Regardless of the impact of COVID-19 on global investment flows, the level of foreign direct investments (FDI) towards Finland remained exceptionally high in 2020. Finland’s COVID resilience and the stability of the society resonated with the investors, boosting Finland’s image as an attractive location for new FDIs.
The impact of coronavirus on global investments in 2020 was significant and according to the UNCTAD's preliminary data the global investment flows decreased as much as 42 per cent. Despite the drastic fall in the global investments, Finland succeeded in attracting new businesses and investments. According to Business Finland's data, Finland welcomed altogether 296* new foreign companies last year, which is the highest number since the record year 2017.
"Surprisingly, the amount of new foreign companies has remained the same than in 2019. Most of the new FDIs were made in the business service and the ICT sector. In Finland, the sectors that benefitted the most from the exceptional year of COVID were health tech, ICT, digital consumer services and the logistics", says Head of Invest in Finland Antti Aumo.
Most of the new investments were acquisition-based but there was also a number of new foreign companies that established their operations in Finland. Among the companies that invested in Finland were companies such as consumer electronic brand Garmin, media group Schibsted, software industry service provider Visma, construction machinery rental company Boels, logistics company Mitsubishi Logisnext and digital infrastructure company Equinix.
As the vaccinations start to roll out and the pandemic recedes, economies will start to recover. The pace of the rebound is likely to follow the country's COVID strategy and as Finland has been ranked first in the Covid Economic Recovery Index, based on the demonstrated levels of resilience and potential for economic recovery, Finland's successful COVID strategy could positively impact the existing and potential investors also in the future.
According to the Finland as a Business Location 2020 survey ** foreign companies perceive Finnish business environment more positively than their Finnish counterparts. Foreign companies highly appreciate the well-functioning society as well as the stability and digital infrastructure that Finland has to offer.
"While the situation with the coronavirus is still challenging worldwide, several foreign companies have expressed their thoughts of Finland being indeed an ideal place in the prevailing circumstances for a company to be in", says Aumo.
The highest number of foreign investments to Finland last year came from Sweden, Norway and The Great Britain.
In addition to new FDIs, the number of expansion investments made by foreign companies already operating in Finland were significant in 2020, approximately 130 in total. Companies' willingness to strengthen their existing operations through further investments indicate trust towards the Finnish business environment also in the longer run.
For example, the manufacturing industry had several expansion investments, including Andritz Oy that delivers equipment for paper and pulp industry, announcing expansion investments in Eastern Finland. In addition, pharma companies Bayer and Perkin Elmer Wallac expanded their productions and increased the number of their personnel in Finland last year. Green values were also represented among the foreign investments when both IKEA and Google invested in their own wind farms in Finland.
*Statistics Finland publishes the value of investment data later in fall once the financial statements are finalized.
Head of Invest in Finland, Business Finland
Mobile: +358 40 505 0477
antti.aumo (at) businessfinland.fi
Senior Advisor, Market Intelligence, Business Finland
Mobile: +358 50 477 5176
annabella.polo (at) businessfinland.fi