Strength in numbers certainly applies to Södra’s evolution. When the individual forest owners joined forces, the result was more than the sum of its parts.
Södra's first industry is a factory for tar and turpentine in Lenhovda. The turpentine is used as fuel in the company's passenger cars during the war years, and this same year, Södra also buys ten trucks with return assemblies.
Södra’s sawmill history began in 1943 with the takeover of a sawmill in Hallabro, Blekinge. Production volumes were low, but they met the needs of local customers at the time. Today Södra´s customer base is global.
Through the acquisition of Svenska Idealhus in Hultsfred and later two further wood industries, the foundation is laid for Hultsfreds-Hus, which eventually develops into the country's largest wooden house factory. Hultsfreds-Hus remains in Södra's possession until 1981.
Now, Södra has 19,000 members. Sydsvenska wood compound wants to lower the wood prices, and Södra begins to think about building a pulp mill.
In the early 1950s, the debate focused on whether forest ownership should be confined to a few large operators or remain in the hands of small forest owners.
Södra is now a large company with a turnover of more than 100 million and more than 1,500 employees.
Organising the company into forestry districts has facilitated better service to forest owners. Forest inspectors who were trained in forest management were employed at an early stage to help spread knowledge about forests.
After World War II, the need for firewood declined and forest owners began to explore what they could do with all their wood. This marked the beginning of Södra’s entry into pulp production and in 1958, the company´s first pulp mill came on stream at Mönsterås.
Södra opens the pulp mill in Mörrum.
When the new Land Acquisition Act was to be adopted in 1965, Södra’s morale was high and its business model made sense. The Värnamo meeting was to prove a powerful demonstration for the user's right to land and forest.
Södra’s members had already contributed capital for the expansion of the mills at an earlier stage. They invested a couple of million SEK in the 1952 industrial loan when the pulp mill at Mönsterås was under construction.
Södra's new headquarters at Skogsudden in Växjö is completed and at the same time, a new era begins in Södra's sawmill history.
Several years of forest are wrecked in the storms in 1969 and it is becoming a financial catastrophe for many forest owners.
Sales exceeded SEK 1 billion, of which exports amount to 400 million.
The pulp mill in Värö is opened and Södra now has more than 1 100 forest workers. They no longer need to buy their own chainsaws but may use those that Södra has purchased.
Södra buys several industries, including Klippans Finpappersbruk. Most will later be sold or closed in an attempt to solve Södra's financial problems.
At the end of the 1970s, Södra was hit by a financial crisis. The Swedish government became a shareholder, but after several drastic measures, Södra once again became wholly owned by its members.
Södra takes over the Norwegian pulp mills Tofte and Folla from Norske Skog. Södra is now the third largest pulp producer in the world.
Four sawmills and five factories for wood products are purchased by Geijerträ. Then Gapro also includes lists, panels and floors. New factories are purchased in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Södra's positive development continues with a good dividend to its members - 449 million SEK and 152 million as a share issue. The wood volume amounts to 15 million cubic meters.
Gudrun - one of the worst storms in our history - strikes.
Bohuslän and Dalsland leave Mellanskog and become part of Södra's operations. Forest owners in the two counties are offered membership.
Decisions are made of investments of SEK 6 billion in the Group's three pulp mills.
The two business areas Södra Timber and Södra Interiör merge and become Södra Wood.
Södra restructures the sawmill movement, which means the decommissioning of the sawmills in Ramkvilla and Torsås, the decommissioning of the sawmill plant in Djursdala and the acquisition of British timber distributor Crown Timber.
Södra invests and expands for the future. In total, SEK 6 billion is invested, of which 4 billion in the power plant in Värö. The expansion means increased production from 425,000 tonnes to 700,000 tonnes of pulp per year. The mill thus becomes one of the world's largest, most modern and most energy efficient for the production of softwood sulphate pulp.