Studies Eastern European Markets
Eastern European Markets
November 2004

Peeter Vahtra & Harri Lorentz

Electronic Publications of Pan-European Institute, 11/2004
The whole report as a pdf-dokument.

Executive Summary

As the statistical overview clearly pointed out, the involvement of Russian nationals in the net creation of joint-stock enterprises in Finland has experienced an upsurge since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a fact not requiring lengthy elaboration. Currently the number of such entities is around 1915.

An interesting matter on the other hand is the share of Finnish companies with Russian involvement of the total annual net creation of enterprises. During the first years of the millennium the share has been fluctuating between 5 and 7 percentage points. The reader should again bare in mind the nature of the data; indicating the creation of legal entities and not necessarily functioning and value creating enterprises. More than half (50.2%) of the sample companies have been unable, or simply neglectful on the requirement to raise equity level to 8000 EUR minimum. This might indicate either lack of maintenance in the companies in question, or unsuccessful business operations.

The year 2006 will show the real state of such entities, as the NBPR will start expunging the inactive companies at that time. Of the sample companies 68.7% were engaged in providing services, while 27% generated revenue from marketing functions of various sort. Only 4% were active in mainly processing activities. Due to the lack clarity in the principal industry description in the data, many of the entities were difficult to categorize by industry.

The ones with clear descriptions indicated the following to be the most prominent industries among Finnish companies with Russian involvement: timber, wood products 4.3%; machines, instruments 3.8%; construction 6.3%; transportation, warehousing, telecommunications 7%; financing, investments 4.8%; business services and consulting 6.6%.

A closer look to the companies involved with the wholesale of fuel and oil products (the focus industry of the study), revealed the often inactive status of many companies. One rare exception was engaged in large scale business with subsidiaries in the Baltic States, Western-Europe and Cyprus. The most prominent energy sector companies were given more attention by the means of case studies.

Russian involvement in Finnish companies has traditionally been most active in the energy sector. The Finnish natural gas sector is dominated by the Russian supplies and the world’s largest gas producer, Gazprom, holds an ownership interest in Finnish natural gas distributor, Gasum. The equity involvement is considered viable for the efficient co-operation between the partners, adding to the Russian strategic interests in Finnish natural gas sector and, thus, the supply predictability.

Our evaluation based on economic rationale, the new Fortum Oil company incorporating the oil operations of the Finnish energy concern Fortum Oyj in April 2005, would benefit from the involvement of a strategic Russian investor. Increased predictability of oil supplies to the supposed venture and the benefits derived from the potentially extensive international network of the investor would add to the value of Fortum’s operations.

The whole report as a pdf-dokument

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