Unique collaboration between a water company and reindeer herders

Hile Water is a water company that is building the world's first spring water packaging plant that operates on nature's terms, in the Saariselkä organic collection area in Finnish Lapland.

The production plant will produce unprocessed, pure spring water for the Finnish and international markets. Hile Water is investing in developing its water brands and strengthening the market position of Finnish water internationally – on terms dictated by nature and Lapland.

“The Reindeer Herders’ Association of Ivalo was our first point of contact. We were in touch with them directly and went, as complete rookies, to help them in a reindeer round-up. A handshake contract was enough to seal the deal. We also called the Sámi Parliament of Finland, and they appreciated our way of operating: our openness and our willingness to cooperate. The locals have supported and encouraged our project from the start. The friendliness of the local residents and entrepreneurs has been unprecedented,” says Markus Kivelä of Hile Water, describing the project’s inception.

Spring water on Lapland’s terms

Many efforts have previously been made to export Finnish spring water, which has been proven to be the purest in the world. Especially our Arctic water has attracted attention. Finland is located far from the places where water is needed the most, but all problems can be solved with careful planning.

For Juhani Perämäki, Chairman of Hile Water, the solution lies especially in Lapland’s water resources. According to Perämäki, Lapland is the answer in terms of logistics, quality and image alike.

“Northern rail connections and the Arctic Ocean in particular made Saariselkä a good location for our water intake plant. Logistics to high-volume export destinations, such as China, Japan, and the rest of the Far East, work better from there than from southern Finland. The exoticism and unspoiled nature of Lapland are also intriguing to consumers in these countries,” Perämäki explains, with regard to the opportunities offered by the region.

Responsible investment

Hile Water is currently raising capital via a share issue to build a new production line at water springs in the Saariselkä organic collection area. The objective is to export luxury water to various parts of the world, as well as to produce high-volume products for the Finnish market through the creation of several water brands. Hile Water is also an official water partner of Santa Claus.

The ecology of packaging has been carefully considered.

“Our aim is to use liquid carton packaging for most of our water. Glass bottles, such as Santa Claus water and the upcoming ecologically produced glass bottle designed by Harri Koskinen for our Inari water, will remain a premium product to be sold to restaurants, for example. New materials are nevertheless a way for us to stand out in the future. We can track the origins of our products and their packaging very accurately,” Perämäki explains.

Water business requires strong competence throughout the organisation

“The most common mistake companies make is setting their expectations too high. They take on debt and rush into things. At Hile Water, we do things differently. Progressing with less haste, we are now collecting capital and keeping our feet firmly on the ground. We strive to inform our investors as accurately as possible about what we do with the money we have raised,” Juhani Perämäki assures.

The target is to raise EUR 7.5 million for the construction of a production line at springs located in the Saariselkä organic collection area and for building Finland’s brand as a water exporter. Hile Water has spent years on determined groundwork. Its organisation and background are in order.

“Our organisation comprises strong entrepreneurial competence, as well as experience of international and domestic business operations, logistics, sales, marketing communications, purchasing, automation and the water business. Our foundations are all set,” Perämäki says.