May 27, 2005
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Ala Sawmill today 

Bergvik och Ala Aktiebolag

The Bergvik mill in the early 1900s.
Bergvik och Ala Aktiebolag began as the sawmill company Gefleborgs Sågverks Actie Bolag, founded in 1852, though it changed its name to Bergviks Sågverks Aktiebolag as early as 1853. It gained its final name in 1876 and also began to produce pulp. In 1975 it became an independent subsidiary of Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags Aktiebolag and was eventually merged with it in 1985.

A group of Swedish industrialists founded a new company called Gefleborgs Sågverks Actie Bolag in Stockholm in November 1852 for the purposes of sawmilling. That autumn the founders had heard of an opportunity to acquire a paper mill and water-powered sawmill at Bergvik, beside Lake Bergviken which forms part of the water system of the River Ljusnan in Central Sweden. The newly established company bought the installations and as a result the company name was altered to Bergviks Sågverks Aktiebolag as early as the beginning of 1853.

The founders also planned to build a new sawmill at Ala on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. Construction began in 1854 and the steam-powered sawmill started up in 1855.

Bergviks Sågverks Aktiebolag faced serious financial trouble and eventually went bankrupt in 1867. The main creditor, T.M. Weguelin from London, who had already taken the company’s installations and stock as security, now acquired the company properties and in 1876 he formed a new company, Bergvik och Ala Aktiebolag. A sulphite pulp mill had already been built at Bergvik in 1874 and later the company expanded by buying other sawmills. 

Weguelin died in 1887 and during the following year the company was re-formed as Bergvik och Ala Nya Aktiebolag. When the productivity of the sulphite mill declined the mill was gradually phased out in 1897, a new one being constructed in 1903. Sulphite alcohol production also began in 1911 but the sawmill closed down in Bergvik in 1916. During the same year the British stock holders sold their shares and the company again became wholly Swedish owned.

There was heavy investment in the industrial sector and power supply, especially after World War II. In 1975 Bergvik och Ala Aktiebolag became an independent subsidiary of Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags Aktiebolag, with its own managing director and board of directors, but in 1985 it was merged with the latter company.

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Last updated/controlled: September 21, 2004

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