From a mobile phone factory to a pharmaceutical plant

Salo, a small town in western Finland, hits hard times when 2,000 employees are made redundant from the Nokia mobile phone factory in summer 2012. Fortunately, there are signs of better times in the air: in the autumn of the same year, Orion buys the vacant production and storage facilities. Salo provides an excellent location between Orion’s plants in Espoo and Turku, and the company decides to centralise its logistics operations and most of its tablet packaging operations in Salo.

A new pharmaceutical plant is a rarity in modern Finland. Nevertheless, the Salo plant is inaugurated in March 2014.

“The pharmaceutical industry is a high-tech industry with active international networking. Finland has an excellent level of pharmaceutical competence,” says Timo Lappalainen, President and CEO of Orion, in conjunction with the inauguration. Orion has centralised its pharmaceutical production in Finland, and its chain of pharmaceutical research and development employs more than 500 people in the country.

For Salo, the investment is a welcome boost and also creates much-needed jobs. Many of the employees at the new Orion plant used to work for the mobile phone factory.

“We have been joking about ending up working here again,” says packaging operator Matti Hirvonen in Helsingin Sanomat at around the time of the inauguration. “This is interesting and varied work, as there is always something that needs development. It’s nice when you can learn something new in your job.”