The climate of Northern Europe imposes immense demands on the basic structures of society. The seasonal variations are great – yet people expect their living environments to be as functional and pleasant in the coldest winter as in the sweltering summer. High requirements and demanding conditions have refined YIT into what it is today – the leading service company focused on building, developing and maintaining technical living environments.
YIT’s story begins in 1912, at the Helsinki branch office established by the Swedish company Ab Allmänna Ingeniörsbyrån in the then Grand Duchy of Finland. The company’s goal was to enter the Russian market through Finland. The efforts were curbed by World War I and Finland’s independence, and the company withdrew from the Finnish market.
Finnish businessmen resumed the activities in 1920 by founding Ab Allmänna Ingeniörsbyrån – Yleinen Insinööritoimisto Oy. The company quickly established a solid reputation and built water supply systems for most of Finland’s cities.
In its current form, YIT is composed of an entity with three predecessors: Yleinen Insinööritoimisto Oy, Pellonraivaus Oy – which was established during World War II and changed its name to Perusyhtymä Oy in 1968 – and Insinööritoimisto Vesto Oy. In 1961, Pellonraivaus acquired the majority of shares in YIT and Vesto, thereby becoming the parent company of both companies, which nonetheless remained independent entities. The companies competed with each other in different sectors of the construction industry.
From 1977 to 1982, the companies were engaged in extensive construction exports to the Soviet Union. In 1986, Vesto’s operations were integrated into those of Yleinen Insinööritoimisto. The following year, the operations of Yleinen Insinööritoimisto were incorporated to the operations of Perusyhtymä, which changed its name into YIT-Yhtymä Oy. At this point, all of the operations of YIT’s predecessor companies had been transferred under the same company.
YIT-Yhtymä went public in 1995, by listing on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. The company also expanded its operations from construction to building system services by acquiring the Finnish company Oy Huber Ab. Huber also provided YIT with a foothold in the Swedish market.
The year 1997 saw YIT’s expansion into Russia, when the company acquired the St. Petersburg-based construction company ZAO Lentek. Instead of construction projects, the acquisition allowed YIT to concentrate on housing development and plot acquisitions in Russia.
In the 2000s, YIT has grown into an international corporation due to corporate acquisitions in the fields of both building system services and housing construction. The decade was marked by YIT’s acquisition of Calor Ab in Sweden, ABB’s Building Systems business segment in eight countries and the building system services segment of the German company MCE AG in six countries.
By 2008, YIT had become the largest foreign building company in Russia. In addition to St. Petersburg, housing construction expanded and came to include Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Rostov. In 2010, YIT acquired a small Slovakian construction company, with the objective of becoming a major housing construction company in the countries of eastern Central Europe, alongside Russia and the Baltic countries.
During the same year, YIT also acquired the building system services business of the German company Caverion, thereby making the building system services business segment YIT’s largest.
As for the current decade, YIT’s most important business segments were construction and building system services. Regarding the latter, YIT’s goal was to become a major service provider in the Nordic countries and Central Europe.
In 2013, YIT demerged into two separate companies. Building System services were transferred into Caverion. YIT continued to focus on construction services.