2019 at Vake: a new strategy and a foundation for the national climate fund

As a result of both Vake’s strategy work and direct contacts, the company has accumulated approximately 150 investment initiatives under the headings of climate change and digitalisation. Although the company has not yet been able to initiate funding, as this requires an investment mandate from its owner, Vake has analysed the initiatives and made preparations for rapid execution. During 2019 the company also started projects in Finnish language artificial intelligence, MyData, and healthcare digitalisation. Vake’s project funding strives to mature specific digital and climate investment initiatives into funding stage.

“We have worked hard to ensure that we are prepared to make digitalisation and climate investments immediately, if our owner so wishes. Marin’s Government decided to create a national climate fund based on Vake in February. We hope our work will be a good foundation for implementing the climate fund,” Vake’s CEO Paula Laine describes.

The coronavirus crisis brings additional pressure to the situation. “Once the acute crisis situation has passed, economic recovery will be sought through investments. The planned climate fund actions could possibly be a part of these activities,” Paula Laine remarks.

Changes in the operating environment

The company’s current operational guideline was given in 2016. The guideline states that funding new business, as well as capital investments and investments in shares will be submitted to the government plenary session’s consideration and decision-making. Thus, political changes in 2019 had a significant impact on the company’s operations and decision-making ability.

After the parliamentary election in April, the Government programme of Antti Rinne (subsequently Sanna Marin) stated the following regarding Vake’s ownership policy:

“As an owner, the State should use its ownership as a means of creating active renewal in society. The State’s capital assets in corporate ownership are so significant that the assets must be put to more efficient use to boost economic growth and employment. The use of capital will be stepped up by means of state ownership steering not only to activate current assets but also to generate new economic activity in Finland. The Finnish State Development Company Vake will play a key role in the efforts to achieve this objective.”

In preparation for the Government’s policy on ownership steering, Vake’s Board received a request in July to submit a proposal for Vake’s new strategy, which would support the Government programme. Accordingly, the company started strategy work that continued throughout autumn. At the heart of the strategy is the role of accelerating digital and climate investments to address market deficiencies with approximately EUR 100 million annual investment volumes. The results were presented as requested by the owner first to Minister of Local Government and Ownership Steering Sirpa Paatero in September, and later on in January 2020 to Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen.

The Government will give more detailed guidelines about the climate fund based on Vake during spring 2020. In Vake’s annual general meeting on April 1st, 2020, a temporary Board, consisting of three members, was appointed. Senior Government Counsellor at the Government ownership steering department at the Prime Minister’s Office Ilpo Nuutinen was appointed Chairman of the Board. Ministerial Adviser Jukka Ohtola will continue as a Board member, and Senior Specialist Mia Rainio was appointed as a new Board member. Both Ohtola and Rainio work for the Government ownership steering department at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Vake’s year 2019 in short:

The result showed a profit of EUR 59.1 million.

At the end of the financial period Vake had holdings of EUR 2.4 billion in its balance sheet. At the time of the annual general meeting on 1.4.2020, the market value of Vake’s holdings was EUR 2.3 billion. The holdings consist of ownership shares in the following companies: Neste Plc 8,3%, Posti Group Plc 49,9%, Altia Plc 36,2%, Vapo 16,7% and Nordic Morning Group Plc 100%. The ownership steering of these holdings remains under the Ownership Steering Department of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Reijo Karhinen acted as the company’s Chairman of the Board since 11/2017. In 2019 the company’s Board members were Chief Director Leena Mörttinen, entrepreneur Maria Ritola, Artificial Intelligence Officer Tuomas Syrjänen, Director Paula Laine (until 6/2019), Senior Financial Counsellor Jarmo Väisänen until 4/2019, and Ministerial Adviser Jukka Ohtola since 4/2019.

Paula Laine has acted as Vake’s CEO since 7/2019. Before this, the company’s CEO was Taneli Tikka. The company has nine employees.

Further information:

Ilpo Nuutinen, Chairman of the Board, tel. 040 500 0535

Paula Laine, CEO, tel. 040 535 9911