August 21, 2023
This year, BIM Kemi celebrates 50 years as a supplier of specialty chemicals to the pulp and paper industry – an important milestone deserving of celebration and recognition. Throughout the year, we will commemorate this milestone with our colleagues across the group during local anniversary events at our units. Our headquarters in Stenkullen, Sweden, will be the first to kick off on September 1st. We will open our doors to former and current employees, collaboration partners within universities, business, local government, and industry for an afternoon of presentations and a tour of our premises, followed by an evening of dinner and dancing.
How it all started
In the early 1970s, the Nordic forestry industry was rapidly evolving. New processes were constantly being introduced, and environmental consciousness was beginning to awaken. Peter Wållberg, a young, enthusiastic, and ambitious paper chemicals salesman, noticed changing needs among his customers on his travels to the paper mills. Many paper mills demanded specialised solutions that the major suppliers couldn’t or wouldn’t provide. Peter identified a gap in the market – a potentially profitable niche for someone who could understand and meet these new customer demands. Motivated by the challenge and opportunity, Peter decides to take matters into his own hands. In the spring of 1973, he resigns from a secure and well-paying job, takes a loan of 1000 SEK from Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, and founds BIM Kemi – Sweden’s first specialty chemical company – in a small shop’s premises in Gothenburg.
Growth and success
Since it was founded by Peter Wållberg in 1973, BIM Kemi has grown from a Swedish one-man operation into a medium-sized company on an international scale. In an industry dominated by global giants, the company’s long-term vision and sustainable entrepreneurship have been key drivers of success. Since the start, BIM Kemi has been characterized by a strategic differentiation, a clear focus on innovative and sustainable solutions, and an early investment in research and development. These factors have led to several groundbreaking innovations that have helped push the pulp and paper industry forward.
BIM Kemi’s and Peter Wållberg’s dedication and contributions to the business world and the industry have been recognized through various awards over the years. These include “Family Company of the Year” (1993), Albert Bonnier’s recognition as “Business Leader of the Year” in Sweden (1995), “Role Model Entrepreneur of the Year” (2016), and Gold Medals from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) (1998) and the Swedish Royal Patriotic Society (2000).
“This journey wouldn’t have been possible without all the talented employees we have had over the years and who feel ownership of the projects – they are engaged, enjoy their work, and have fun. The staff has truly meant everything, everything, everything! It’s easy to be a leader when you have great staff!” says Peter Wållberg, founder and owner BIM Kemi.
50 years in business
On the occasion of BIM Kemi’s anniversary celebration, we wish to share memorable historical moments, highlight individuals who have paved the way for the company’s success, and narrate the story of how BIM Kemi, Sweden’s first speciality chemical company, came into existence thanks to the initiative of Peter Wållberg. Author Annika Hall has written the book “Green Chemistry – a path to success by differentiation.” A story about building a business based on clear visions, customer intimacy, and an entrepreneurial culture focused on innovative solutions. It demonstrates what is achievable when working as a team, towards a common goal, and having fun along the way.
“There are individuals for whom the impossible simply takes a little longer. They never give up, no matter how challenging life may seem. With seemingly inexhaustible energy, they persist towards their goals, confident that they will, somehow, reach them. Peter Wållberg is such a person. His character traits, combined with his passion for the forest industry, laid the foundation for BIM Kemi. In this book, I attempt to capture the company’s history over its first fifty years while seeking to understand the factors behind its successful development.” – Annika Hall, Author
The book will be published shortly and be available to anyone interested in gaining insights into BIM Kemi’s journey.
Looking ahead, BIM Kemi faces exciting challenges where we, as a chemical supplier, play a significant role in our collective efforts to replace fossils and other non-renewable materials with bio-based alternatives. It’s a challenge for which we are well-prepared with our new and exciting concepts.
About the company
BIM Kemi is a family-owned entrepreneurial company that has been developing and producing specialty chemicals for the global pulp and paper industry with a focus on sustainable solutions since 1973. Over the years, BIM Kemi has been listed four times among Europe’s top 500 rapidly growing entrepreneurial companies.
BIM Kemi employs approximately 220 people worldwide, with production units in Sweden, Norway, Finland, England, and South Africa, as well as local operations in Germany, Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Portugal, and France and agents and distributors in most other countries with pulp and paper manufacturing. The headquarters are located in Stenkullen, outside Gothenburg, Sweden, and house the central research and development department, customer service lab, and one of our five production facilities.
Links and downloads
More information about BIM Kemi and our history:
Article about the founding of BIM Kemi and our founder/owner Peter Wållberg: https://www.bimkemi.com/50-years-in-business/