Impact Study: Companies Owned by Finnish Venture Capital and Buyout Investors are the Fastest-Growing Businesses in Finland
A study conducted by the Finnish Venture Capital Association and KPMG Oy Ab found that in the first three years following a venture capital or buyout (later private equity) investment, Finnish companies have seen an average annual increase in turnover of more than 50 %, as well as an average increase in the number of personnel of 23 %. When compared to similar companies of the same size in the same industry, the average growth rate of private equity-backed companies was nine times faster in turnover and five times faster measured by the number of personnel.
The study analysed the development of companies that received their first private equity (PE) investment between 2010-2016 over three years up until 2019 and compared the results to a peer group. According to the study, the total turnover of Finnish PE-backed companies increased by almost €4 billion in the first three years following the initial investment, which means that the turnover of these companies grew by an average of 51.2 % per year. In comparison, the turnover of peer companies grew by an average of 5.6 % per year.
A significant part of this growth is organic, but some of the growth of later-stage growth companies is achieved through acquisitions.
Companies Owned by Private Equity Investors are a Major Employer in Finland
The number of personnel in companies that received a PE investment increased by a total of 13 000 people – or at an average annual growth rate of 23% – in the first three years following the investment. The growth in the number of personnel has been five times faster than in peer companies.
“Attracting and retaining top talent is instrumental for the growth of Finnish companies and the Finnish economy. To attract international talent to Finland, the processes for work-based immigration must be swift and smooth”, comments Sami Lampinen, Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA).
Private Equity Investors are Great Partners in Pursuing Growth
“PE investors are experts on business growth who bring their extensive expertise and contacts to their portfolio companies. Together with the companies, PE investors build a growth plan, which is then determinedly implemented. The results of our study show that this work done together has been successful and that companies are more inclined to aim for growth when they have PE investors as owners”, says Pia Santavirta, Managing Director of the FVCA.
PE investors are active owners who bring risk appetite and growth expertise to companies. In practice, PE investors can help companies in matters such as strategy-formulation, governance, digitalisation, implementation of modern incentive plans, and the integration of ESG-factors into business strategy. In addition, PE investors can help companies with the recruitment of key employees, for example, due to their vast networks of domestic and international contacts.
“Tackling the most typical business growth challenges is PE investors’ area of expertise. That is what active ownership is all about: helping companies in new situations that can be challenging to navigate. Interesting, fast-growing companies attract both talent and investment, which is why this know-how should be utilised more widely”, Santavirta continues.
“The work that companies and PE investors do together results in globally successful startups and strong domestic and international SMEs, which in turn boosts employment and economic growth in Finland”, comments Kenneth Blomquist, Head of Private Equity at KPMG.
The study on the impact of private equity investors on corporate growth in Finland was conducted by KPMG Oy Ab together with the Finnish Venture Capital Association. The sample comprised 712 companies that received an initial investment from a Finnish private equity investor between 2010–2019. The peer database includes 79,000 companies.
Finnish Venture Capital Association
Managing Director Pia Santavirta
+358 40 546 7749
KPMG Oy Ab
Head of Private Equity Kenneth Blomquist
+ 358 40 752 0000
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.
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. We operate in 147 countries and territories and have 219,000 people working in member firms around the world.
Venture capital and buyout investors are growth-focused owners. They invest in unlisted startups and growth companies and help them in growth, internationalisation and business transformation. As active owners, venture capital and buyout investors bring their portfolio companies not only capital, but also risk appetite, business expertise, and connections. Investors are typically owners in a portfolio company for 3-7 years, after which they sell their shares to a new owner (called an exit) and the company moves forward to its next stage of growth. Exit methods include listing the company on the stock exchange, selling it to another private equity investor or an industrial acquisition.
Private equity investors can be divided into two separate groups.
1) Venture capital investors make investments from venture capital funds into startups, becoming minority owners in their portfolio companies.
- Startups are young innovative companies, which typically strive for rapid international growth with a scalable business model.
2) Buyout investors make investments from private equity funds into later-stage growth companies. Most buyout investors become majority owners in the companies they invest in, but there are also some growth investors in the market who make minority investments.
- Later-stage growth companies are businesses with well-established operations and turnover, as well as the potential for continued growth. Turnover can range from a few million to hundreds of millions.