Around the year 1870, Juho Gabriel Grönholm, a blacksmith by profession, moved from Mullila, Eurajoki to the village of Kodiksami in Lappi to work as the village blacksmith.
After Juho died in 1912, his son Jalmari continued as the village blacksmith in Kodiksami and changed his family name to Leino.
Jalmari Leino worked as a country smith. In addition to metal parts needed by farmers, he also made steel components for looms as a subcontractor for another local entrepreneur.
Jalmari Leino died in 1940, and his son, Eino, was orphaned at the age of 15. The Aalto brothers, carpenters continuing Isak Pietilä's business, asked the young man if he would continue his father's work. Eino promised to try. After being released from military service in 1945, Eino became a blacksmith's apprentice in a nearby village and built up the equipment of the smithy.
Along with the mechanisation of farming, there became less and less work for a traditional country blacksmith shoeing horses and repairing tools. In 1964, local entrepreneur Kosti Reunanen tipped Eino to get in touch with an element factory in Tampere, which ordered a 500-piece trial batch of box shoes from Eino. The samples were finished and approved by the customer. The operations started expanding, and the first outsider was employed at the village smithy in 1968. The manufacturing of rock points started in 1969.
In 1971, the first contacts were made with Sweden. The smithy became Limited Partnership Leimet in 1972. A year later, the limited partnership was transformed into a limited company, and in the same year, a 1,000-square metre industrial hall was completed for the company in the industrial zone of the municipality of Lappi. The company's turnover was two million Finnish marks (€340,000). In 1974–1976, Leimet was involved in the construction of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, supplying various types of fastening and joint components.
In 1980, Leimet was sold to the Lahti-based Teräspeikko company. Two years later, Teräspeikko was willing to give up its shares. Erkki Leino bought back the whole share capital of the company in March 1982. The export of rock points to Norway started a year later. In the same spring, Leimet concluded a licensing agreement with the Swedish Stabilator Ab concerning the manufacturing and marketing of ABB pile joints in Finland. In 1984, a turnover of 10 million Finnish marks was reached. In 1987–1988, production was streamlined by acquiring processing machines for bars and sheets based on CNC technology, as well as three welding robots. Exports expanded to Denmark, with the first delivery in 1988. Leimet's turnover in 1989 was 22.5 million Finnish marks (€3.8 million).
The decade started on a tragic note. Erkki's brother Eero, who had served the company since his teenage years, lost his life in an accident at sea in the autumn of 1990. Despite this tragic turn of events, life went on in the company and the operations expanded further. In 1993, the piling materials sector was also hit by the general recession, and that year, the company's turnover declined to the 1981 level. Investments made in exports began to pay off. In 1994, deals were concluded with customers in England and Holland, among others. In 1997, more storage space was built and the offices are renovated. The value of these investments totalled around 4 million Finnish marks (€700,000).
The beginning of the new millennium was marked by strong growth. The largest investment the company has ever seen, a single production cell with five industrial robots worth three million Finnish marks (€500,000) was implemented in 2000. Exports were boosted after Leimet completes an operational rationalisation with the Swedish Hercules Grundläggning company. As a result of this process, Leimet bought the whole machinery stock of Hercules's workshop located in southern Sweden and concluded a long-term supply contract. The turnover increased steadily and profitability stabilised at a good level. The turnover more than doubled from €4.15 million in 2000 to €8.55 million in 2006. In 2008, the turnover reached €10.6 million. The company responded to the growing demand by investing in both its premises and production, as well as training the personnel. The total value of the new investments in 2005–2007 was €4.8 million. In 2008 Leimet acquired the entire stock of Joleikon Oy, a company specialising in machining and heat treating steel.
The decade ended with a dramatic economic drop. Leimet's turnover dropped by 40% in 2009. Despite the downturn, the company decided to continue long-term development activities by investing in increased production capacity and more efficient production through automation. In Leimet's main markets, the recession ended swiftly, and in 2010, the company's turnover started a new rise. A new record of €11.3 million was reached in 2012. The share of export in the turnover remained high, making up more than 80% in 2012. In 2013, the increasingly frequent economic fluctuations again hit the foundation engineering market as well, causing Leimet's turnover to drop to €8.4 million. At the same time, however, the company believed in the globally increasing demand in the foundation engineering business. Consequently, investments were continued in production, sales ja R&D activities in 2013 as well. An investment programme started in 2009 is also completed this year, further increasing the overall production capacity and short-term production capabilities. The number of salespeople was also increased as a part of the globalisation strategy. In addition to building a global presence, the company also strengthened its market share in Finland through business reorganisations, among other means. In 2014, an era is brought to an end and another one starts as Leimet celebrates its 50th anniversary in August 2014. The seasoned industrial operator continues its foundation business and is ready to accept any new challenges that may arise.
Leimet's Board of Directors in 2014.
Front: Anni-Leena Katajisto, Erkki Leino, Risto Saarisalo
Back: Risto Leino, Ari Lammi, Antti Leino