2013 – a year of major acquisitions in Finland

Acquisition activity is expected to intensify in Finland in 2014 as the outlook for the Finnish economy looks brighter.

2013 was marked by major acquisitions and restructuring involving leading Finnish companies like Nokia, Fortum, Hartwall, Outokumpu, Supercell, Metso and Terveystalo. According to the Finnish business magazine Talouselämä and KPMG, last year’s acquisitions in Finland targeted turnover worth almost EUR 25 billion. The 15 biggest deals amounted to EUR 11.3 billion, compared to EUR 1.2 billion in 2009 and EUR 4.4 billion in 2012.

Mikko Äijälä from Ernst & Young Finland and Teppo Jalonen from KPMG expect acquisition activity to intensify in 2014 thanks to the brighter outlook for the Finnish economy and strong balance sheets in many companies.

The biggest single deal in 2013 was Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, licenses to patents and the use of Nokia’s mapping service for a total transaction price of EUR 5.44 billion. In another high-profile deal, Japanese companies Softbank and Gungho acquired a majority stake in the Finnish game company Supercell for USD 1.5 billion.

Attractive investment destination

In 2013, the Finnish energy company Fortum sold its electricity distribution business in Finland for EUR 2.55 billion to Suomi Power Networks Oy, owned by a consortium of Finnish pension funds Keva (12.5%) and LocalTapiola Pension (7.5%) together with international infrastructure investors First State Investments (40%) and Borealis Infrastructure (40%).

“Finland is one of the most attractive investment destinations globally, with strong economic prospects and a stable political regime and legal framework,” said Michael Rolland, President and CEO of Borealis Infrastructure, which is the infrastructure investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada's largest pension funds.

Finnish company Outokumpu, which produces stainless steel and high performance alloys, also sold its electricity distribution network at the Tornio site in Finland to an investment fund managed by OFI InfraVia, an independent investment company based in France. The transaction price was about EUR 63 million.

Sources: Talouselämä, Microsoft, Borealis Infrastructure, Outokumpu