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History of Fors MW

Leif Fors*, founder of Fors Mekaniska Werkstad (Fors MW), was a true entrepreneur. As so often with entrepreneurs, it was not the goal in itself that was the attraction, but rather the journey there. Towards the end of the 80s, Leif could never have imagined that a machine business would be the start of a journey that would lead to the establishment of one of Europe’s largest production plants for forestry and agricultural machinery in Estonia.

Regrettably, Leif Fors passed away in April of 2015 after several years of suffering from cancer. The company is led today in the second generation by Leif’s daughter, Ulrica Fors.

Fors MW was founded in 1992

Leif told us how it all began: “At the end of the 80s I took the ferry over to Estonia. The main reason for the trip was curiosity, and a great deal of general interest. But the misery I encountered just 400 kilometres off the Swedish coast had a profound effect on me.

I just couldn’t ignore it and go home. As an entrepreneur, I felt I was forced to do something. I chose to stay, and since then I have never really returned. I saw misery, but also possibilities. Opportunities for me personally to create a future there, but also an opportunity to get involved, to make a difference, and create a future for others as well.” Fors MW was established in 1992 and today is the oldest Swedish company in Estonia.

From candlesticks to forestry trailers

Leif continues: “The company began by manufacturing everything from circular saws to candlesticks, but it was not exactly booming. My interest in forestry led me towards the idea of manufacturing a lumber trailer.”


And so it was, the first FARMA trailer was constructed on the factory floor. Initially the quality was nothing to boast about, but the price level was something else and ground-breaking. For the first time ever, smaller forest land owners had the opportunity to buy a lumber trailer, and sales rapidly increased.


Leif continues: “I have always liked the forest, and this led quite naturally to an interest in soil and land. It was therefore exciting in the early 90s to be able to start my own forestry and farm in Estonia. Today the estate consists of 1500 hectares in one block, of which 1100 hectares are forest.


The choice of lumber trailer was obvious, and over the years the Fors MW products have been industriously tested on the estate. It has happened many times that I have come into the factory in a state of irritation, after working hard on the estate during the weekend and involving everyone in the erroneous positioning of a cylinder. This resulted in us learning a lot during the course of the work. We learned to use our products in practice.”

The fire

Fors MW has experienced and withstood most things, from the collapse of the Estonian banks in 1997 that almost drove us towards bankruptcy, to that night in February in 2006 when the fire alarm connected to my mobile started ringing at five o’clock in the morning. “I raced to the factory, only to see my life’s work go up in flames”, Leif told us. The damage after the fire was so extensive that it went down in history as the biggest industrial fire in Estonia.

Looking back, you notice that it is in crisis that you learn the biggest lessons. And in order to build up a functioning business again after the fire, planning was everything. A lot of work was put into the actual rebuilding, but we had to balance this with our determination to still satisfy the demands of the market and requirements around our products.


The result was a rapid recovery, we quickly found the right balance between reconstruction and maintaining what it was that had motivated Fors MW from the very beginning, product development and innovation.  During the time Fors MW has existed, it is precisely product development and innovation that have been our great passions. We have always sought to improve, and we will continue to do so.


Our history has made us respectful of the future. We know that anything can happen, and we know that you are never better than your latest innovation or customer contact. Follow the continuation of our journey in social media.


Regrettably, Leif Fors passed away in April of 2015 after several years of suffering from cancer. The company is led today in the second generation by Leif’s daughter, Ulrica Fors.