The state of Finland has increased its ownership to over five percent in local network equipment manufacturer Nokia through the state holding company Solidium, the Finnish news agency STT reported on Friday.
According to a Nokia press release, Solidium now holds 283 million Nokia shares, or 5.01 percent of the company. Finnish law requires notification when ownership in a publicly listed company exceeds five percent.
The Finnish state’s stake in Nokia is now worth approximately 1.1 billion euros (1.3 billion U.S. dollars). The state began buying Nokia in 2018, when it acquired just over three percent of the company’s shares. It has accelerated its purchases since the autumn of 2019, and its holdings in Nokia have grown by about one percent over the past 12 months, STT reported.
Antti Makinen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Solidium, told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper on Friday that “in line with its assignment,” the state holding company “strengthens and stabilizes Finnish ownership in Nokia.” He described Nokia as a company “very important to Finland.”
Finnish commentators pointed to rumors about increased U.S. interest in both Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia. American media speculated in June that the U.S. administration would support a U.S. capital investor that would buy either company.
According to government sources, the state of Finland is currently minority owner in 18 companies and majority or sole owner in 48 companies, among them the airline Finnair and the energy company Fortum.