Finnish Private Equity and Venture Capital Investors Named 54 Portfolio Companies with Potential to Be Listed in the Next Five Years

Since 2015, approximately half of the companies listed in the Helsinki Stock Exchange have been private equity-backed. During the same period, private equity and venture capital investors (“PE investors”) have invested a total of more than €5.2 billion in Finnish unlisted startups and growth companies. PE investors help accelerate the growth of portfolio companies, and it shows: in a recent survey, Finnish PE investors highlighted a total of 54 top companies from their portfolios, which have the potential to be listed on the stock exchange over the next five years.

PE investors invest in unlisted startups and growth companies that have strong growth potential and ambition for internationalisation. PE investors are active owners and they bring not only capital but also higher growth appetite, knowledge, and connections to their portfolio companies. PE investors’ ownership period typically lasts from 3 to 7 years and always leads to an exit – the portfolio company is sold to a new owner to implement the next phase of growth. Listing the portfolio company on the stock exchange, selling it to an industrial buyer or selling it to another investor are the most common exit methods.

In 2019, Finnish PE investors exited a total of 40 later-stage growth companies and 36 startups. Of these companies, Optomed was listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Main Market and LeadDesk on First North Growth Market Finland. Musti Group was also listed in the Main Market at the beginning of 2020. Of all Finnish companies listed between 2015-2020, 46% were private equity-backed – meaning that they had a PE investor as an owner either at the time of listing or earlier in their growth-path. Companies listed in the Main Market in recent years from PE investors’ portfolios include Harvia, Kamux, Silmäasema, Tokmanni, Kotipizza, Consti, Pihlajalinna, and Asiakastieto.

“PE investors work determinately to accelerate the growth and internationalisation of the companies they own. Listing on a stock exchange can be one of the long-term goals for a portfolio company, in which case the company’s brand and operating models are developed throughout the ownership period to prepare for that goal. Musti Group, listed earlier this year, is a good example of how an entrepreneur-driven company has grown in the ownership of PE investors (Vaaka Partners and EQT) into a listed company with international reach and a well-known brand. PE investors constantly look for similar companies in different sectors, which they can help build into success stories”, says Pia Santavirta, Managing Director of the Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA).

Potential Listings in 2020-2024

This year, in a survey sent out to the members of the FVCA, a total of 54 portfolio companies emerged as potential stock exchange listings in the next 5 years. 15 of the companies named are startups and 39 later-stage growth companies, and more than half of all the companies are B2B product or service providers.

“Buyout investors focus on later-stage companies, whose growth-paths typically involve acquisitions and the internationalisation of business operations that already have a strong foothold in Finland. Venture capital investors, on the other hand, invest in startups, which often create something completely new and disrupt traditional industries. While both types of companies have especially one thing – strong growth orientation – in common, they offer a lot of variety for someone investing in the stock market”, Santavirta describes.

What is new this year, is that more listing options have become available. In addition to the Main Market and Nasdaq First North Growth Market, a new Premier segment is now available on the First North Growth Market, which also offers an interesting new exit possibility for PE investors.

“The Nasdaq First North Growth Market has grown significantly in recent years and we now have 33 companies trading in Finland. With the Premier segment, we can offer companies the opportunity to gain better investor visibility by complying with higher listing requirements than the standard First North rules, while they prepare for a possible Main Market listing”, says Henrik Husman, President of Nasdaq Helsinki.

“Growth-oriented companies aiming for the international markets are important for Finland’s sustainable economic growth, which is why it is now crucial to ensure their operating environment here remains stable and favourable. Finland’s economic situation will not be improved by weakening the operating environment for growth companies, but by developing it”, Santavirta concludes.

Additional Information:

 

Finnish Venture Capital Association
Pia Santavirta, Managing Director
pia.santavirta@paaomasijoittajat.fi
+358 40 546 7749

Nasdaq Helsinki
Henrik Husman, President
henrik.husman@nasdaq.com
09 6166 7208

FVCA is the industry body and public policy advocate for the venture capital and private equity industry in Finland. As the voice of the Finnish VC and PE community and the entrepreneurs they fund, it is our role to demonstrate the positive impact of the industry on the Finnish economy. 

FVCA – Building growth.

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