The History of the Company


Alfred Onninen

An enterprising young man, Alfred Onninen, and his wife Olga came to Turku at the beginning of the 20th century.

Soon Mikey, Auris and Miriam were born into the family. Alfred commissioned a modern stone mansion next to his house.

Then he had problems with finishing the house because of the contractor’s bankruptcy.

Alfred Onninen was persistent and managed to push the construction of the house through.


Certificate of registration of the company Onninen

The experience Alfred got while constructing his own house made him take up construction of general utilities as a contractor (a plumbing contractor).

Onninen was established in February 19th, 1913. The new enterprise was registered in Turku.

The company was immediately fully engaged in construction of water supply municipal system.


Group photo in front of Onninen in Turku

In 1919 the company faced the necessity of moving to more spacious premises, a five-storey building in Kauppiaskatu St., Turku.

The 1920s

The company was flourishing with its business expanding from assembling to wholesaling


Brand Onninen car at the railway station at the time of shipment

Geographically Onninen expanded to Helsinki where in 1927 Vesijohtoliike Onninen OY was registered as a legal entity.

Two years later the company in Turku became a subsidiary undertaking and the old company was closed down.

The 1930s

That time appeared to be The Golden Age for Onninen with the sales return exceeding assembling work


The Onninen Family

Due to Andell’s broader view of the trading perspectives the 1938 annual report of earnings claimed that «the underlying profit was made through wholesaling with the share of assembling profit having grown».

The 1940s

Onninen deployed a chain of stores throughout Finland in the post-war years


Advertising of Onninen

Even the war couldn’t stop the business altogether. In 1943 new companies were established instead of branches in Lahti and Oulu.


In 1946 the turnover was 10 mln euros (almost 65 mln Finnish marks). Turku’s share was less than 20 per cent.

The 1950s

Onninen started working in the infrastructure segment


Marti Aurial

Marti Aurial became the President and Managing Director of Vesijohtoliike Onninen in 1950 upon Alfred Onninen’s death.


Tough competition among the clients led to payment problems and bad debts. In 1954 the company suffered the first net operating loss throughout its 40-year history.


Onninen Team, Eric J. Toivanen in the center

In 1956 Eric J. Toivanen followed in his father-in-law’s steps, Marti Aurial, having become Onninen’s Managing Director. He immediately started putting into practice his own plans about the company’s development. One of such plans was about expanding the network of shopping centers.

The 1960s

Considerable expansion of the network of branch offices and starting air handling equipment


Urho Kekkonen left

At the end of 1961 a refurbished office of Onninen was open in Kuortanenkatu St., Helsinki. The 8th President of Finland, Urho Kekkonen, was present at the ceremonial opening.


Onninen Team

In 1963 the company celebrated its 50th anniversary. At that time the company’s name was Vesionninen and it was operating in 9 regions in Finland.

The 1970s

The company entered the international market. Export sales were launched (the Soviet Union and the Middle East)


In 1971 Onninen had 860 employees.


By 1976 the company had 2000 employees who worked in the branches all over Finland.


The bigger number of employees demanded new premises which led to spending the most money ever on that in 1977.

More than 100 000 cubic metres of warehouses and office space were under construction in different parts of the country. Closing down the least efficient businesses came along with the expansion of the company itself.

The 1980s

The start of investments into the industrial sector


Pikaonninen Building

Onninen opened the first shopping center for technical consumer goods according to the system «Cash and Carry», Pikaonninen. By the end of 1986 there had been 8 stores like that.


Головной офис Оннинен в городе Вантаа

By 1980 the former headquarters became too small. A new place was found in Vantaa where they started constructing a regional warehouse and the new headquarters which opened its doors in 1984.

The 1990s

Onninen continued its international expansion with opening new branches and carrying out mergers and acquisitions


Onninen Office, Tallinn

In 1992 Onninen enters the Estonian market by opening an affiliated company in Tallinn.


Onninen Warehouse Complex, Saint-Petersburg

In 1993 Onninen opened its branch in Russia, Saint-Petersburg.

Entering the Russian market was not that simple. Onninen has a reputation of an enterprise with officially reported salaries, paying all customs fees and taxes. That time Onninen looked strange caring about its social commitments.


In 1994 Onninen entered the Latvian market opening a branch in Riga.


In 1995 Onninen entered the Lithuanian market with a branch in Vilnius.

Later that year Onninen entered the Swedish market acquiring and merging with a wholesaler, Holinvord.


In 1996 Onninen entered the Polish market with a branch in Warsaw.

The 2000s

The company entered the new millennium as a modern supplier of ready-made logistics solutions


Maarit Toivanen-Koivisto

Maarit Toivanen-Koivisto followed in her father’s steps becoming Director-General in 2000.


In 2002 Onninen entered the Norwegian market becoming the leader in electrotechnics after the acquisition and merger with Eilag Teknikk AS.


Onninen Mega Express

2005 saw the opening of the first outlet of Onninen Mega Express.


In 2007 Onninen bought Teletekno OY, a large telecommunication and networking equipment wholesaler.


In 2009 a new maintenance shop for steel products opened in Hattula.

The 2010s

Onninen’s history is going on. New discoveries and strong gains are yet to come our way


Today Onninen is the leading supplier of plumbing, air handling and electrical equipment in the Baltic States and Scandinavia.

The company has about 150 outlets in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Baltic countries and Russia.

Onninen is a part of KESKO Group’s building and technical trade division from 1 of June 2016.

Onninen has about 3200 employees, 1200 of them working in Finland.

Appreciate the scope of our activities on the map of the world!

The sales geography