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International investments in Finland are growing

Written by Cecilia Helland on Wednesday, 23 July 2014. Posted in Main 3, Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 1

Foreign direct investments in Finland started to increase in 2013. There were 213 new investments made in Finland last year, compared to 153 during the previous year, according to statistics compiled by Invest in Finland.

The major source countries for investments in Finland were Sweden, Britain and the United States. The most investments were made in the consumer retail sector, business services, the health care and wellbeing sector, and the ICT sector.

According to preliminary data from UNCTAD, foreign direct investments reached a total of about USD 1460 billion globally, which was 11% more than the year before (2012: USD 1317 billion). Investments into developing countries continued to grow, contributing 52% of the total investment flows. However, investment flows into the developed countries remained at a historically low level for the second consecutive year, contributing 39% of the total. Nevertheless, foreign investments in the EU countries increased, while investment flows to the United States continued to decrease.

“Finland has gained its share of the growth in foreign direct investments. Despite the challenging global economic and competitive situation, there are always companies looking for new business opportunities. The task of Invest in Finland, and Team Finland as a whole, is to recognise these opportunities in Finland and to communicate about them to internationalizing companies around the world,” says Ville Aittomäki, Executive Vice President at Invest in Finland.

Lidl increases its market share in Finland

Written by Cecilia Helland on Wednesday, 23 April 2014. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 2, Main 5 - 3st

German daily consumer goods retailer is attracting higher customer flows and increased spending among Finnish households.

The German retail chain Lidl increased its share of the Finnish daily consumer goods market to 6.6% in 2013, according to research by Nielsen. This is 1.1% higher than Lidl’s market share in 2012. According to Nielsen, Lidl’s growth is based on its increasing customer flows and the fact that Finnish households increased their spending in Lidl stores by 20% during the past year.

Lidl established its first store in Finland in August 2002 and now has 141 stores around the country. According to Lidl, it was the first international daily consumer goods retailer to enter the Finnish market, creating more competition and offering Finnish consumers a different kind of product selection with a lower price level.

Growing sales

The total sales of daily consumer goods in Finland increased by 3.2% last year, reaching a total of EUR 16.66 billion. The volume of sales remained almost the same as in the year before. S-group had the biggest market share with 45.7%, followed by K-Group with 34%, and Suomen Lähikauppa with 7%.

The number of specialist stores selling bread, organic products and local produce has increased noticeable to around 900, according to Nielsen’s analysis of the Finnish daily consumer goods market. Their sales increased by 11.9% in 2013 and contributed 1.7% of the total sales in the daily consumer goods market.


Source - Lidl

Europe’s first diamond mine planned in Finland

Written by Cecilia Helland on Wednesday, 09 April 2014. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 2, Main 5 - 3st

Karhu Mining Oy and Firestone Diamonds aim to process about 600,000 tonnes of ore annually.

The Finnish company Karhu Mining Oy, backed by the British company Firestone Diamonds, are aiming to establish the first diamond mine in Europe in Lahtojoki, about 30km east of the city of Kuopio in eastern Finland. According to the Finnish broadcasting corporation Yle, Karhu Mining has applied for a mining patent survey from the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes, which is the first step in the process to open a new mine.

The four-hectare open-pit mine is planned to operate for eight years. With production aimed to start in the second year, the mine will process about 600,000 tonnes of ore from a total annual extraction of 1.9 million tonnes.

Interest in Finnish diamonds

The first diamond discoveries in Lahtomaki were made in the late 1980s when the biggest diamond discovered measured 4.3mm in diameter. Karhu Mining took a 2000 tonne sample from the Lahtojoki area in 2005 of which 500 tonnes were processed at the Outokumpu laboratory of the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), which offers sampling, sample processing and other exploration services for diamond exploration companies.

According to GTK, other companies involved in diamond exploration in Finland since the 1980s include Ashton Mining Ltd, RTZ Mining & Exploration Ltd, Finsearch Oy ( De Beers), Glenmore Highlands Inc. (ASE), Conroy P.l.c., North Star Diamonds A.S. (Poplar Resources Inc., VSE), Baltic Minerals Finland Oy, America Mineral Fields Inc. (TSE) and Archangel Diamond Corp. These companies have not released any information concerning their success.

Source - Tukes

Samsung and VTT develop eco-campus model in Finland

Written by Cecilia Helland on Wednesday, 27 November 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 1, Right bottom - 8st

Comprehensive monitoring system and remote management can significantly improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

A joint pilot project by Samsung and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing solutions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings through monitoring and remote technology management. Launched last year, the project at a university campus in Otaniemi aims to show that energy consumption of the buildings in the area can be reduced by 15% with the help of new
monitoring technology.

Reaching this goal looks possible, according Senior Researcher Janne Peltonen from VTT. “We are now half-way through the project and have already managed to achieve an average energy saving of 15% in many locations. But verifying the effects of the system will still require monitoring for a few more years,” says Peltonen.

10,000 data points

The monitoring system created by VTT collects information from about 10,000 different data points in 100 buildings on the campus regarding their electricity, heat and water use as well as temperature, carbon dioxide levels, moisture, lighting and the electric load of equipment. The data is transferred real-time to a remote management centre. The comprehensive monitoring makes it possible to intervene quickly in problem areas.

People living or working in the campus buildings can also follow the data produced by the monitoring system through mobile applications developed by VTT and Samsung. The long-term objective is to make Otaniemi campus emission-free and self-sufficient in energy by the year 2030.


Sources - Talouselämä

SoftBank and GungHo invest USD 1.5 billion in Supercell

Written by Cecilia Helland on Friday, 18 October 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 4, Main 7 - 3st

Highly profitable Finnish mobile game company will continue to operate independently, based in Finland’s dynamic game development environment.

Japanese companies SoftBank and GungHo have announced a strategic investment of USD 1.53 billion in Supercell, a fast-growing Finnish mobile game company that was founded in 2010. Under the agreement, a special purpose company will be jointly established by SoftBank and GungHo in Finland, which will hold 51% of Supercell’s outstanding voting stock.

While leveraging SoftBank’s strategic resources, Supercell will continue to operate independently and continue its operations Finland, which has established an international reputation as an innovative hub of the game industry. According to SoftBank, the new strategic partnership will help accelerate Supercell’s goal of becoming the “first truly global games company”.

Most exciting companies and innovations

Following the announcement, Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO, SoftBank Corp., wrote in Supercell’s blog: “In our quest to become the #1 mobile Internet company, we scour the globe in search of interesting opportunities and right now some of the most exciting companies and innovations are coming out of Finland.  Supercell is one of those rare and special companies.”

Supercell’s two game apps, Clash of Clans and Hay Day, were launched in 2012. They reached the top position in the Top Grossing ranking of Apple’s App Store in 137 countries and 96 countries, respectively. From February 2013 to August 2013, Supercell was the leading publisher in the world among the apps in the Games category of the App Store. According to Financial Times, Supercell’s operating profit in the first quarter of this year was USD 106 million from USD 179 million of revenues.

Finland ranked highly in OECD Skills Outlook 2013

Written by Cecilia Helland on Wednesday, 16 October 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 2, Right bottom - 8st

Young Finnish adults are among the leaders in numeracy, literacy proficiency and problem solving in technology-rich environments.

Finland’s adult population is ranked among the most skilled in the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills, which assesses the proficiency of adults from age 16 onwards in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. About 166,000 adults aged 16-65 were surveyed in 24 countries and sub-national regions, including 22 OECD member countries.

The results of the survey show that adults in Finland and Japan have the largest shares of top-performers in terms of skills. Finland has the highest average numeracy proficiency among young adults (16–24 year-olds), and the second highest score among all adults (19–65 year-olds). Finland also scores highly for proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments among adults. Finland has the second highest score for literacy proficiency among adults, and more than double the average proportion of adults at the highest literacy proficiency levels.

Key competencies

According to the survey, high scores mean that adults can perform, for example, multiple-step operations to integrate, interpret, or synthesise information from complex or lengthy texts that involve conditional and/or competing information. They can also analyse and engage in complex reasoning about quantities and data, statistics and chance, spatial relationships, change, proportions and formulae; and perform tasks involving multiple steps and select appropriate problem-solving strategies and processes. The survey describes these skills as “key information-processing competencies” that are relevant to adults in many social contexts and work situations.

The survey also highlights the success of vocational education and training for adults in Finland. Each year, more than 1.7 million Finnish adults, or over 60% of the adult population, participate in adult education, vocational education and apprenticeship training, leading to better employment prospects and a greater capacity among adults to adapt to the labour market. Finland also has the second highest score for readiness to learn and key information-processing skills in adult education.

Source: OECD Skills Outlook 2013

700 new wind turbines by 2020

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 20 August 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 4, Main 6 - 3st

For investors seeking new markets, Finland offers a multitude of attractive opportunities in renewable energy. In fact, these opportunities are unique, even on a European scale.

Forerunner in renewable energy

In the overall use of renewable energy, Finland is one of the leaders in Europe: renewable consumption as a share of gross final energy consumption is at 33%, when the EU-average is 8.7%. Still, Finland is committed to further increasing the share of renewables, up to 38% by 2020.

To reach the target, the share of renewable consumption must be increased by 30 TWh within a decade, which entails increasing the usage of biomass for energy by 16 TWh, wind energy by 6 TWh and heat pumps by 2.6 TWh. For the time being, the usage of biogas and wind as energy sources remains low in Finland, but an intense increase in their share is expected over the next few years.

Project pipeline of 8900 MW

A large number of wind power parks are planned for Finland, both off-shore and on-shore. At present, the production planned for Finland totals 8900 MW, of which off-shore projects account for 34 per cent, and on-shore, 66 per cent. The capacity installed so far totals only about 300 MW.

In the future we foresee excellent opportunities for larger international renewable energy producers and investors as well as construction, operation and maintenance companies. Several international & domestic companies have already entered the market to develop parks and supply wind turbines.

Finland’s strategic objective of increasing renewable energy sources’ share of energy production to almost 40 per cent by 2020 means that the country will emerge as one of the most attractive investment targets in the field in Europe – and not only due to the increasing share of wind power. In addition, this entails investments in various biofuels and increasing the utilisation of waste for energy, not to mention a variety of new technologies for enhancing energy efficiency.

Read more about the latest wind sector investors

Clas Ohlson continues to expand in Finland

Written by Tony Harkén on Friday, 09 August 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 6 - 3st, Main 5

Swedish hardware store retail chain Clas Ohlson is continuing to expand its network of stores in Finland.

The next store launch will take place in the Kannelmäki district of Helsinki in October.  Clas Ohlson has already established two new stores in Finland earlier this year, and opened four new stores in 2012, taking its total number of stores in Finland to 30.

Clas Ohlson’s turnover in Finland during the accounting year ending in September 2012 was EUR 57.2 million, which was almost 20% higher than in the previous year. The company specialises in hardware, home, leisure, electrical and multimedia products.

Next store launch in Puuvilla shopping centre

In October 2014, Clas Ohlson will open a store at the new Puuvilla shopping centre in Pori, western Finland, which is set to become the largest business and educational complex in the Satakunta region. The centrally located Puuvilla site is being developed by Renor and Ilmarinen in cooperation with Skanska, and is planned as a diverse retail, cultural and entertainment cluster.

The vision is to develop Puuvilla into a new living and work room for the Satakunta region, offering high quality facilities for retail operations as well as educational, cultural and government activities. About one third of the retail stores in Puuvilla will be for new brands that Pori has not offered before.


Source: Kauppalehti

Finland - The global logistics hub by 2040

Written by Cecilia Helland on Tuesday, 23 July 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 1, Main 6 - 3st

Finland’s geopolitical and economic position will undergo significant changes and move from periphery into the centre of global logistics by the year 2040,

Arctic storm reports. Changes are caused by melting of the Arctic Sea ice, energy resources in northern Canada and Russia, and Trans-Asian Railway Reform through Russia.

According to the latest report from Aalto University, for the next 30 years, world’s operational focus will be on the Northern Hemisphere. Finland's position will change from the periphery to the centre of global logistics, describe the authors of the Arctic storm report, future-researcher Mika Aaltonen and Michael Loescher, an ex-adviser to the U.S. administration.

Arctic storm – the concept behind Arctic storm is perception of three global drivers of change in the territory of Finland. First of all, the melting of the Arctic sea ice will open up new logistics routes in the northern hemisphere. Secondly, global warming will give easier access to energy resources in northern Canada and Russia. The third change is caused by technical reform of the Trans-Asian railway across Russia. The Trans-Asian railway could give a fast route to Asia.


New law boosts wind power construction in Finland

Written by Cecilia Helland on Friday, 19 July 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 1, Main 6 - 3st

Law removes obstacles to wind power construction resulting from surveillance radars in the Bay of Bothnia.

A new law has come into effect in Finland which removes the obstacles to wind power construction arising from possible disturbances in the operation of surveillance radars in the Bay of Bothnia region. According to the law, the disturbances in the operation of surveillance radars can be eliminated in specifically defined areas by developing the surveillance systems of the Finnish Defence Forces, for example through an additional radar. This will ensure the functioning of territorial surveillance, while promoting rapid construction of wind power in areas with especially favourable wind conditions and numerous pending projects.

The first wind power development area coming under the new law encompasses 2,425 square kilometres in the municipalities of Hailuoto, Lumijoki, Raahe, Siikajoki and Pyhäjoki in the Bay of Bothnia region. Fairly advanced plans already exist for the construction of more than 160 turbines in the area, the majority of which lack the Defence Forces’ statement confirming there will be no disturbance to surveillance systems. Under the new law, the construction of the wind turbines is now possible even if the statement is lacking or was negative.

Green light for wind farms

Wind power producers planning to construct wind farms in the Bay of Bothnia wind power area must pay a compensation fee of EUR 50,000 euros for each turbine. These payments will make up the compensation sum, which will total 18.5 million euros for the Bay of Bothnia wind power area. The new law creates an arrangement that is reasonable and equitable to all companies planning to construct wind power in a given area, now or in the future. Electricity generated by the wind farms to be constructed in the Bay of Bothnia wind power area is estimated to amount to over 1 TWh in 2020.

To ensure a rapid start, the state will participate in the financing solution in the early stages, enabling acquisition of additional radar by the Defence Forces during the summer. The new wind farms can then begin operating on 1 January 2014.

Finland has areas with favourable wind conditions where the estimated effects of wind farms on surveillance radars are currently the principal cause preventing wind power construction. Obtaining a construction permit for wind farms requires a statement from the Defence Forces confirming that the farms will not disturb the statutory duties of the Defence Forces under normal or abnormal conditions or in a state of emergency. A negative statement has consistently formed an obstacle to wind farm construction in the area.


Source: Ministry of Employment and the Economy

Finland’s game industry is growing fast

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 15 July 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 1, Right bottom - 8st

The total value of the Finnish game industry is estimated to reach EUR 600–800 million this year.

Finland’s game industry has been growing much faster in the past decade than the global game market, according to Neogames, the umbrella organisation of the Finnish game cluster. The compound annual growth rate of the industry in the period 2004–2012 has been about 26%.

The turnover of the Finnish game industry was EUR 250 million in 2012, compared to EUR 105 million in 2011. This year, the total value of the Finnish game industry is estimated at EUR 600–800 million, which includes all the economic activity related to the industry. Neogames estimates that by the year 2020, the turnover of the industry will be EUR 1.49 billion.

Many new companies

The Finnish game industry currently has about 200 game companies and employs more than 2000 people. According to Neogames, a significant part of the companies are developing mobile games, but there is development virtually to all existing platforms. The start-up scene is vibrant and over 40% of the existing game companies have been established during the last two years.

In 2011–2012, Finnish game companies attracted investments totaling USD 81.3 million. The biggest investments went to Rovio and Supercell, which are also the most well-known Finnish game companies internationally.

According to Neogames, the game industry has been so successful in Finland due to a combination of many factors. For example, Finland is a location where innovation meets excellent technology know-how and it has a good price-quality ratio. Finland also offers world class game education and research as well as a strong gaming and game development culture.

Source: Neogames

Lithium mining planned to start in Finland in 2015

Written by Tony Harkén on Thursday, 27 June 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 2, Main 6 - 3st

Keliber Oy reports excellent test drilling results and is raising finance for lithium mining in western Finland.

The Finnish mining company Keliber Oy is planning to start operations at its Ullava lithium mine in 2015 if the funding is in place, according to the company’s CEO Olle Sirén. Keliber is aiming to raise EUR 60 million from a share issue or private equity investors. Keliber is owned by Finnish private investors and investment companies (62%) and Norwegian Nordic Mining ASA (38%).

Keliber Oy is engagedin searching for and developing spodumene-rich pegmatite deposits in the Central Ostrobothnia region in western Finland. The company has a valid mining licence for a deposit in Ullava and claims on more than other 20 areas for other spodumene-bearing pegmatite deposits, covering a total area of more than 2500 hectares.

Mine life estimated in decades

According to Sirén, Keliber has carried out about 7km of test drilling this year with excellent results. The Geological Survey of Finland has also estimated that the known mineral deposits in Central Ostrobothnia would be large enough to support mining for several tens of years.

The demand for lithium is expected to increase rapidly in the future due the growing demand for batteries for mobile devices, cordless tools and electric cars. A new method has been developed for lithium processing which produces almost 100% pure lithium as a raw material for the battery industry.


Source: Tekniikka & Talous,

International companies: Finland has an excellent business environment

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 10 June 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 6 - 3st, Main 7

The top managers of foreign-owned companies operating in Finland are satisfied with country’s business environment, according to a new survey.

The survey mapped out the views of decision-makers of foreign companies located in Finland about the country’s business environment, and about how the public sector could support the operations of foreign companies. The survey was conducted by Taloustutkimus Oy.

Three quarters of the respondents state that operating in the Finnish market is already a smooth process. More than half say that the company they are managing is making a good profit. The respondents are quite unanimous that the availability of energy, electricity, store and business premises is at a good level in Finland. The majority (69%) also state that the availability of private business services, highly educated labour (74%) and logistical connections (68%) are good.

About half of the respondents view the cost level of highly educated labour and of store and business premises as very or quite competitive. The price level of other factors is seen as competitive by about a third of the respondents.

The target group of the survey conducted by Taloustutkimus was the decision-makers of foreign companies located in Finland. In total, 221 people responded to the survey. The data was collected through telephone interviews and email questionnaires in February – March 2013.

DB Schenker builds new terminal in Finland

Written by Tony Harkén on Thursday, 30 May 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Right left , Right bottom - 8st

Transportation and logistics services provider DB Schenker, a business unit of Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, is investing 53 million euros in a new terminal in Vantaa, Finland.

The premises, located in the Viinikkala logistics area close to Helsinki airport, will consist of about 52,300 square metres of terminal and office buildings. The terminal will operate land transport, parcel services and home deliveries as well as air and ocean freight. It is expected to be completed in July 2015.

All operations will be combined under one roof in a warm terminal hall of 25,200 square metres. Additionally there will be an unheated terminal of 3,300 square metres.

— Combining all operations in one building will improve our efficiency and productivity and streamline our cargo flows between different transport modes, says Göran Åberg, CEO of Oy Schenker East Ab, the parent company of DB Schenker Finland.

Finland already features prominently in DB Schenker’s plans. The region of East European countries, for example, is led by DB Schenker Finland.

— This new facility is one of the largest investments of DB Schenker globally and one of the largest land transport terminals in Europe, says Åberg.

Investment in the terminal will mainly be financed by a group internal loan from Deutsche Bahn.

DB Schenker has been located in the Metsälä area of Helsinki for decades but its current ground lease ends in 2015, prompting the need to build a new terminal in the capital area. The new facility will employ current staff from the Metsälä site.

— Vantaa is good for our purposes because of its location near the airport, harbour and main highways as well as the public transport for our employees, says Pasi Ripatti, communications manager for DB Schenker Finland.

In November 2012 DB Schenker opened a brand new logistics center of 24,500 square meters in Nurmijärvi municipality, 37 kilometres north of Helsinki, focusing on the automotive industry.

Together these investments in logistics services in Finland amount to about 76 million euros.

DB Schenker has some 96,000 employees in 130 countries. In the financial year 2012, it generated revenues of around 20.3 billion euros, about 52 percent of the Deutche Bahn Group’s revenues.

Through its Transportation and Logistics Division, DB holds top positions in global air and ocean freight and has Europe’s densest land transport network and the rail expertise of Europe’s largest rail freight company.

 

Helsinki Airport - Best Airport in Northern Europe

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 21 May 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 2, Main 6 - 3st

Helsinki Airport has been voted the best airport in Northern Europe in 2013.

The World Airport Awards are based on surveys conducted by international travel research group Skytrax, who polled 12.1 million passengers over a nine-month period. In the category covering the whole Europe Helsinki Airport was ranked sixth and worldwide fifteenth.

Helsinki Airport is the leading Northern European transit airport connecting Europe and Asia. In 2012 the airport served 14.9 million passengers, of which 31 per cent were transfer passengers.

Helsinki Airport has been nominated the best in Northern Europe in 2010 and in previous Skytrax surveys recognition has also been given to Best Airport Security Processing and Baggage Delivery. A total of 39 services and products -- including check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration -- were examined at 395 airports across the world.

Singapore’s Changi Airport was crowned the Best Airport in the world in 2013.


McAfee to acquire Finnish company Stonesoft

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 14 May 2013. Posted in Finland, Articles of Finland, Main 2, Right bottom - 8st

Stonesoft is a leading innovator in next-generation network firewall products.

McAfee has announced a definitive agreement to initiate a conditional tender offer for the acquisition of the Finnish company Stonesoft Oyj for an aggregate equity value of approximately USD 389 million in cash. Stonesoft is a leading innovator in next-generation network firewall products.

Based in Helsinki, Finland, Stonesoft is trusted by more than 6,500 customers across the globe. Gartner positioned the company as “visionary” in the 2013 Network Security Firewall Magic Quadrant. “With the pending addition of Stonesoft’s products and services, McAfee is making a significant investment in next-generation firewall technology. These solutions anticipate emerging customer needs in a continually evolving threat landscape,” said Michael DeCesare, McAfee President.

Fastest growing market segment

According to McAfee, next-generation firewalls solve critical customer needs and represent one of the fastest growing market segments in network security.

Stonesoft’s product portfolio of firewalls, evasion prevention systems, and SSL VPN solutions addresses businesses of all sizes. Through the pending acquisition of Stonesoft, McAfee expects to extend its leadership position in network security.

“We plan to integrate Stonesoft’s offerings with other McAfee products to realize the power of McAfee’s Security Connected strategy. Stonesoft products will benefit from the collective expertise of more than 7,200 McAfee employees,” says DeCesare. “Leveraging McAfee’s cloud-based Global Threat Intelligence service will provide our combined customers with unparalleled security.”

Source - McAfee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation.

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