FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Kalle Palander, Finland's alpine superstar, gets a piece of Halti, manufacturer of outdoor gear

Kalle Palander, Finland’s alpine superstar, gets a piece of Halti, manufacturer of outdoor gear{mosimage}Already the owner of 10 World Cup victories, Finland’s Kalle Palander appears ready to add venture capitalist to his resume. Palander is set to become part owner of Halti, a Finnish outdoor and sports-specific clothing company. Halti produces the Finnish national team uniform worn every winter by Palander and his teammates, and as the country’s brightest skiing star, Palander has already done product development and promotional work for the company.

Halti, named for the highest peak in Finland, produces outdoor gear for sports like alpine and nordic skiing, hiking, biking, climbing and camping. The company’s apparel ranges from coats and hats to backpacks and sleeping bags (see the product at halti.com).

Launched in 1976 by Junhani Hyökyvaara, the clothing company underwent some serious changes this summer. After 18 years, the Hyokyvaara family is no longer a involved with Halti. Making its first venture into Finland, English company 3i is the new minority owner (49 percent). 3i specializes in venture capital and private equity. The majority of the company (51 percent) is in the hands of the company management – managing director Risto Salo, vice president Martti Uusitalo and chief designer Martti Kellokumpo. Palander’s share is part of the majority ownership.

Halti expects the new ownership arrangements, along with Palander’s growing involvement, to help the company expand beyond Finland’s borders. The company hopes to see its product spread throughout Scandinavia and into Europe with special focus on the alpine collection.

The company hopes that Palander’s growing international presence as he pursues a World Cup overall title will have a huge part in that growth. While he is currently training in preparation for the upcoming season, Palander did find time in the off-season to design his own signature collection, the Palander Limited Edition, due out this fall. Complementing leisurewear to the Limited Edition line is due out in the spring. And, of course, the new part-owner of Halti will continue to display his company’s name on the arm of his uniform during the competition season.

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