Insights/22 Dec 2014

SATS ELIXIA grows muscle in the fitness market

A merger between two rivals in the fast growing health and fitness industry succeeded through solid leadership and experienced advice.

Minna Saarelainen from Borenius and Country Manager Anne Ketola from SATS ELIXIA.

Text Heini Santos
Photos Paula Kukkonen/Otavamedia

BORENIUS FINLAND – The owners of fitness center chains SATS and ELIXIA decided in 2013 to combine operations. Instead of centralizing administration to a parent company they ended up with an arrangement of two separate and independent companies. Each of them took responsibility of different administrative functions such as facilities, HR, or sales and marketing. This naturally led to overlapping duties within the merger.

–­ We had to run two separate co-operation procedures side by side, while also dealing with owner- level decisions and simultaneous layoffs in Sweden and Norway, says Country Manager Anne Ketola from SATS ELIXIA who was in charge of running the operation in Finland.

Lawyer hotline

Borenius handled all the necessary documentation and paperwork and kept in close contact with the law firm advising in the process in Sweden.

–­ You could say I had a hotline to Borenius. Each of the two organizations had their own HR managers but not this kind of expertise. Compared to my previous experience with co-operation procedures this was more difficult. Combining two organizations, we had more people who we could not offer work for anymore, Ketola says.

– The procedure was very smart. They formed a team – two people from ELIXIA and two from SATS – to work on the process in Finland. As the team leader Anne kept everything in her hands and communicated with the top level, says Minna Saarelainen from Borenius.

She admits that this was her first time advising in a merger where the two companies did not merge their administration into one company.

- I did not have all the answers up my sleeve. It takes not only experience and routine but courage to trust your decisions and stand behind them.

Contact the Employment practise at Borenius (Finland)

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