In a bid to strengthen its influence over one of the country's telecom companies, Finland made a move to own a stake in longtime phone maker Nokia.
According to a report from Times of India, Solidium, Finland's government investment arm, announced on Tuesday its acquisition of a 3.3 percent stake in Nokia. The shares were purchased for 844 million euros or about US$1.04 billion. After dominating the mobile phone landscape a decade ago, Nokia collapsed, and in turn, affected Finland's economy. With the company's main focus now directed to the telecom network industry, it is now home to 6,300 employees in the country.
"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 was able to build its stake in Nokia by purchasing market shares during the start of the year.
Moreover, it also cut down its stake in other companies like steel firm SSAB, holding company Sampo, and Swedish telecoms company Telia to increase its capital for buying the Nokia shares, the Reuters report added.
Makinen also confirmed that Solidium was not looking for a seat at the Nokia board this year, though the possibility remains to be an option in the future. Finland's economy minister Mika Lintila, on the other hand, said that Solidium is now in a position where it will be heard in the board.
"For Finland, Nokia is of course an interesting company, and its ownership has been extremely dispersed," said Lintila. "Solidium is now a significant owner and it will be heard in the future when board seats are being discussed," the economic chief added.
With the telecom landscape continuously changing at a fast pace and more players coming from the east like ZTE building momentum, it will be interesting to see how the once mighty Nokia will attempt to regain its dominance beyond Finland.