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Transfer of ownership

Are you thinking about buying or selling a company? Transfer of ownership raises questions for both buyer and seller. What’s the value of your company? What should you take into account when buying a company and where do you get the financing needed? We have compiled information about these issues in one place.

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We provide financing for the start, growth and internationalisation of enterprises and for protection against export risks.

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Start Guarantee for the start-up

Start Guarantee is intended for newly launched enterprises that are owned by private individuals and meet the SME definition applied by the EU. The bank will submit an online application for a Start Guarantee to Finnvera on behalf of the enterprise.

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Applying for growth financing

Finnvera's online service provides a secure and easy way for submitting financing applications. Log in to the service using your personal banking ID or your Katso ID.

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Press Releases
Finnvera to sell most of its holding in Seed Fund Vera Ltd

Finnvera plc is selling about 80 per cent of its holding in Seed Fund Vera Ltd. This deal is one step in the process where Finnvera gradually gives up its venture capital investments.The holding is being sold to Innovestor Kasvurahasto I Ky, a Finnish limited partnership. Finnvera will remain an owner of Seed Fund Vera Ltd, with a holding of about 20 per cent. The Fund attracted interest among both Finnish and foreign buyers. Innovestor’s offer corresponded most closely to the seller’s objectives.Now that there will be a new private company on the venture capital investment market, the arrangement ensures the continuity of the Fund’s investment activities and provides better opportunities to obtain further financing for the portfolio companies.Underlying the deal is the policy decision made by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, whereby responsibility for the development of early-stage venture capital investments, which used to be vested in Finnvera, has been transferred to Tekes Venture Capital Ltd.The Seed Fund has activated private investment“From the perspective of its impact, Finnvera’s early-stage investment has been important. Through the Fund’s activities, portfolio companies have acquired a total of EUR 350 million in private capital. Of this total, business angels have accounted for about EUR 90 million. These sums are important even in international comparison,” says Pauli Heikkilä, CEO of Finnvera.The sale of Seed Fund Vera Ltd will bring much private capital and know-how to the Fund. This will add stability to the further development of the portfolio companies. The current portfolio companies will gain more networks and new kinds of opportunities for growth.Finnish Industry Investment and Tekes will share responsibility for the State’s venture capital investmentsFrom now on, Finnish Industry Investment Ltd and Tekes will bear the primary responsibility for the State’s venture capital investments. Of these two, Tekes Venture Capital Ltd, which is administered by Tekes, focuses on early-stage investments through investment funds.Seed Fund Vera Ltd began operations in 2005.Additional information:CEO Pauli Heikkilä, Finnvera plc, +358 29 460 2400

Press Releases
Finnvera’s seminar discussed the State’s role in promoting exports

The seminar ‘Support for export growth – the role of the State of Finland’, organised by Finnvera on 23 November 2016, focused on the State’s role in ensuring the success of Finnish enterprises in international competition.The seminar was opened by Pauli Heikkilä, CEO of Finnvera, who underscored that Finnvera wants to offer Finnish companies the same starting points as those offered by the export credit agencies of competitor countries in their own countries.“The playing field is increasingly challenging. We compete against bigger players, such as Germany, Sweden and Italy,” Heikkilä said.However, Heikkilä stressed that it is not the purpose, nor desirable, to compete on the terms of export financing.“This should be restricted by international agreements. But until that happens, Finland and Finnvera have to meet the challenge.”Demand for Finnvera’s export financing has increased steeply in recent years. In fact, Parliament is currently debating a Government proposal that would raise Finnvera’s statutory limits for export financing from the current EUR 19 billion to EUR 27 billion.“We can ask whether Finland can afford not to offer its enterprises the same type of services as international competitors do,” Heikkilä pondered.In his address, Topi Vesteri, Deputy CEO of Finnvera and President of the Berne Union, discussed the role of export credit agencies in the changing landscape of world trade.“Globally, exports have grown most rapidly in China. In consequence, Chinese public financial institutions have become the largest providers of export financing. The playing field is less level than ever before because the international rules only apply to OECD members. Now it’s interesting to see whether the Trump Administration will close public export financing in the United States or whether it sees the opportunity to create jobs through exports,” said Vesteri.Panellists: Statutory limits must be sufficiently highThe importance of the State for exports was also discussed by two panels. The members on the first panel were Ilona Lundström, Director General of the Enterprise and Innovation Department, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment; Pentti Pikkarainen, Director General of the Financial Markets Department, Ministry of Finance; Tommi Toivola, Chief Policy Adviser, Confederation of Finnish Industries; and Peter Zettinig, Researcher, University of Turku.The panellists considered it important to ensure that the State contributes to the success of Finnish export enterprises. They would like to see more input to support the export efforts of SMEs. However, the panel underlined that risks need to be balanced.The second panel concentrated on the perspective of companies. The panellists were Jan Meyer, CEO, Meyer Turku; Timo Ihamuotila, CFO, Nokia Corporation; Kari Hietanen, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations and Legal Affairs, Wärtsilä Corporation; and Hannu Puhakka, Managing Partner, MB Funds (Kotka Mills).The panel recognised that Finnvera very often has a major role in bringing export transactions to a successful conclusion. It is therefore important that the statutory limits for export financing are high enough for Finnish companies to do well in the ever more stringent international competition.Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku, pointed out that when large Finnish companies win major deals, the benefits also trickle down to an extensive network of subcontractors.“The orders for ships secured by the Turku shipyard have a strong positive impact on the SME sector. When smaller enterprises have the opportunity to swim in our tail water, up to 15,000 jobs can be created in Finland,” Meyer said.Additional information:Tarja Svartström, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and HR, tel. +358 40 826 2006Finnvera provides financing for the start, growth and internationalisation of enterprises and for protection against export risks. We strengthen the operating potential and competitiveness of Finnish enterprises by providing loans, domestic guarantees and export financing services. The risks involved in financing are shared between Finnvera and other providers of financing. Finnvera is a specialised financing company owned by the State of Finland. It has official Export Credit Agency (ECA) status.

Finnish companies need guarantees for over a hundred countries

Companies should pay attention to economic sanctions and currency shortages in some export destinations.In recent years, Finnish enterprises have been active in finding new export destinations where they need various financing arrangements.Finnvera has financial commitments or guarantee applications pertaining to 102 countries. As many as half of these are classified as exotic. Raija Rissanen, Vice President, Country and Bank Risks at Finnvera bases her definition of an exotic country on distance, culture and differences in operating environment.The new destinations have also aroused many questions that companies hope to have answered by financial institutions. In particular, the questions apply to economic sanctions and currency shortages.“These are fairly new issues for companies. If a company wants a pre-payment from the buyer, it’s worth considering which channels to use for the transfer. Banks do not accept money from all countries. Now there are also more and more countries that have profitable enterprises but cannot get foreign currency for paying their import invoices,” Rissanen lists.As examples of emerging economies that suffer from sanctions, Rissanen mentions Cuba and Myanmar. These countries have invested heavily in tourism. Russia and Iran are more traditional export destinations that are also subject to economic sanctions.Currency shortages, in turn, plague Nigeria, Egypt and Venezuela. Previously, Argentina also suffered from the same problem.Even though Finnvera has financial commitments in more than a hundred countries, Rissanen still finds many potential destinations where Finns are conspicuous by their absence.“For instance, the financial situation is good in small countries of the Caribbean and Asia.”Major changes in destinationsCommitments as such do not tell the whole truth about the destinations of Finnish exports. Rather, they indicate the priorities of guarantee and financing needs.There have been many changes in export financing since the start of the millennium. Apart from the emergence of exotic countries, virtually the whole top of the list has changed.“At the turn of the millennium the list was topped by China, Thailand and the Philippines. Now, Russia, Brazil and the USA are there. India and Turkey are also rising,” Eeva-Maija Pietikäinen, Head of Trade Finance, lists.In her view, the reasons are clear. China arranges the financing of orders itself, and Russia’s country exposure has accumulated after the mid-2000s. The rise of the United States, in turn, is an indication of large ship orders.“Exposure statistics reflect large projects that show in our records for years. Most of our commitments concern buyer credits. This means that the credit is granted directly to the Finnish exporter’s buyer-customer abroad. The bank provides the financing and Finnvera shares the risk with the bank,” Pietikäinen explains.“Such credits are often worth tens or even hundreds of millions euros,” she continues.The greatest figures are derived from telecommunications, orders for various machines and equipment, shipbuilding, the forest and energy industries, but the role of SMEs is accentuated in the number of transactions.According to Pietikäinen, to protect their sales receivables, companies use credit insurance and letters of credit for the smallest transactions SMEs have not yet found the newest countries where the economy is booming.“SMEs export mostly to European countries where companies must turn to private providers of credit insurance. EU legislation prohibits Finnvera from granting credit insurance for exports to European countries and a few countries outside Europe. From our point of view, Russia is the most active credit insurance market for SMEs,” says Pietikäinen.Finnvera’s outstanding guarantee commitments for export financing amount to EUR 16.5 billion.FACT: Protection mechanisms for SMEs It pays for SMEs to use secured payment terms when doing business, or to protect their sales receivables, in order to avoid credit losses. The most common protection mechanisms are credit insurance, letters of credit and the Bill of Exchange Guarantee. Credit insurance: Finnvera grants credit insurance directly to the export company. The exporter signs an agreement with Finnvera. The insurance is suited to continuous, short-term trading.EU legislation prohibits Finnvera from granting credit insurance for exports to European countries and a few countries outside Europe. See the list here.If the risks are realised, the insurance includes a self-risk portion of ten per cent. The company can seek compensation after a payment delay of 90 days provided that the claim is uncontested.Credit insurance also suits small transactions: For example, Finnvera has credit limits of EUR 10,000.Letter of credit: A letter of credit means that the buyer-customer’s bank undertakes in writing to pay the purchase price to the seller, i.e. the bank issues the letter of credit. Similarly, the seller has an agreement with its own bank, which confirms the letter of credit. The bank, in turn, can share the risk associated with a foreign bank with Finnvera by applying for Finnvera’s Letter of Credit Guarantee. In all cases, the exporter does not necessarily know that a Letter of Credit Guarantee has been used.Bill of Exchange Guarantee: A Bill of Exchange Guarantee is ideal for fairly small capital goods transactions and continuous exports.The bill of exchange serves both the exporter and the buyer because the exporter is paid in cash while the buyer is given payment time. Finnvera’s Bill of Exchange Guarantee, in turn, protects the bank from any credit losses that might arise.The exporter applies for the guarantee from Finnvera and submits credit data and financial statements on both the buyer and the guarantor, if any, over the past three to four years.It is essential that the financing is planned well in advance before the export transaction. In this way it is possible to select the payment method that suits each deal.Read more about the Credit Risk Guarantee and the Export Receivables GuaranteeAlso, read more about the Bill of Exchange GuaranteeSee Finnvera’s country categories hereText: Kimmo Koivikko

Changes in Finnvera’s country risk classification: Argentina upgraded, Brazil downgraded

As a result of Argentina’s favourable prospects, the country’s risk classification has been upgraded to category 6/7. After an absence of 15 years, Argentina has returned to the international financial market. The new Government appointed late last year has settled the country’s old debt disputes and has been quick to launch political and economic reforms that lean towards the market economy.“Argentina’s economic situation is still fragile after a long period of economic isolation, but the direction is right. Thanks to recent developments, the country is again eligible for guarantees. The country’s economy is expected to show an upturn next year and the political situation is likely to remain relatively stable, although getting the entire economy onto a sustainable basis will still take time,” Senior Adviser Mika Relander reflects.Difficulties in the Brazilian economy are seen as greater risks, and the country’s risk classification has therefore been downgraded to 5. The slowdown of the Brazilian economy is already in its fifth consecutive year, and together with the political crisis, the outlook has remained uncertain. However, the worst is believed to be over in Brazil, and the economy is predicted to grow slightly next year. The new Government is also expected to make proposals for measures to invigorate the economy.“In the longer term, Brazil is a strong and diverse economy that has the prerequisites for emerging from the recession through domestic demand. However, to achieve stronger growth, Brazil needs both structural reforms and a favourable price trend for commodities important to the country’s exports,” Relander says.Brazil is Finnvera’s third largest market with a country exposure of about two billion euros.Country classification has an impact on the collateral requirements set by Finnvera for financing export trade. In its operations, Finnvera complies with the minimum premium rates determined by the country category.Finnvera takes an active part in the activities of the OECD group of country risk experts, which classifies countries at least once a year.See Finnvera’s country classification map.Additional information:Mika Relander, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 29 460 2725

Companies strive to keep trade relations alive in Russia

A theme year may bring new opportunities for the cleantech sector. An upturn in the economy is anticipated.After the dismal past year, Finnish companies are anxiously awaiting positive signals from Russia.During this autumn, individual enterprises have actually had better news to report, but the road to the peak years is still long.Trade between Finland and Russia hit some sort of rock bottom last year, when exports fell by nearly one third on the previous year, to EUR 3.2 billion. In the best years of this millennium, the value of goods crossing Finland’s eastern border exceeded EUR 7.5 billion.According to Finnvera’s experts, the most positive feature of the Russian economy is that the bottom has been reached. Forecasting institutions predict that the economy will grow by about one per cent next year. Growth is fuelled by global oil prices, which also affect the rouble.“Inflation has slowed down and industrial production shows an upswing. In addition, Russia is experiencing a real tourist boom from Asia,” Senior Adviser Outi Homanen lists.In the same breath, she points out that the political situation adds uncertainty to forecasts.Timo Pietiläinen, Head of Finnvera’s Representative Office in Russia, has been surprised at how ready Russians have been to compromise on their own standard of living.In his view, a real change would require an annual growth rate of over three per cent.“Investments are virtually frozen. No economic reforms have been made. These are big problems in the long term,” Pietiläinen says.Pietiläinen is based in St. Petersburg, so he is well aware of Russian investment needs.Finnish companies are able to sell machinery and equipment, for example, to the food industry and agriculture. In addition, Russia needs subcontractors for the maritime industry.“Next year will be the Year of the Environment in Russia, which will open doors for cleantech companies. Otherwise demand focuses on fairly traditional sectors. However, it is possible to export products profitably from here to the Western market if labour and costs are in the local currency, but income is received in a foreign currency,” Pietiläinen believes.As good examples he mentions enterprises that have become established in Russia and specialise in the wood processing and building products industries.Present at difficult timesOn 20 October, the Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce held a Finnish Business event in Moscow, where 67 Finnish companies and business organisations were present. In all, the event was attended by about 400 guests.According to Executive Vice President Jussi Haarasilta of Finnvera, one message of the event was that Finnish companies strive to keep trade relations alive even in difficult times.“Russians are really cautious in their investments. Our exposure has decreased and we have good opportunities to help Finnish enterprises. The largest sectors from Finnvera’s perspective are ICT and the forest industry,” Haarasilta explains.Homanen shares Haarasilta’s view. Companies engaged in business with Russia know the local customs and trading partners well. There are few newcomers.“We receive inquiries but projects proceed very slowly,” Outi Homanen says.She recommends credit insurance for short-term trading.“Guarantees are granted for good buyers even though payment defaults have increased. We’re careful when determining the buyer’s creditworthiness.”Timo Pietiläinen also underlines the importance of having an expert on Russia if a Finnish company wants to do business with Russians.“It pays to ensure that the expert has up-to-date information. Know-how is quickly outdated,” Pietiläinen says.FACT: Russia Finnvera’s country risk category for Russia is 4/7, i.e. decreased credit quality. Credit insurance and medium-term and long-term export credit guarantees can be granted for Russia, taking into account the sanctions imposed by the EU. Gross domestic product: Approximately EUR 1,078 billion. Finland’s gross domestic product is EUR 207 billion. Gross domestic product per capita: EUR 7,501. Finland’s gross domestic product per capita is EUR 37,827. Economic growth: -3.7% (2015). The forecast for the current year is -0.9%–1.8%. Consensus forecast for next year +1.0%. Inflation: 12.9%. Exports: EUR 472 billion. Finland’s imports from Russia totalled EUR 6.0 billion. 73% of this were energy products. Imports: EUR 292 billion. Finland’s exports to Russia totalled EUR 3.2 billion. The largest group consisted of chemical substances and products (24.4%). Principal sectors: Agriculture (about 5% of the GDP), industry (about 40% of the GDP, including the coal, oil, gas, mining, chemical and metal industries) and services (about 55% of the GDP, including trade, repair services, real estate agencies and leasing services). Currency, the Rouble: The exchange rate is 1 euro to 68.6 roubles. More information about Finnvera’s export credit guarantees is available here.Sources: Statistics Finland, World Bank, Focus Economics, Finnish Customs.Text: Kimmo Koivikko

Deputy CEO Topi Vesteri of Finnvera to continue as President of the Berne Union

Topi Vesteri, Deputy CEO of Finnvera, was re-elected President of the Berne Union – the International Union of Credit and Investment Insurers.The selection was made at the Annual General Meeting of the Berne Union in Lisbon. Chief Operations Officer Mandisi Nkuhlu of ECIC SA, the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa, was elected Vice-President.The Berne Union members include both State-owned export credit agencies and private and multilateral insurers of credit and political risks. The 82 members represent 73 countries, which together account for 90 per cent of the world’s population.In 2015, the Berne Union’s member organisations insured export transactions for a total of over USD 1.8 trillion.“The world trade volumes reported by WTO fell by 13 per cent between 2014 and 2015. The reason is the drop in raw material prices and the consequent highly cautious investment atmosphere. The increased geopolitical risks and economic sanctions have also had an impact on declining trade volumes. However, the volume of the Berne Union members fell considerably less, only by seven per cent. I consider this an indication of the Union members’ balancing role in world trade,” Topi Vesteri says.Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the Berne Union members have provided USD 35 billion for indemnifying export companies and financing banks against risks.“However, when the premiums charged for risk-taking and the recovery of the claims paid are taken into account, the operations are profitable,” Vesteri points out.Additional information:Topi Vesteri, Deputy CEO, tel. +358 29 460 2676

Press Releases
Trade relations between Finland and Iran to strengthen

Finland and Iran have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which is the first step in efforts to facilitate the financing of Finnish companies’ export projects.For Finland, the memorandum was signed by Executive Vice President Jussi Haarasilta of Finnvera. The signing ceremony took place during the visit to Iran by the President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö.Haarasilta anticipates that Finnish companies will gradually have better export opportunities to Iran.“Following the dismantling of economic sanctions, Finnvera has already provided guarantees for trade with Iran. For us to be able to contribute to the financing of increasingly large business deals, both Finland and Iran must show strong commitment. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is an important step on this path. For this we are glad. Finnvera’s mission is to promote the exports of both small and large Finnish enterprises and to secure a competitive export financing system.”Haarasilta sees export opportunities for Finnish companies in several industries.“Cleantech, the bioeconomy and mining technology are good examples of industries important to Iranians where Finns have solid expertise. Infrastructure projects also have potential for Finland,” he assesses.Haarasilta points out, however, that monetary transactions with Iran still involve challenges.“An export company planning to do business in Iran should contact the bank and Finnvera as early as possible,” he stresses.Additional information: Jussi Haarasilta, tel. +358 29 460 2601Photo: The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Tehran by Jussi Haarasilta (Finnvera) and Mohammad Khazaee (Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran). Photo credit: Juhani Kandell/Office of the President of the Republic


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