tuesday, 13 march of 2018

Finland invests $1 billion in Nokia to boost national influence

Finland’s government investment arm has spent about 844 million euros on building a 3.3 percent stake in Nokia to strengthen national influence over the telecom network gear maker.

Nokia ruled the global mobile phone market a decade ago and the collapse of that business was a major cause of a decade of economic stagnation from which Finland is only just recovering.

Nokia, which employs 6,300 people in Finland in a global workforce of around 102,800, is now focused on the telecom network industry where it competes with Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei.

“We believe that this will be a good investment. One must remember that Nokia is Finland’s largest company and its Finnish ownership has been rather thin,” Solidium CEO Antti Makinen told Reuters.

Solidium, the government investment arm, built the stake by buying shares on the market over the early months of 2018.

It trimmed its stake in Swedish telecoms company Telia TELIA.HE, steel firm SSAB and holding company Sampo in the past weeks to finance the investment in Nokia.

Makinen said Solidium would not seek a seat on Nokia’s board at a shareholder meeting scheduled for May but that was an option it could look at in the future.

He noted that over time Solidium was looking to have board members in each of its companies. Makinen himself is proposed as a new board member of Sampo and pulp and packaging group Stora Enso this spring.

Asked if Solidium was looking to increase its stake in Nokia, he said that he was happy with the current stake and would not speculate on future investments.

Most of Solidium’s stakes are to the tune of over 10 percent in a company’s outstanding shares. The Nokia investment accounts for around 11 percent of its total equity stakes.

According to Nokia’s webpage, three Finnish pension funds at this point own less than 3 percent of Nokia.

(Published by Reuters - March 13, 2018)

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