Välinge Innovation, Bjelin join forces

Home Featured Company Välinge Innovation, Bjelin join forces

BjelinVälinge Innovation and Bjelin (pronounced “B-Yellin”)—two powerhouses in the fields of technology licensing and building materials manufacturing, respectively—have joined forces. The combined company, called Bjelin, is setting its sights on building a more formidable presence in both the North American and European flooring markets.

“A lot of people don’t know that we are Europe’s largest provider of white oak when you take into account the flooring and furniture products coming out of the Bjelin side of the business,” said Zach Adams, general manager, Välinge North America, Inc. “Bjelin is an established company with factories based out of Croatia. Beyond the manufacture of traditional engineered wood, the company also sell veneers and lamellas to other partners or wood providers within the industry.”

Traditionally, Välinge Innovation and Bjelin operated as separate “sister” companies under the same holding group. Now, with the official merger, the divisions can operate more strategically and synergistically. “Prior to the merger, Välinge Innovation was focused on the intellectual property side; and our industrial products, which include traditional engineered wood flooring as well as our hardened Woodura products, fell under the Bjelin side of the business. Now we’re adding synergies by taking two distinctly separate companies underneath one umbrella to become more efficient and effective.”

So, what’s the bottom-line impact of the merger on distributors and retailers that carry and market those products? According to Adams, the transition—which will include new marketing/promotional materials and other related protocols—will be seamless to the end user. “We always want to work well with our distributor partners—not just throw things onto them and say, ‘Hey, good luck with it,’” he told Floor Covering News. “Right out of the gate we’re obviously going to start to build up that brand awareness around Bjelin and communicate how the merger is definitely a positive development for all involved.”

After the brand awareness campaign kicks off, the company will begin tackling the task of updating displays and signage, etc., out in the field. That should start happening by the first quarter of next year, according to Adams. “That’s when we’re really going to gear up to make point-of-sale changes from the Välinge brand to the Bjelin brand concept. We’re talking to all of our distributor partners to really come up with a game plan on how to make that transition happen smoothly.”

Manufacturing prowess

Bjelin enjoys access to copious amounts of European white oak—the preferred species for many hardwood flooring producers today. Utilizing this ample stockpile of raw materials, the company is able to provide high-quality, sawn-faced hardwood wear layers in different formats. This includes engineered wood products featuring a 2.5mm top layer as well as a thicker, 3.5mm option. Bjelin also allocates materials for use in ¾-inch solid hardwood flooring applications.

“Our manufacturing facility over in Croatia, which we’re expanding, currently has about 10 million square feet of capacity, giving our customers in the North American market access to a European white oak,” Adams stated. “And in Sweden we have a manufacturing facility that makes our hardened wood product—that plant has roughly 50 million square feet of capacity. Over the next 24 to 36 months, we’re looking to expand that to a total of 200 million square feet of capacity.”

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March 6/13, 2023

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