companies export related products such as garden buildings, saunas, decks, garden furniture and childrens play frames.

All manufacturers have long term traditions in production and are competitive in foreign markets - approximately 85-90% of wooden houses produced in Estonia are exported. Estonia is the 4th largest exporter of wooden houses in EU.

Leading companies:

  • Kodumaja is the name of a group of companies that specialise since 1995 in construction of high-quality housing from prefabricated modules:
    Kodumaja AS consolidates the companies the main area of activity of which is directly related, in one way or another, to housing design, production, construction and sale. Export amounts to over 90% of the consolidated turnover of Kodumaja companies. Our strategic markets have been: Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Estonia.
  • Merwood (before RPM) was founded in 1990 and is one of the first companies in the newly independent Estonia, who started the industrial production of wooden houses:
    Merwood products are divided into two major groups: residential houses and holiday houses (made either as wood element houses or as log houses). About 75% of the company’s production is exported to Scandinavia and Western Europe, 25% is sold locally. Merwood has built more than 1,200 houses in more than 26 countries.
  • Lasita Maja is an Estonian company, established in Tartu in 1998, is one of the leading log cabin manufacturers in Estonia:
    We produce over 15 000 buildings per year. Three different factories enable us to make very different log cabin designs, varying  from sheds, summerhouses, saunas, pavilions, garages and children playhouses up to special bespoke buildings for our best customers. There are over 300 different designs in our standard range plus countless numbers of bespoke projects.
  • Palmako is the leading manufacturer and exporter of square log garden houses and laminated timber in Estonia:
    Our two plants produce more than 40 000 wooden houses, up to 30 000 m3 of laminated timber products and 30 000 tons of pellets a year, which we sell through an extensive reseller network mainly in Europe. Main markets include Germany, England, France, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia, however Palmako houses and laminated timber can be found in many other countries as well.
  • Laftehus is a company based on private Norwegian capital assets. The main field of activity of the company is manufacturing of pinewood living- and summerhouses as well as their realization mostly in Norway.