The Comatec Group’s parent company, Insinööritoimisto Comatec Oy celebrates its 35 years in business on 24 March 2021. Since its foundation in 1986, the company has evolved from a one-man office to a corporation operating in 4 countries and 20 office locations. The company has also expanded from the design of material handling solutions and industrial machinery into an array of multidisciplinary projects ranging from the Tampere Tramway to the international nuclear fusion megaproject, ITER. However, the founding CEO, Aulis Asikainen is still at the helm of the company.
Comatec and the expertise it offers have evolved as technology and the world has changed. For example, technical drawing has shifted from the drawing board to computers, and from 2D design to the 3D world. In addition, customer requirements have expanded from the usual machine and equipment design into multidisciplinary design projects. Now, our customers want to explore the possibilities offered by digitalisation as well as the effects of sustainable development on circular economy and the electrification of machines and vehicles.
In order to respond to evolving customer demands, Comatec has expanded its expertise with company acquisitions. Over the years, it has completed nearly 40 acquisitions and there are no plans of slowing down. The Group aims to employ up to 750 people by the year 2024.
Covid-19 briefly changed the company’s and the whole Group’s direction. Our 2020 turnover came nearly 20% below the budget due to the virus. However, we were able to quickly adjust our operations after the initial shock and transition to remote work at the same pace as our customers. Now, we are cautiously optimistic about 2021.
President and CEO Aulis Asikainen predicts that the company will survive this crisis because it has done so before. We have also learned from our past.
– After the depreciation of the Finnish mark in November 1991, customer assignments all but disappeared. Only a couple of big domestic customers kept the company afloat.
– Another crisis hit in the autumn of 2008 when the investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. Initially, we did not expect any changes to our business environment. After a delay, however, it became clear that our customers were not able to initiate new projects due to a lack of financing caused by stagnant investment markets. Furthermore, Comatec had just completed a major 130-employee company acquisition when the market halted. The company also lost nearly €2 million of its equity and laid off a third of its personnel.
– Because we have been able to survive past challenges, we will survive this pandemic. What’s more, salaries have always been paid on time, and I consider it a matter of honour, come what may.
– We will continue to be masters of high-level engineering expertise, specialising in machine building, automation and the supporting expert knowledge, summarises Mr Asikainen.