BUSINESS NEWS
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Stocks 19/3 3:00 p.m.
12,260.44 +296.28
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156.060 +2.178
IN HELSINKI            Finnish Flag
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Sources: Nikkei Net Interative, Kauppalehti (in Finnish), Helsinki Stock Exchange and Bloomberg

Finnish unemployment rate down at 6.2 pct
Helsinki, March 18 (STT)
Finland's unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal variation, stood at 6.2 per cent in February, down from 7.1 per cent in the year-ago period and 6.4 per cent in January, Statistics Finland (SF) said in a statement Tuesday.

The unadjusted jobless rate was 6.4 per cent, down by 1.1 points from the year-ago period.

Pekkarinen targets power self-sufficiency by 2020
Helsinki, March 17 (STT)
Mauri Pekkarinen (centre), Finland's economics affairs minister, was quoted as saying by Alma Media on Saturday that the country sought to eliminate the need to import electricity, namely from other Nordic countries and Russia, by 2020.

"This is not a declaration of an import prohibition, but a declaration to generate enough electricity for our own needs," Mr Pekkarinen told the media house.

The minister added that meeting EU emission reduction obligations placed an enormous burden on the electricity generation industry.

Mr Pekkarinen said Finland's aim was to halt the rising trend in total power consumption and to build new renewable energy generating capacity in order to help reduce the need for imported power.

EU leaders agreed last year to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent from their 1990 levels by 2020.

Finland, a country that is currently building what will be its fifth nuclear power station, has imported up to a fifth of its electricity over the past few years.

Finnish finance ministry sees GDP growth slowing to 2.8 pct
Helsinki, March 11 (STT)
Finland's finance ministry said in an economic bulletin on Tuesday that it saw the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowing to 2.8 per cent this year and further to 2.3 per cent in 2009 from last year's 4.4 per cent on the back of an international slowdown and cuts in the forest industry brought about by Russia's wood export duty increases.

The ministry's autumn GDP forecast for this year had been 3.3 per cent.

"Furthermore, inflation will be almost one percentage point higher than forecast in the autumn, accelerating to 3.3 per cent," it added.

"Most of the effects on households will be offset by pay rises and improved employment opportunities, but lowered household confidence in the future is undermining consumption propensity."

The ministry said it expected the jobless rate to continue to decline.

Year-round winter speed limits would yield radical cut in Finnish emissions
Helsinki, March 10 (STT)
Extending Finland's winter speed limits to the rest of the year and enforcing the change in policy would cut the country's passenger transport emissions by an estimated five per cent - two and a half times more than estimated earlier, Finnish provincial daily Lansi-Suomi reported on Monday.

Hanna Kalenoja, the researcher at the Tampere University of Technology who came up with the figure, was quoted as saying that the reduction in emissions from all-year winter speed limits was at least an order of magnitude greater than that achievable through current biofuel goals.

A number of European countries have mulled lowering speed limits in order to reduce emissions.

In Finland, most trunk road and motorway speed limits are lowered by 20 kilometres an hour for the winter, to 80kph (about 50mph) and 100kph (62mph) respectively.

Nokia says wins EUR 1.3 bln handset order from China Postel
Helsinki, March 7 (STT)
Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia said in a statement Friday it had signed a strategic partnership agreement with China Postel.

Nokia added the country's leading handset seller was expected to buy mobile devices to the tune of two billion US dollars, or about 1.3 billion euros.

China Postel holds just under a third of China's handset market.

Allianz/Lisbon Council study ranks Finland first among 14 EU economies
Helsinki, March 3 (STT)
Finland has enjoyed the most success among the European Union's 14 biggest economies in fulfilling the goals set out in the Lisbon agenda, German bancassurer Allianz and Brussels-based thinktank Lisbon Council said in a study on Monday.

The Lisbon agenda is a bundle of economic criteria deemed by the EU as decisive for success in the 21st century.

The other countries included in the study were Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Metso acquires Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' paper machinery technology
Helsinki, February 15 (Metso)
Metso Paper and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have reached an agreement under which MHI's paper machinery technology will be transferred to Metso Paper. The value of the contract, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will not be disclosed. The transaction enhances Metso Paper's services business especially in Japan.
The arrangement will ensure continuous technical support for MHI customers. Metso Paper will start serving the customers immediately after the agreement has become effective.

MHI will attend to their present order backlog, and Metso Paper will take over the customer service after MHI contractual obligations have been fulfilled.

Metso is a global engineering and technology corporation with 2007 net sales of approximately EUR 6 billion. Its almost 27,000 employees in approximately 50 countries serve customers in the pulp and paper industry, rock and minerals processing, the energy industry and selected other industries.

Nokia and University of Cambridge unveil nanotech concept at MoMa
Helsinki, February 25 (STT)
Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia said in a statement Monday that Morph, a nanotechnology concept device developed in cooperation with the University of Cambridge, had been launched as part of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Arts in New York.

Nokia added the concept demonstrated what nanotechnology might be capable of delivering in the field of mobile telephony: flexible materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces.

UPM-Kymmene to start making RFID tags in China
Helsinki, February 25 (STT)
Finland-headquartered paper maker UPM-Kymmene said in a statement Monday it would start making radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and inlays in Guangzhou in China in the third quarter of this year.

The company added that the new manufacturing site, with an initial capacity of 100 million units a year, would serve the fast-growing Asian market in all RFID areas, including ticketing and the clothing industry.

"The new manufacturing site in China will further strengthen our position as the leading RFID tag supplier globally," said in the statement Christer Harkonen, the head of UPM-Kymmene's RFID business. UPM-Kymmene currently makes tags and inlays in Finland and the US.

Finnair says plans more flights to Russia
Helsinki, February 22 (STT)
Finnish flag carrier Finnair said in a statement Thursday it was planning launching a scheduled service with three flights a week between its Helsinki-Vantaa hub and Yekaterinburg in central Russia.

The statement added that as a result of air transport cooperation talks between Finland and Russia, Finnair and Aeroflot would double the number of codeshare Helsinki-Moscow flights to four a day and that the number of flights operated jointly by Finnair and Rossiya between Helsinki and St Petersburg would rise to 22 a week.

Häkämies tells Finnish opposition no changes in ownership policy
Helsinki, February 13 (STT)
Jyri Häkämies (cons), the Finnish minister in charge of ownership steering, responded to an interpellation on Wednesday by saying that the centre-right government's ownership policy would not change.

In the interpellation, the opposition had challenged the ownership policy and accused the government of inaction following Stora Enso's decision to close two mills in Finland.

Mr Häkämies said the current government's line was the same as that followed by previous cabinets.

"The government does what falls in the realm of its responsibility, but has also recognised the limits of its actions," the minister said.

Mr Häkämies underlined that the government would continue to let listed companies operate unhindered and not force them to act against their own interests.

Finnish wages up 5.9 pct in 2007
Helsinki, February 13 (STT)
Finland's total of wages and salaries rose by 5.9 per cent last year, Statistics Finland said in a statement Wednesday, adding the rate had accelerated to 7.5 per cent year-on-year in the final quarter.

In 2006, wages and salaries grew by 4.5 per cent.

Finnish finance minister sees EU slowdown
Helsinki, February 12 (STT)
Jyrki Katainen (cons), Finland's finance minister, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) on Tuesday that while there was no reason to panic the EU economy taken as a whole was clearly taking a turn for the worse.

Attending a finance ministers' meeting in Brussels, Mr Katainen added it was difficult to assess the impact of a slowdown.

Mr Katainen highlighted the threat of inflation brought about by rising food and energy prices and the failure of some EU member states to observe the EU's public-sector spending curbs.

Finnish Jan car registrations up 27 pct on emissions-staggered tax
Helsinki, February 4 (STT)
The number of passenger cars registered in Finland jumped by more than 27 per cent year-on-year in January, the Finnish Information Centre of Automobile Sector (AuT) said in a statement Friday. The government introduced an emissions-staggered car tax regime on 1 January.

EU emissions plan would raise forest industry costs by 6-12 pct -PTT
Helsinki, January 28 (STT)
The European commission's draft emission quota trading regime would translate into an increase of between six and 12 per cent in the costs of the European forest industry after 2013, Finland's Pellervo Economic Research Institute (PTT) said Monday.

The thinktank, which receives funding from Finnish farmers' and forest owners' unions, added that the commission's plan would push up electricity prices by at least 15 per cent and up to 45 per cent.

"Unless Europe's pulp and paper industry manages to transfer the extra costs into prices it will lose nearly all its profits," said Pasi Holm, the chief executive of PTT.

Nokia says market share up at 40 pct in final quarter
Helsinki, January 24 (STT)
Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia said Thursday its final-quarter global handset market share had risen to 40 per cent from 36 per cent in the year-ago period and 39 per cent in the third quarter of last year.

"Nokia's excellent fourth quarter contributed to a year of high growth and increased profitability for the company, while our industry-leading portfolio drove our device business to an estimated 40-per cent market share in the fourth quarter," said in a statement Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the chief executive of the Espoo-based giant.

Nokia reported its October-to-December pretax profit rising to about 2.57 billion euros from the year-ago 1.57 billion on sales of some 15.72 billion euros, comparing with about 11.70 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006.

On the Helsinki stock exchange, shares in Nokia were trading at 23.25 euros two hours after the release of the fourth-quarter and full-year figures, representing a jump of more than 12 per cent from Wednesday's close.

Finnish industry says commission's energy targets impossible
Helsinki, January 24 (STT)
The Finnish Federation of Finnish Technology Industries (ET) said in a statement Thursday that the while it was a positive development that the European commission's renewable energy and climate change package took into account the position of energy-intensive manufacturing when determining the allocation of carbon dioxide emission quotas, the proposal could not be accepted unamended as the draft renewable energy target set for Finland was much too high.

Martti Katka, the head of the federation, said the draft goal for Finland to raise the share of energy it generates from renewable sources to 38 per cent was neither just nor fair.

"It is much too high, especially when one considers that Finland is already one of the forerunners in the use of renewable energy sources," Mr Katka added.

Mr Katka said the burden heaped on the shoulders of the sector by the proposed increase in emission quotas was unreasonable at more than 500 million euros a year for the post-Kyoto period.

Finnish TV viewing up slightly in all-digital era
Helsinki, January 16 (STT)
The onset of digital-only broadcasting last year has raised slightly the amount of time Finns spend watching television, Finnpanel figures indicated Wednesday.

According to the market research company, which is owned by Taylor Nelson Sofres and AC Nielsen, viewing time in the September-to-December period rose by three per cent from the year-ago quarter to two hours 58 minutes a day.

At the end of last year, 89 per cent of the households that owned a television also had a digital receiver.

In the full-year, the popularity of pay television rose markedly, with the number of subscribers doubling to five per cent of the total daily viewing time from 2006.

Finnish Nov GDP up 1.5 pct yr/yr
Helsinki, January 16 (STT)
Finland's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.5 per cent year-on-year and 0.1 per cent month-on-month in November, Statistics Finland (SF) said in a statement Wednesday.

Of the six main sectors, manufacturing and transport declined, with industrial output falling by 1.4 per cent year-on-year.

Nokia Siemens wins EUR 680 mln order in Saudi Arabia
Helsinki, January 7 (STT)
Finnish-German joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks said in a statement Monday it had won an order worth some 680 million euros from Kuwait-based telecommunications operator Zain.

Under the auspices of the deal, Nokia Siemens is to build second- and third-generation mobile phone networks in Saudi Arabia.

Nokia Siemens added the agreement also included a five-year services contract.

Metso to deliver two paper machines to China's Nine Dragons
Helsinki, January 7 (STT)
Finnish engineering group Metso said in a statement Monday it would deliver two paper machines to Nine Dragons Paper in China.

While not disclosing the exact value of the order, Metso added the types of machines in question cost about 50 million euros a unit.

Startup of the lines is scheduled for early 2009.

New Finnish fuel tax raises consumer prices at gas stations
Helsinki, January 3 (STT)
Petrol and diesel tax hikes introduced in Finland at the start of the year have been transferred to consumer prices almost fully, the independent polttoaine.net website reported Wednesday.

According to the website, the average price of a litre of gasoline has gone up by five cents from pre-Christmas prices, the same amount as the tax increase.

The tax increase for diesel oil is 5.5 cents per litre, and it can likewise be seen in consumer prices.

Polttoaine.net reported that the average price of 95 octane petrol in Finland was 138.5 cents per litre on Tuesday and Wednesday. Before Christmas, and the tax increase, the average price was 133.4 cents per litre.

Jorma Ollila named vice-chair of EU's group of "wise men"
Helsinki, December 14 (STT)
EU leaders on Friday named Jorma Ollila, the chairman of Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia and Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, one of the two vice-chairs of the bloc's new group of "wise men".

The controversial "reflection group" is to be led by the former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez, the other vice-chair being the former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga.

The group is not expected to have much political sway as the majority of the member states were against forming the group, an initiative by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.

The group has until 2010 to think about challenges facing the EU in 2020-30.

Finnair share price climbs further on Asian traffic
Helsinki, December 11 (STT)
Finnish flag carrier Finnair on Tuesday reported another jump in its Asian passenger numbers, sending its share price to a resumed climb on the Helsinki stock exchange.

Scandinavian Airlines System subsidiary Blue1, based at Helsinki-Vantaa airport, had reported a sharp fall in passenger numbers the day before.

Finnair said in a statement its total traffic, measured in passenger revenue kilometres, had risen by 22 per cent year-on-year in November, with capacity up by about 19 per cent.

The carrier added the number of passengers on its lucrative Asian routes had jumped to about 1.04 million from some 800,000.

Finnair's passenger load factor rose to 71.4 per cent, up by 1.9 points from the year-ago.

Finnish business lobby sees labour costs rising 3.3 pct
Helsinki, December 10 (STT)
The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) said Monday it saw the private sector's labour costs rising by about 3.3 per cent this year and by 5.3 per cent in 2008.

The EK added that although the overall wage increase agreed in union-level talks this year was more than ten per cent, this was partly offset by factors like a reduction in employers' social security contributions.

Finnish Christmas comes with EUR 630 pricetag
Helsinki, December 5 (STT)
According to the results of a poll made public by Nordic bank Nordea on Wednesday, the average Finn splashes out some 630 on Christmas.

About half of the total expenditure is spent on presents while the rest is taken up by food, decoration, clothes and the like.

Norwegians tend to spend in excess of 1,000 euros while Swedes make do with about 590 euros.

Nordea, having polled about 1,000 people in each of the Nordic countries, found, puzzlingly, that people in the northern parts of all the countries in the region spent more on Christmas than their countrymen in the south did.

Vanhanen proposes another Finnish-Russian forest summit
Helsinki, November 27 (STT)
A meeting between Matti Vanhanen (centre) and Viktor Zubkov, respectively the Finnish and Russian prime ministers, in Moscow on Tuesday failed to solve the wood export duty row.

Mr Zubkov said he hoped Finnish forest companies would make considerable investments in Russia.

For his part, Mr Vanhanen proposed a third Finnish-Russian forest sector summit to tackle the Russian wood export duty issue.

Finland buries EU winemaker status hopes
Helsinki, November 26 (STT)
Sirkka-Liisa Anttila (centre), the Finnish agriculture minister, said in Brussels on Monday that the government would no longer pursue the status of a winemaking country at the EU.

The Finnish Parliament's Agriculture and Forestry Committee had ruled at the end of October that Finland should bury the project for fear of sending the wrong message about the country's climate at a time when it was fighting for the right to continue to pay the Chapter 141 national farm aid. The Grand Committee reminded the government of Parliament's stance last week.

"I respect democracy, full stop," Ms Anttila said Monday.

According to draft EU rules, only wine produced in member states listed as winemaking countries could make wine commercially available.

M-real to cut 500 jobs
Helsinki, November 13 (STT)
Struggling Finnish paper maker M-real said Tuesday it would cut about 500 jobs in a cost-cutting programme that would also see the closure of its Lielahti mill and a line in Kangas, both in Finland.

Some 200 of the job cuts are to be carried out among M-real's Finnish workforce.

M-real added it was aiming for annual cost cuts of 100 million euros.

Finnish trade surplus up at EUR 845 mln in September
Helsinki, November 9 (STT)
Finland's trade surplus stood at 845 million euros in September, up from 623 million in the year-ago period and 405 million in the month before, the National Bureau of Customs said in a statement Friday.

The value of imports fell by four per cent year-on-year to about 4.6 billion euros while exports rose by one per cent to some 5.4 billion euros.

Finland to stagger car taxation on basis of emissions
Helsinki, November 1 (STT)
The Finnish finance ministry said in a statement Thursday that the government was proposing staggering both car and vehicle taxes on the basis of carbon dioxide emissions.

The car tax, levied a single time when a car is registered in Finland, would range between 10 and 40 per cent of a vehicle's tax-inclusive price. The change means the showroom prices of the cars with the lowest emissions on the Finnish market may fall by thousands of euros.

If approved by Parliament, the change would come into effect at the beginning of next year.

However, unlike previously reported, the annual motor vehicle tax is to become emissions staggered only in 2010. Under the proposed scheme, the motor vehicle tax would range between 20 and 605 euros a year.

The ministry said in the statement that both changes were designed to create a financial incentive for motorists to opt for cars with low emissions.

The Finnish motor vehicle stock emits more carbon dioxide for each unit of distance covered than do those in most other European countries.

The government added in the statement that Finland would be unable to meet CO2 reduction targets with current car buying trends.

Ihamuotila to take Marimekko's helm in February
Helsinki, October 31 (STT)
The share price of Marimekko shot up on the Helsinki bourse on Wednesday after the Finnish fashion group posted robust third-quarter earnings and announced that Mika Ihamuotila of Sampo Bank fame would take over as chief executive February next year.

Marimekko said in a statement that Kirsti Paakkanen, the outgoing chief executive, would sell her 20-per cent stake in the company to Mr Ihamuotila.

"I am really happy that in Mika Marimekko gets a committed owner and leader. Mika possesses a rare combination of strong corporate leadership and creativity. I simply cannot think of a better captain for the company and I trust he has got what it takes to develop Marimekko further," Ms Paakkanen said of her successor.

"It is my aim to start building Marimekko into a cult brand within clothing, interior decoration and lifestyle as well as a company that has an international retail distribution network, a passionate staff and a market value multifold from today," Mr Ihamuotila said in the statement.

Nokia says Q3 handset market share up at 39 %
Helsinki, October 18 (STT)
Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia reported its third-quarter pretax profit rising to about 1.92 billion euros from 1.15 billion in the year-ago period, adding its handset market share was 39 per cent, up both year-on-year and sequentially.

Net sales rose to about 12.9 billion euros from 10.1 billion in the third quarter of last year, while earnings per share jumped to 40 euro cents from 21 cents in the year-ago period.

Said in a statement Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the chief executive of Nokia: "Nokia strengthened its leading position in the device industry in the third quarter. In a strong market, we simultaneously gained market share and increased our operating margins."

Bank of Finland raises 2007 GDP growth forecast to 4.4 pct
Helsinki, October 8 (STT)
The Bank of Finland on Monday raised its gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for both this year and the next.

The central bank now sees the Finnish economy growing at 4.4 per cent this year, up from its earlier forecast of 3.0 per cent, and at 3.1 per cent in 2008, up from 2.7 per cent.

Erkki Liikanen, the governor, warned in a statement however that recent volatility on the money market had raised risks.

"We must ensure that inflation expectations remain anchored in line with price stability. This is essential for sustainable economic growth and favourable employment development," Mr Liikanen added.

Siemens to sell stake in Nokia Siemens Networks - Paper
Helsinki, October 1 (STT)
German business weekly Wirtschaftswoche reported on its website on Monday that Siemens was mulling selling its stake in Nokia Siemens Networks.

The paper added Peter Loscher, the new chief executive of Siemens, was about to launch a wide-ranging restructuring programme and that it included the sale of the networks business.

According to Wirtschaftswoche, other Siemens units going under the hammer after a costly corruption scandal are Osram, Bosch-Siemens and home and office equipment manufacturing.

Nokia Siemens Networks said in a statement Monday that Mr Loscher would give up his seat on the network company's board and be replaced by Rudi Lamprecht.

Nokia says to buy Navteq for EUR 5.7 bln
Helsinki, October 1 (STT)
Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia said in a statement Monday it had entered into a definitive agreement with Navteq to buy the US digital map company for about 5.7 billion euros.

Nokia added the acquisition had been approved by both companies' boards and was subject to standard closing conditions including regulatory approvals and shareholders' approval.

"Location-based services are one of the cornerstones of Nokia's internet services strategy. The acquisition of Navteq is another step toward Nokia becoming a leading player in this space," said in the statement Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the chief executive of Nokia.

Finland is a brand superpower -EBI
Helsinki, September 19 (STT)
The ratio of the value of Finnish brands to the country's gross domestic product is the highest in Europe, Vienna-based European Brand Institute said Tuesday.

According to the institute, the value of Finnish brands amounts to almost a third of GDP, compared with just over a quarter in Switzerland, the country ranked second in the EBI table.

Finland's high ranking is largely attributable to mobile phone maker Nokia, a brand that the EBI values at more than 32 billion euros, the highest among European marques.

Behind Nokia come Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, Unilever, Telefonica, Vodafone and Mercedes-Benz.

Finnair opts for Airbus A330 in lieu of four-engine A340s
Helsinki, September 17 (STT)
Finnish flag carrier Finnair said in a statement Monday it was taking advantage of the option to change its order with Airbus for four-engine A340 aircraft to the twin-engine A330.

Although both long-haul models can carry about 270 passengers and have virtually identical fuselage and wing designs, the A340's range is greater than that of the A330.

Finnair has firm orders for six A330s and four options, one of which has been confirmed.

Finnair had announced in March it was ordering a further two twin-engine A350 XWB aircraft, having placed an order for nine in 2005. The variant Finnair has ordered can carry 314 passengers in a three-class configuration.

Finnish labour costs one of highest in EU -Study
Helsinki, September 10 (STT)
Finland's has one of the highest labour costs in the EU, Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter quoted a study by German research institute IMK as saying on Monday.

According to the study, an hour of labour cost the employer 27.21 euros in Finland last year, compared with the EU average of 25 euros.

Denmark and Sweden have the highest labour costs in the EU with some 32.50 euros. The lowest costs, just over six euros an hour, can be found in Poland.

Finnish state sells Kemira shares worth EUR 656 mln
Helsinki, August 29 (STT)
The Finnish government said in a statement Wednesday it had sold 32.1 per cent of its shares in chemicals maker Kemira to Finnish investors for 16.35 a share, netting about 656 million euros.

After the transaction the Finnish state holds 16.5 per cent of the shares in Kemira.

"After this transaction, Kemira's main shareholder is a stable industrial owner which makes long-term investments. Oral Invest has good prerequisites for taking responsibility for continuous development of Kemira group. The state still remains a significant owner of Kemira," said in the statement Jyri Hakamies (cons), the minister in charge of ownership steering.

Nokia challenges Apple with Music Store, touchscreens
Helsinki, August 29 (STT)
Finnish mobile telecommunications group Nokia on Wednesday unveiled a new service called Music Store along with headsets aimed at giving Apple's respective service and hardware, iTunes and iPhone, a headache.

"The Nokia Music Store brings together a powerful combination of great music and great devices in an easy-to-use way. You can select from a huge range of music, including local music from your country, and download it directly to your Nokia device," said in a statement Tommi Mustonen, the head of Nokia's music activities.

The new service is to open in key European markets this autumn, with songs selling for one euro and albums for 10.

Nokia also introduced four new handsets.

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the chief executive of Nokia, told reporters in London that the company would roll out models boasting touchscreens next year.

Nokia's Q2 mobile phone market share up at 37 pct
Helsinki, August 23 (STT)
Finnish mobile telecommunications giant Nokia shifted some 100 million mobile phones in the second quarter, yielding a global market share of just under 37 per cent, up from about 34 per cent in the year-ago period, market research company Gartner said Thursday.

US rival Motorola trailed the market leader with 14.6 per cent, down from 21.9 per cent in April-June last year.

South Korea's Samsung held 13.4 per cent and was followed by Sony Ericsson with nine per cent and LG with 6.8 per cent of the market.

Russia wants to import power from Finland
Helsinki, August 22 (STT)
Russia wants to import electricity from Finland to cope with consumption peaks in the St Petersburg area, Finnish daily Keskisuomalainen reported on Wednesday.

Russian national grid operator FSK-EES made the initiative at a meeting with Fingrid this spring.

Current cross-border cables are designed to export power from Russia into Finland.

A working group founded by the grid operators and tasked with establishing the costs involved is to begin its work this autumn.

A two-way link between Finland and Russia would couple the Russian grid to the Nordic electricity market.

Finland's TVO weary of Areva-Siemens delays
Helsinki, August 10 (STT)
Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) on Friday demanded a thorough re-evaluation of the construction of its third nuclear power station after the turnkey supplier, a Franco-German consortium comprising Areva and Siemens, announced yet another set of delays.

"This is such a big matter that TVO will not be satisfied with this announcement but insist on an analysis [of construction plans] of a completely difference calibre," said Martin Landtman, the head of the Olkiluoto 3 project at TVO.

Areva-Siemens had told TVO that the facility would be ready for commercial operation in 2011, two years behind the original timetable. Friday's announcement was only the latest in a string of delays.

Finnair Q2 pretax up ten-fold yr/yr at EUR 34 mln
Helsinki, August 10 (STT)
Finnish flag carrier Finnair on Thursday reported a second-quarter pretax profit of 34.4 million euros, up from 3.3 million in the year-ago period.

Sales rose by about nine per cent year-on-year to about 538 million euros.

"The figures published today show that we are heading in the right direction. Unit costs have clearly decreased due to efficiency measures, and profitability has in many respects improved," said in a statement Jukka Hienonen, the chief executive of Finnair.

Mr Hienonen added that rapid growth of Finnair's Asian traffic had put the ground handling capacity of its hub, Helsinki-Vantaa airport, to the test.

"A terminal extension serving Asian traffic will alleviate the situation when it opens in early 2009."

Nokia fifth in BusinessWeek's brand table
Helsinki, July 27 (STT)
Finland's Nokia is the world's fifth most valuable brand, according to the latest issue of BusinessWeek, which values the mobile phone marque at about 25 billion euros.

BusinessWeek commended Nokia as a comeback story, with a 12-per cent jump in brand value after a slump in 2004.

"Nokia released high-end phones aimed at both the consumer and business user and is showing strength in emerging and mature markets alike," the paper writes.

The perennial winner of the best global brands ranking is Coca Cola, followed by, in order of brand value, Microsoft, IBM, General Electric and Nokia.

TeliaSonera names Nyberg CEO
Helsinki, July 27 (STT)
Finnish-Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera said in a statement Friday it had appointed Lars Nyberg chief executive, effective 3 September.

Mr Nyberg is currently chairman of Micronic Laser Systems, IBS and DataCard.

TeliaSonera had sacked its previous chief executive, Anders Igel, in June.

Finnair June traffic up thanks to Asian routes
Helsinki, July 10 (STT)
Finnish flag carrier Finnair reported Tuesday that its traffic, measured in passenger kilometres, had risen by 26.5 per cent from the year-ago period.

Finnair added that the growth in Asian traffic had been 35.4 per cent.

Owing to the commissioning of new long-haul Airbus aircraft, Finnair's passenger load factor fell slightly to 75.4 per cent.

Finland first in OECD leave and holiday length ranking
Helsinki, July 5 (STT)
With a whopping 39 days, Finns enjoy the longest annual statutory paid leave and holidays among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a report by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) showed Thursday. France came second with 30 days of paid annual leave and one day of paid holidays. At the bottom of the table is the United States, where the grand total of statutory annual paid leave and holidays is nil.

Fiskars to buy Iittala
Helsinki, June 29 (STT)
Finnish consumer goods group Fiskars said in a statement Friday it had signed an agreement to buy Finnish homeware design company Iittala for about 230 million euros from ABN Amro, management and other private shareholders.

"The transaction will even out the seasonal fluctuation of sales and profits for Fiskars Corporation, as spring is the important garden season for Fiskars Brands, crafts products mostly sell in early to mid summer, while sales and profits for the Iittala Group tend to concentrate towards the end of the year," the statement added.

"The acquisition of Iittala Group is a logical step in our strategy, which looks for growth in areas that suit us and our brand portfolio naturally."

Nokia to regroup in January
Helsinki, June 20 (STT)
Nokia said in a statement Wednesday it would overhaul its company structure at the beginning of next year. Under the new organisation, Nokia's current business group and horizontal group structure in the mobile device business is to be replaced by three units: Devices, Services & Software and Markets.

Nokia's current divisions are called Mobile Phones, Enterprise Solutions and Multimedia.

"The convergence of the mobile communications and internet industries is opening up new growth opportunities for us, both in the devices business as well as in consumer internet services and enterprise solutions," Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the chief executive of Nokia, said in the statement.

Devices is to be led by Kari Oistamo, currently head of Mobile Phones; Services & Software by Niklas Savander, presently head of Technology Platforms, and Markets by Anssi Vanjoki, head of Multimedia until the end of the year.

Finland running out of time in Russia wood duty row
Helsinki, June 19 (STT)
Paavo Vayrynen (centre), the Finnish foreign trade minister, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) on Monday that Finland had little time left to persuade Russia to reconsider its wood export duty hikes. The first of the increases is to enter into force in July.

Mr Vayrynen added after talks in Luxembourg with Peter Mandelson, the European commissioner for trade, that he remained cautiously hopeful.

According to Mr Vayrynen, Finland and the European commission had completely convergent positions on the matter.

The EU says Russia must not roll out new duties when negotiating its accession to the World Trade Organisation.

Finnish GDP up 5,5 pct yr/yr in first quarter
Helsinki, June 13 (STT)
Finland's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 5.5 per cent year-on-year in the January-to-March period, Statistics Finland (SF) said in a statement Wednesday.

GDP rose by 0.8 per cent from the previous quarter.

Finland sees wood duties quashing Russia's WTO hopes
Helsinki, June 11 (STT)
Paavo Vayrynen (centre), Finland's foreign trade and development minister, said Sunday that Russia's plan to hike duties on roundwood exported to Finland was in the process of becoming a barrier to Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"Finland will not yield in the wood duty issue," Mr Varyrynen added at the St Petersburg economic forum, where he held talks with Peter Mandelson, the EU commissioner for trade, among others.

Mr Vayrynen said Finland's goal was to render the wood duties into a WTO membership deal-breaker alongside the Siberia overflight fees and the tariffs charged by the Russian Railways.

"We have tried to signal to Russia that, in the long run, the wood duties are detrimental, not only to Finland, but to Russia as well."

Mr Vayrynen reminded Russia that it had made a commitment in 2004 to demolish barriers to free trade.

Finns held by Iran return to Dubai
Helsinki, June 9 (STT)
Three Finns seized by Iran off the island of Abu Musa in the Persian Gulf a week ago returned to Dubai in good health Saturday afternoon, their employer Nokia Siemens Networks said.

Barry French, a Nokia Siemens spokesman, said the men had been treated well.

Iran freed the men on Wednesday but they were held up on the island, claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates, because of adverse weather.

The men had been arrested after sailing into Iran's territorial waters, apparently by mistake. Iran has said it will not charge the men with trespassing.

Finland to launch security council campaign in 2008
Helsinki, June 8 (STT)
The Finnish government said Friday it would begin its campaign for non-permanent membership of the UN security council in the autumn of 2008.

The campaign consists of Finnish politicians and civil servants raising the issue at international meetings and convincing other UN members of Finland's superiority as a candidate.

The election for the 2013-4 term is to be held at the UN general assembly meeting in 2012. The last time Finland was a non-permanent member of the security council was in 1989-90.

Nasdaq buys OMX for EUR 2.8 bln
Helsinki, May 25 (STT)
New York-based stock market operator Nasdaq is to buy Nordic bourse operator OMX, the latter company said in a statement Friday.

Nasdaq's offer values OMX at 2.8 billion euros, a 19-per cent markup on OMX's Wednesday share price.

"The future of exchanges is about technology, flexibility and scale. Nasdaq and OMX together deliver all of these benefits," said in the OMX statement Robert Greifeld, the chief executive of Nasdaq.

The Helsinki Stock Exchange is part of OMX's six-bourse Nordic and Baltic portfolio.

Finland's Halonen sees no problems in Finnish-American relations
Helsinki, May 16 (STT)
Tarja Halonen, the Finnish president, said in an interview with MTV3 on Tuesday that she did not see any problems in the country's relations with the US.

National daily Helsingin Sanomat had reported that George Bush, the US president, had turned down Finland's request for a head of state-level meeting. President Halonen is to fly to New York on Wednesday.

President Halonen told the commercial television station that although she had received better-than-normal treatment during her past visits to the US, she was not a very interesting figure from America's point of view.

President Halonen characterised her contacts with President Vladimir Putin of Russia as going beyond good neighbourly relations. "In a way Russia regards us as more important than the US does," President Halonen added.

Nokia increases its second quarter 2007 device market share outlook
Helsinki, May 14 (Nokia)
Espoo, Finland - Nokia today updated its device market share outlook for the second quarter 2007. Nokia now expects its share of the global device market to increase sequentially in the second quarter 2007, from its estimated 36% share at the end of the first quarter.

This is updated from the outlook Nokia provided in its first quarter 2007 earnings announcement on April 19, 2007, when the company said it expected its device market share in the second quarter 2007 to be approximately at the same level sequentially.

Nokia believes that its device shipments in the second quarter 2007 will be positively impacted, as excess device inventory in the market has sufficiently cleared. In its first quarter 2007 earnings announcement, Nokia said that it believed there had been an impact in the market from the excess inventory of certain of its competitors' products in the first quarter. This excess inventory also temporarily impacted Nokia's visibility into short term market developments.

Nokia continues to target an increase in its market share in mobile devices for the full year 2007.

Russia's wood duties would have "dramatic" impact on Finland -PM
Helsinki, May 14 (STT)
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (centre) of Finland told the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) on Sunday that the impact of Russia's wood export duties would be "dramatic" from the point of view of the Finnish forestry industry.

Mr Vanhanen predicted that Finnish mills would all but stop importing raw material from Russia. About a fifth of the wood used by Finland's forestry sector currently comes from Russia.

The prime minister said Finland would back the European commission in its talks with Russia in order to persuade the county to remove the "very large risk" from the agenda.

Nokia wins giant handset order from China Postel
Helsinki, May 11 (STT)
Finnish mobile telecommunications group Nokia said in a statement Friday that as part of a new strategic partnership agreement, distributor China Postel would buy handsets to the value of about 1.9 billion euros in 2007.

China Postel has sold more than 37 million Nokia handsets since the two companies started their partnership in 1998.

Finnair cruises back into black in first quarter
Helsinki, May 4 (STT)
Finnish flag carrier Finnair on Friday reported a January-March pretax profit of 13.4 million euros versus a year-ago loss of 5.2 million, thanks to strong demand and falling unit costs.

Sales grew by 10 per cent year-on-year to about 529 million euros.

"We have worked hard to improve efficiency and profitability of the company, and in this work we have not been able to avoid painful solutions. Through our own actions we have, however, managed to turn last year's weak financial performance into a clearly better effort this year," Jukka Hienonen, the chief executive of Finnair, said in a statement, referring to the carrier's ongoing 80-million-euro efficiency programme.

Finnish Parliament elects Vanhanen PM
Helsinki, April 17 (STT)
Finland's Parliament on Tuesday elected Matti Vanhanen, the Centre party leader, to continue as prime minister.

All the opposition party MPs present, a total of 70, voted against Mr Vanhanen.

Mr Vanhanen is to lead a coalition comprising the Centre party, the National Coalition party, the Green League and the Swedish People's party.

Paavo Vayrynen, an old hand in Finland's Centre party, is to be foreign trade and development minister in the country's new centre-right cabinet.

Considering the National Coalition party had named Ilkka Kanerva foreign minister, the entire foreign ministry will now be led by two old hands who learned the ropes in the 1970s in an utterly different world from the 21st century.

Finns come second in Europe happiness survey
Helsinki, April 17 (STT)
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have concluded that Finns are the second-happiest people in the EU-15 after Danes, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on Tuesday.

Luisa Corrado, the head of the research project, told the news agency that the survey showed that trust in society was very important as a cause of happiness.

The happiness ratings are partly based on about 20,000 interviews across the 15 EU countries in 2004.

Vanhanen includes Greens in government talks
Helsinki, April 4 (STT)
Matti Vanhanen, chairman of Finland's Centre party and interim prime minister, announced Wednesday that he would welcome the Green League in talks to form a new government, adding his party's main coalition partner would be the National Coalition party.

As tradition dictates, Mr Vanhanen also invited the Swedish People's party to the negotiations.

The talks, led by Mr Vanhanen as the head of the party with the highest number of seats in Parliament, are to begin at the House of Estates in Helsinki next Wednesday and expected to last four or five days.

In the 18 March general election, the Social Democratic party suffered defeat at the hands of the National Coalition party.

New Stora Enso CEO says wood shortage leading to production cuts
Helsinki, March 30 (STT)
Jouko Karvinen, the new chief executive of Finnish paper maker Stora Enso, expressed concern on Thursday over the increasingly scarce supply of wood.

Speaking at the company's annual general meeting in Helsinki, Mr Karvinen said problems in access to the raw material were already leading to production restrictions at the company's Enocell pulp mill in the second quarter.

"The increasingly severe shortage of wood is a fact for Stora Enso and the European wood product industry," Mr Karvinen said.

The Russian government is about to raise export duties on wood, threatening to end imports to Finland within a couple of years.

Jouko Karvinen took over the helm of Stora Enso on Thursday from Jukka Harmala, who had led the company 18 years.

Mr Karvinen said the key element in Stora Enso's strategy would be a change of focus from growth to profitability.

Euro more popular in Finland than in eurozone on average
Helsinki, March 27 (STT)
Asked by London-based thinktank Open Europe whether a return to the previous national currency would be a good idea, some 59 per cent of Finns said no and 38 per cent yes, compared with the eurozone average figures of 47 and 49 per cent, respectively.

Some 63 per cent of the Finnish respondents said `againstL when asked which way they would vote in a referendum on a new treaty transferring more power to the EU. Across the 27 member states, opinions were split down the middle with 41 per cent saying `forL and 41 per cent `againstL.

Open Europe, which is highly critical of the EULs supranational power, made the results of its survey public late on Friday. More than 17,000 people were interviewed.

Finnish finance ministry boosts 2007 forecast by 0.1 pt
Helsinki, March 27 (STT)
Finland's finance ministry said in its economic bulletin on Tuesday it expected the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 3.1 per cent this year, up by a tenth of a point from the previous bulletin, but added that it saw the rate slowing down to 2.7 per cent in 2008, down by two tenths from the previous forecast, saying the Finnish economy was "losing steam"

"However, with growth estimated at nearly 3 per cent next year, it remains fairly strong," the ministry added.

"To keep the tail end of the upswing under control, considerable restraint needs to be maintained in all sectors, especially in financial policy and the labour market."

Finnair places order for further seven Airbus widebody jets
Helsinki, March 8 (STT)
Finnish flag carrier Finnair said in a statement Thursday it would speed up the renewal of its long-haul fleet by ordering seven additional widebody jets from Airbus.

Finnair expects to have all seven aircraft in operation by 2010.

The new order raises the total value of Finnair's Airbus widebody orders to about two billion euros. In 2005, the airline ordered nine widebody aircraft from Airbus.

Advance voting begins in Finland
Helsinki, March 7 (STT)
Advance voting in Finland's general election began at 1095 polling stations, 233 of which abroad, on Wednesday.

The advance voting started actively, by 6 P.M. yesterday 163,000 had given their vote, about 4% of the eligible voters.

Advance voting ends on Saturday abroad and on 13 March in Finland. Election day is Sunday 18 March.

China overtakes US in Finnish trade statistics
Helsinki, March 2 (STT)
Last year, the volume of trade between Finland and China jumped by about 40 per cent to overtake that with the US, a statement by Finland's National Bureau of Customs showed on Friday.

The volume of trade with China rose to 6.098 billion euros while Finland-US trade inched up to 6.086 billion from 5.016 billion in 2005.

Finnish GDP up 5.3 pct yr/yr in fourth quarter
Helsinki, March 1 (STT)
The volume of Finland's seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 5.3 per cent year-on-year in October-December last year, Statistics Finland (SF) said in a statement Thursday.

In the January-to-December period, GDP rose by 5.5 per cent from 2005, it added.

Russian timber duties on Finland's EU agenda -Lehtomaki
Helsinki, February 23 (STT)
Finland is bringing its concerns about Russia's increase in timber duties before the European Union, according to Paula Lehtomaki (centre), Finland's foreign trade minister.

Ms Lehtomaki told the Finnish News Agency (STT) on Thursday that Finland and other member states are planning to actively keep in contact with the European Commission on this issue.

The Commission is to negotiate with Russia, as trade policy matters specifically belong to the European Commission's jurisdiction. "Of course the question will also be brought up in bilateral contacts between Finland and Russia," Ms Lehtomaki said.

According to the foreign trade minister this is a question of principle, as Russia is about to become a member in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and a commitment to dismantling trade barriers is part of becoming a member.

Metso Paper supplies large paper making line to Oji Paper in Japan
Helsinki, February 7 (Metso)
Metso Paper will supply Oji Paper Co., Ltd. in Japan with a large OptiConcept paper making line. The new 350,000 tpy PM N-1 light-weight coated paper production line will be constructed at Oji Paper's Tomioka mill located in Anan City on Shikoku island. Start-up is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2008. The total value of the order is more than EUR 100 million. The OptiConcept paper machine will have a wire width of 10.2 m and a design speed of 2,000 m/min. It is an all on-line machine, featuring the first on-line OptiLoad multinip calender in Japan. The delivery also includes two WinRoll winders, various auxiliaries, process systems, air systems and site services.

Within the past eight months, four new, large papermaking lines have been announced in the country, with Metso Paper selected as the main supplier for three of them: Nippon Paper's Ishinomaki mill PM N6, Hokuetsu Paper Mills' Niigata PM 9, and Oji Paper's Tomioka PM 1.

Nokia says Q4 market share flat qtr/qtr at 36 pct
Helsinki, January 25 (STT)
Finnish mobile telecommunications giant Nokia said Thursday it estimated its final-quarter mobile device market share to have stayed unchanged from the previous quarter at 36 per cent and risen from 34 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The global mobile phone market leader's final-quarter net sales rose by 13 per cent year-on-year to 11.7 billion euros while its pretax profit inched up to 1.57 billion euros from 1.45 billion in October-December 2005.

Earnings per share (EPS) jumped by 28 per cent from the year-ago to 32 euro cents in the quarter when Nokia sold 106 million units, up 19 per cent sequentially and year-on-year, for an average selling price of 89 euros, down from 93 euros in the third quarter of last year.

High labour costs hurt Finland's ability to compete
Helsinki, January 15 (STT)
The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) said Monday that the news that Finnish mobile phone component maker Perlos was ending manufacturing in the country with the loss of some 1,200 jobs had come as no surprise.

Penna Urrila, the EK's chief economist, said Finland was not in the best way competitive in industries labour costs were key.

"These are not that extraordinary news, for the world around us is changing. But at the same time we should bear in mind that employment in Finland has been rising quite well and will, according to forecasts, continue to do so. Structural change will of course continue," Mr Urrila said.

Finnish exports hit record EUR 5.7 bln in December
Helsinki, January 9 (STT)
Finnish exports rose by 12 per cent year-on-year to 5.7 billion euros in December, breaking monthly exports record, preliminary statistics released by the National Board of Customs (NBC) on Tuesday showed.

The balance of trade surplus stood at 840 million euros, up from 672 million in the year-ago period.

Finnish finance ministry upgrades 2006 GDP growth forecast to 5.9 pct
Helsinki, December 19 (STT)
Finland's finance ministry said in its economic bulletin on Tuesday it expected the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 5.9 per cent in 2006, up from its September forecast of 4.5 per cent.

"The economy is growing at a record rate similar to the one witnessed in 1997-8, except employment, growing at a rate of 1.6 per cent, is slower by half than during the boom a decade ago, whereas productivity growth is correspondingly higher," the bulletin said.

Repeating September's forecast, the ministry added it expected Finnish GDP growth to slow down to about 3 per cent next year.