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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » March 27, 2013
Finland in Poland
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Not Just Finlandia Vodka
March 27, 2013   
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Kari Vähäkangas, Commercial Counselor and Head of Finpro Poland, talks to Ewa Hancock.

How big is Finnish investment in Poland?
There is no reliable statistical data on Finnish direct investment in Poland because the central banks of both countries mainly focus on monetary flows but are not really interested in what these mean in practice investment-wise. Our understanding is that Finnish investment in Poland comes close to 2 billion euros, which is slightly more than the Poland’s Foreign Investment and Information Agency (PAIiIZ) estimates it to be.

Finnish companies make an important contribution to the Polish economy in terms of employment, technology and know-how. There are 200 companies controlled by Finnish capital in Poland and they employ 30,000 people.

Finnish companies see Poland as an attractive market for doing business. According to the PAIiIZ, Finland ranks fifth among countries investing in Poland in terms of the number of investment projects under preparation. Finland’s rank is even better if we talk about the value of these projects. The main reasons why Finnish companies consider Poland to be a good location for investment and business are Poland’s dynamic economy; big end-user market as well as high domestic supplier potential, in addition to a hard-working, highly-skilled and relatively cheap work force and the country’s strategic location in Central Europe.

What are the most important areas of business between Poland and Finland, and which sector is the most attractive to Finns?
The Finnish business presence in Poland is remarkable, especially in sectors such as energy, clean technology, machinery, building materials, pulp and paper, telecommunications as well as software and IT services. We should also highlight several shared service and R&D centers which Finnish companies have established to take advantage of Poland’s skilled labor.

Bilateral trade between Poland and Finland is close to 3 billion euros annually. Finland has a relatively high trade surplus with Poland, unlike in the case of other Scandinavian countries, where Poland’s exports exceed imports.

Can you give an example of a big Finnish success story in Poland?
For example, Itella Information is a leading company in the field of financial process outsourcing and was recently rewarded for its investment success by the Polish media. Eltel Networks is a market leader in Poland in electricity and telecommunication network building and maintenance; it has over 3,000 employees. Stora Enso Packaging dominates the corrugated and industrial packaging market in Poland and is finalizing a new investment project with a value of several hundred million euros. Cargotec was a leading investor in the Polish machinery sector two years ago and is now modifying its supplier base to make it more Polish. In the IT service and software sector we have several well-established companies among which Tieto is the most remarkable. Fiskars is a well-known consumer brand for those who like gardening or cooking. We should not forget Finlandia Vodka. Nowadays, it is in American ownership but its products are produced and bottled in Finland. For Finlandia Vodka, Poland is the number one export market worldwide.
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