Estonian companies buy into more and more Finnish companies

Operail invested €50 million in Finland in 2019.
Operail invested €50 million in Finland in 2019. Source: ERR

According to Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, there is a growing tendency among Estonian companies to buy into Finnish companies in order to have access to Finnish markets.

Irene Surva-Lehtonen, export adviser on Estonia-Finland export at Enterprise Estonia (EAS), told Helsingin Sanomat that Estonian companies have always been interested in entering Finnish markets. Finland is the primary export market for Estonian companies partly because of similarities in culture and language. Estonian entrepreneurs are looking for ways to expand to Finland if they have grown large enough at home.

Surva-Lehtonen said that there are currently around 1,500 Estonian companies active in Finland. The amount of subsidiary companies of larger Estonian companies is still higher than those that have been bought into.

There are currently around 6,000 Finnish companies active in Estonia.

Most Estonian companies in Finland are active in a triangular area bordered by the counties of Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa and Varsinais-Suomi, but there are companies operating outside of that area as well.

The most known Finnish company that an Estonian company has bought into is Silja Line, a shipper that Tallink acquired in 2006. Lately, another company listed on the Tallinn stock exchange is making waves in Finland - Harju Elekter, which has acquired Finnish companies Satmatic, Finnkumu, and Telesilla.

Elenger and Operail have also entered Finnish markets via subsidiary, dealing with natural gas and railroad transport, respectively.

Mika Sucksdorff, chairman of the Finnish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce, also emphasizes the similarities in culture and language of the two countries: "Finland is a neighbor market and since it is bigger than the Estonian market, it is attractive to Estonian companies. They are looking more and more into entering Finland."

Sucksdorff said that Estonian companies are helped in expanding to Finland because of outsourcing which Estonian companies have used to acquire know-how and the contacts necessary to operate in Finnish markets.

Estonian companies in Finland operate in many sectors, with construction being popular, but also metal and machinery, electronics, wood.

Surva-Lehtonen noted: "Their part in the service sector has also increased over the years."

Sucksdorff added that while large Estonian companies like Tallink or Operail get more attention, there are many smaller companies working in Finland as well. "There are many Estonian IT companies here which have expanded to Finland."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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