Fortum Hires Konecranes CEO Who Tripled Stock in Decade

Fortum Oyj hired Pekka Lundmark as chief executive officer as the utility searches for acquisition targets after selling its Nordic power distribution grids.

Lundmark, 51, will join Espoo, Finland-based Fortum in September after spending 10 years at the helm of Finnish crane maker Konecranes Oyj, the company said in a statement Thursday. Konecranes’ stock tripled during Lundmark’s tenure.

“We were impressed by his capability to both clearly conceptualize and implement strategy, and his experience in mergers and acquisitions,” Fortum Chairman Sari Baldauf said in a statement.

Fortum is concentrating on carbon-free hydro and nuclear power generation and efficient combined-heat and power production. It seeks to grow through acquisitions after completing the sale last month of its Swedish power distribution grid, the biggest divestment in the company’s history.

The utility will book 6.3 billion euros ($6.8 billion) of gains from the disposals of that network as well as the grids in Finland and Norway.

Fortum rose as much as 1 percent, Konecranes shares fell as much as 2.3 percent and the OMX Helsinki 25 index was little changed at 10:19 a.m.

“Fortum’s exceptionally strong balance sheet provides good premises for future investments in growth, clean energy and the development of new services,” Lundmark said in the statement.

Konecranes, based in Hyvinkaa, increased dividends during Lundmark’s tenure, returning 82 percent of its 2014 earnings per share to stockholders, compared with 61 percent in 2005.

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