Companies owned by private equity and venture capital investors are growing at immense pace – up to twentyfold growth rate compared to other companies

Companies owned by private equity and venture capital investors (PE investors) are clearly growing faster than peer companies, according to a recent impact study of the PE industry carried out by PwC and the Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA). The growth was very strong both in terms of turnover and the number of personnel.

According to the impact study, the annual turnover growth of PE investors’ portfolio companies within three years of the first investment is eight times faster than within a comparison group collected from companies of the same size, operating in the same industries. In companies that have a PE investor behind them the growth is 45%, while the growth rate in the comparison group is 6%.

PE investors invest in unlisted startups and growth companies, and own either a majority or a minority stake of the company. The ownership period is typically 3–7 years, during which they, as active owners, help companies grow. After this, the PE investor leaves the ownership and the company moves to the next stage of growth, for example by listing on the stock exchange.

In addition to the well-known Wolt, Supercell and Musti and Mirri, PE investors have been involved in accelerating the growth of many companies in Finland. Even at the moment, more than 600 growth-oriented companies have a PE investor as their owner, and new portfolio companies are constantly being sought“, states Jussi Lehtinen, PwC partner who has been responsible for the study.

The number of personnel in PE investors’ portfolio companies grows up to 20 times faster than comparison companies. The annual growth measured over a three-year period is 39%, compared to 2% in the reference companies. At the same time, portfolio companies’ turnover per employee increases more than fourfold per year compared to the comparison group.

Majority of the increase in the number of personnel comes from when new jobs are created as the company’s operations grow, but acquisitions are also part of PE investors’ strategy. This group of fast-growing companies would often also have the desire to recruit more, but there is a shortage of skilled labor in both startups and growth companies“, says Jonne Kuittinen, who is in charge of the research at FVCA.

Skilled capital accelerating economic growth

PE investors invest in companies outside the stock exchange from the funds they collect. At the end of 2021, the combined turnover of the capital investors’ portfolio companies was more than 20 billion euros, which is about five percent of the turnover of all Finnish companies. At the same time, about 76,000 people worked in portfolio companies in Finland, which corresponds to about five percent of the number of people working in all companies in Finland. In addition, portfolio companies of Finnish PE investors employed around 18,000 people abroad.

The availability of skilled capital has also been identified as a key area for Finland’s growth in the report (in Finnish) published last year by the sustainable growth working group set up by the Minister of Economic Affairs, Mika Lintilä. According to the report, in order to ensure the availability of PE investments, ways to increase the interest and opportunities of both domestic and foreign LP investors to invest in Finnish PE funds must be considered.

Through private PE funds, PE investors invest in Finland’s most promising growth companies.

“The results of the report show once again that PE investors accelerate the growth of Finnish companies with skilled capital and create sustainable prosperity in Finland. The owner group aiming for bold growth has a significant social impact. It is especially emphasized in this kind of market situation, where growth may otherwise slow down and productivity development is bland”, concludes FVCA’s Managing Director Pia Santavirta.

Read the whole study here
Pictures for media

More information:

Pia Santavirta
FVCA, Managing Director
+358 40 546 7749

Jussi Lehtinen
PwC/Strategy&, Partner
+358 20 787 8756

Jonne Kuittinen
FVCA, Operations Manager
+358 44 333 3267

Further information about the study

The report by PwC/Strategy& and Finnish Venture Capital Association examines the impact of PE investments on the growth of Finnish portfolio companies. The information was collected through a survey aimed at Finnish PE investors regarding their portfolio companies. The sample covers 44 investors and 512 portfolio companies, of which 324 are classified in the venture capital category, 88 into growth category and 100 into buyout category. These represent a significant part of the Finnish portfolio companies. For the purpose of comparison, a control group was built for each investment category by collecting data from companies of the same size operating in the same industries.

Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA) is the industry body and public policy advocate for the venture capital and private equity investors in Finland. We represent a diverse group of investors, that build sustainable growth and whose target companies employ more than 70 000 employees.

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