Family businesses The Finnish car trade giant has been carrying a stubborn stain for decades – This is how one family grew the timber trade into a car trade of hundreds of millions of euros

The Laakkonen car trade group originated from 300 Hungarian motorcycles in the late 1950s. The name of the company, which has been operating in Finland for more than 60 years, will soon be a thing of the past.

Finland The car market saw the end of one era on Tuesday when the family company Laakkonen said it was selling its car business to the Swedish Hedin Mobility Group.

The traditional car group is still one of Finland’s largest car retail chains. It has 21 outlets in 15 cities and says it sells about 25,000 cars a year, 10,000 of which are new and 15,000 used.

The Group’s net sales in 2020 were approximately EUR 550 million. It employed almost 950 people at the time.

The name of the company, which has been operating in Finland for more than 60 years, will go down in history – at least in the car market. Laakkonen Director of Development and Marketing Mikko Mykrä confirmed To Kauppalehtithat the Laakkonen brand will be phased out after the transition period.

Wholly The name of the Laakkonen family does not disappear from Finnish business, especially in the company’s hometown of Joensuu.

The other large business branch of the Laakkonen companies is the media and printing group Punamusta Media, which publishes, among other things, the Joensuu regional newspaper Karjalainen.

Over the decades, the Laakkonen family has also acquired properties, especially in the Joensuu area. It is known that there has also been a forest in the holdings.

Laakkonen is one of Finland’s largest car retail chains. It has 21 offices in 15 cities. Car dealer Jere Fagerroos in Olar, Laakkonen, Espoo, in April.

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Just the wood shops are the starting point of the family business story. Tauno Laakkonen timber trade began as early as the 1920s.

The timber trade was reorganized into a limited company in 1943. According to the company, it grew into Finland’s second largest private buyer and exporter of specialty timber and round wood.

The car trade came into the picture in the late 1950s, when the wood company Laakkonen received three hundred Pannonia and Danubia motorcycles for the wood it sold to Hungary.

The wheels went on sale, and the actual car dealership was founded in 1960. However, Tauno Laakkonen died unexpectedly only a few days after the car dealership opened. The responsibility for the new company ran first with his son To Reino Laakkonen and later To Yrjö Laakkonenwho was still in school at the time of his father ‘s death.

HS: n in a personal case in 2014 described how the brothers were able to accumulate their family’s holdings in the 1960s and 1970s through a collaboration between the car trade and the old wood business. If the buyer of the car did not have cash, it was possible to buy the game with wood or woods. It meant a cheap forest for Laakkos.

In 1985 Perhaps the toughest stain appeared in the story of Laakkosti when Reino, Yrjö and the Erkki sat in prison for four months for tax offenses.

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Judgments related to the so-called excess interest rate package came when the savings banks of cooperatives accepted deposits in the 1970s for which they paid better interest rates than bank deposits.

Apparently, in many other ways, Laakkoset did not report any additional interest income to the taxpayer. Although there were many suspects, only a dozen of the largest depositors received an absolute verdict, including the Laakkoset.

Even decades later, in an interview in 2014, the verdict was filmed by Yrjö Laakko. He considered that the brothers had been treated unreasonably harshly. After the verdict, Yrjö and Reino continued with the family business, but Erkki went to Canada to raise horses.

It is believed that Laakkoset bought the newspaper because of its influence and prestige.

Alphabet North Karelia Kirjapaino – the newspaper Karjalainen – was finally taken over by the company in 1986. Today, the company is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange as Punamusta Media, of which the family’s parent company, Kauppahuone Laakkonen and Laakkoset, own more than 50 percent.

In HS’s story in 2014, Yrjö Laakko is described as the most significant businessman in North Karelia and the number one decision-maker in the Joensuu region.

It is believed that Laakkoset bought the newspaper because of its influence and prestige, perhaps also after getting angry about writing about the excess interest rate.

Nor did it hurt that the car dealership was able to determine the prices of local newspaper advertisements and thus also collected the advertising clubs of competing dealers in its own bag.

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In the company a generational change was made as early as the 1990s. Reino’s sons were in charge of the family business Mikko and Hannu, also known as trotting instructor. They left the family business and sold their stake to their uncle Yrjö in the early 2000s.

Father Reino died of an illness in 2005 when he was 72 years old. As a result, the Laakkonen companies took control of Yrjö’s family branch.

Son of George Jyrki ran a family business for nearly 20 years but died of cancer in 2016 at the age of 50.

Today, the Laakkosten cluster is headed by Yrjö’s daughter Reetta Laakkonen. According to the company’s website, the fourth generation was involved in the company’s operations in 2020: the steepest boys Jonah and Tommi Laakkonen and the sons of Rethah Matias and Markus Laine.

Car business The sale price has not been disclosed, but in addition to the proceeds, the new generations of the Laakkonen family will still have at least a significant holding in Punamusta Media oy and the lands and properties owned by the family and its company.

Newspaper Karelian For example, Autokiinteistöt Laakkonen oy is not part of the deal with the Swedes and through it Laakkonen will continue to be the landlord of the sold car dealerships.

The parent company Kauppahuone Laakkonen will also continue to operate. Its board currently has seven children or grandchildren of Yrjö Laakkonen.

Sources: HS archive, laakkonen.fi

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