Victoria Media – News in English

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Significant bioeconomy park planned in Porvoo

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A major new industrial park, concentrating on bioeconomy and circular economy, is planned in the Kilpilahti area of Porvoo. The City of Porvoo and Posintra development company are building the future of Kilpilahti in collaboration with local companies. The industrial park is partly based on current business operations in the area but it also seeks new initiatives.

The largest oil refinery and petrochemical cluster in the Nordic countries is located in the Kilpilahti area of Porvoo. There are 10 companies operating in the area, and 3,500 people work there. The companies have a cooperative production chain from crude oil to plastics. Among these companies is Neste, one of Finland’s largest cleantech companies. Its production focuses mainly on fuels that enable cleaner traffic.

– Neste produces renewable diesel e.g. from waste and leftovers. It is a good example of circular economy, in which one company’s waste is another’s raw material, and materials are reused. Bioeconomy is based on producing food, energy, products and services from renewable natural resources, says Deputy Mayor of Porvoo Fredrick von Schoultz.

– Kilpilahti has an excellent chance to develop into a significant bioeconomy and circular economy cluster. This could also create new companies that could bring much-needed jobs to the area.

Kilpilahti companies enthusiastic about the initiative

Posintra development company has received funding for the initiative from the European Regional Development Fund.

– This is an important and exciting project because the potential of Kilpilahti is really looked into for the first time in this scale, says Programme Director Leena Tuomi from Posintra.

In the next two years, Kilpilahti will get a uniform vision and business model that will help to attract investments. The plan also includes boosting the collaboration of participating companies and improving their business opportunities. The cooperation potential among Kilpilahti’s current and prospective companies will be mapped out.

– The development and prosperity of Porvoo require vital businesses. Kilpilahti is an excellent example of the benefits that a centralised industrial area can offer both to companies and to the area, says Deputy Mayor Fredrick von Schoultz.

– The development of the industrial park starts with a common vision. After that, the city can zone its own land to fit companies’ needs. We have top experts working on the project, and the businesses in Kilpilahti are committed and enthusiastic about creating our common future, continues von Schoultz. At the moment, participating companies include Bewi Styrochem Oy, Bilfinger Oy, Borealis Polymers Oy, Gasum Oy, Itä-Uudenmaan Jätehuolto Oy and Neste Oyj.

The needs of potential investors must be studied closely

Project leader Pekka Pokela from Gaia Consulting is very excited to participate in building a new Kilpilahti.

– We want to develop concrete models of collaboration and success as well as new business opportunities for the current and prospective companies in the area. That’s why it is very important to scrutinise the needs, wishes and potential of investing companies.

– We will do our best to encourage companies to participate actively and ambitiously and challenge each other in developing new ideas. Circular economy offers significant business opportunities and national and regional benefits.

The initiative is driven by Posintra development company and the City of Porvoo, and carried out with the help of sustainable business consultancy Gaia Consulting and Neste Jacobs engineering company. Its goal is to create new business from circular economy.

Posintra is a Southern Finnish company specialised in developing small and medium sized businesses.

Gaia Consulting is a consultancy for sustainable business. It helps clients become more competitive with responsible business that respects the environment.

Neste Jacobs is a consulting and engineering company that provides services and solutions related to technology, planning and project management.

Announcing the entirely renewed ArtHelsinki fair event for contemporary art!

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ArtHelsinki will open as an entirely renewed and curated fair event for contemporary art in September 7-11, 2016 at the Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre in Helsinki, in connection with the Habitare Furniture, Interior and Design Fair.

ArtHelsinki stated its new vision for an internationally pertinent contemporary art fair during its 2015 edition with a curated section, called Helsinki Highlights, which presented an installation composed of a variety of art initiatives acting locally and operating internationally.

Curated under the direction of Artistic Director Aura Seikkula, ArtHelsinki will present an ambitiously curated and architecturally innovative event showcasing a variety of commercial galleries and non-profit initiatives accompanied with a socially engaging, discursive and performative programming. Striving to become the leading contemporary art fair event in the Nordic region ArtHelsinki continues to evolve as a hub for introducing the enticing art scene of Helsinki at large, outside its fair facilities.

For creating an engaging process towards its 2016 edition, ArtHelsinki organizes a series of events both in Finland and abroad. The ArtHelsinki Events program series is conducted in collaboration with Frame Visual Art Finland.

Please visit www.arthelsinki.com for detailed information about the fair, its objectives and upcoming programming.

Domestic sales of brewery beverages down 3.4 per cent – it’s time to reverse the trend with the Danish model

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A total of 571.1 million litres of brewery beverages were sold in January-September 2015. Domestic sales of beer, cider, long drinks, mineral waters and soft drinks were down 19.9 million litres, or 3.4 per cent. These figures are based on sales statistics compiled by the members of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry: Captol Invest, Hartwall, Olvi, Red Bull, Saimaan Juomatehdas and Sinebrychoff.

Domestic sales of brewery beverages have been on the decline for a long time. During the past ten years, sales have decreased by 10 per cent. Finland’s high alcohol taxes have driven consumers to buy their beverages from Estonia. Only a third of the beer imported by travellers from Estonia and ships is brewed in Finland.

“This is a harsh state of affairs for Finland. We still consume, but the tax revenue goes to Estonia,” says Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry, referring to the high volume of travellers’ private imports of beer from Estonia.

Finnish breweries have felt the consequences of high taxes. Beer production in Finland has decreased by 55 million litres in ten years. At the same time, beer production in Estonia has increased by 57 million litres.

Danish alcohol policy supports domestic industry

Denmark lowered its beer tax by 15 per cent in summer 2013 in order to put the brakes on cross-border trade. From 2013 to 2014, beer sales in Denmark grew by 3 per cent. In the Finnish beer market, growth of 3 per cent would mean an increase of 12.5 million litres in annual domestic sales.

“Denmark is a good example of how small measures can reverse a trend. In order to reduce cross-border trade and grow the domestic market, Finland should make moderate cuts to its beer tax, by 15 per cent each time,” says Ussa.

Denmark’s alcohol policy strengthens its domestic market and industry. In addition to lowering the beer tax, the country has lifted restrictions on alcohol advertising and has not set limitations on the times when alcohol can be sold. In spite of these steps, the adverse effects of alcohol are smaller in Denmark than in Finland.

“In order to mitigate private imports by travellers, Finland should follow the example of Denmark, which has a proactive alcohol policy that has a positive effect on domestic industry,” says Ussa.

Denmark’s decision to lower the beer tax also indicates the country’s desire to steer consumption to mild alcoholic beverages instead of strong drinks. At present, strong alcoholic drinks account for 14 per cent of total alcohol consumption in Denmark, whereas in Finland they account for a quarter.

DOMESTIC SALES 1 Jan. 2015 – 30 Sep. 2015

Beverage 2015 2014 Change Change
mill. l. mill. l. mill. l. %
Beer 289.2 295.0 -5.8 -2.0
Cider 22.4 24.4 -2.0 -8.1
Long drinks 27.6 30.7 -3.1 -10.1
Soft drinks 178.3 183.3 -5.0 -2.7
Mineral waters 53.6 57.6 -4.0 -6.9
Total sales 571.1 590.9 -19.9 -3.4

Source: Member companies of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry. The statistics do not include sales by actors outside the Federation nor private imports of brewery products, which are not statistically recorded. As of the beginning of 2011, the statistics include all the brands of the members of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry and any private label brands they produce.

UPM promotes FSC forest certification in Finland

Together with FSC Finland, UPM is hosting today a visit byKim Carstensen, Director General of the international forest certification organisation FSC.  FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) promotes environmentally friendly, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management. The FSC certificate indicates to consumers that the wood used in the product has been sourced responsibly.

UPM actively co-operates with FSC both internationally and in Finland to increase the use of FSC-certified wood in its production processes. It also aims to promote awareness of the FSC forest certification and related responsibility issues both in Finland and around the world. UPM has certified its own forests in Finland and its tree plantations in Uruguay. In Finland, UPM endeavours to make it easier for private forest owners to participate in the certification system and meet the related standards and criteria.

“Our goal is to modify the standards for group certification and to cut down on red tape in general”, explains Timo Lehesvirta, Director, Forest Global, UPM. “We were involved in developing the current forest standard a few years ago, as we wanted to ensure its applicability to specific conditions in Finland. We are now continuing that work,” Lehesvirta says.

Both UPM and FSC aim to clarify the rules for certification. In fact, common goals are the reason behind Kim Carstensen’s visit to Finland. “FSC, the world’s leading forest certification system, has not received a huge amount of attention in Finland to date. In the future, it is important to have Finnish FSC-certified products to meet growing demand,” Kim Carstensen says.

“Consumers around the world know very little about Finnish forestry. At the same time, consumers are increasingly interested in the origins of products and the fact that production processes need to be carried out in a responsible manner.  In order to be successful in a highly competitive market, the Finnish forest industry needs to be able to convey a convincing message in terms of responsibility,” adds Anniina Kostilainen, Director of the Office, FSC Finland.

As part of the FSC visit, discussions on common development issues will be held and an introduction will be given to Finnish FSC forestry in practice at UPM-owned forest plots in Janakkala. FSC Finland board members and representatives of environmental organisations will also attend.

SATO starts forming its secured funding structure towards mainly unsecured financing base

Moody’s Investor Service has today assigned SATO Corporation a first-time, long-term issuer credit rating of Baa3 with a stable outlook.

The assigned rating reflects Moody’s view of the company’s competent management of a good quality, well-located residential property portfolio that produces steady cash flows, which are generated by a granular tenant base and underpinned by consistently high occupancy rates.
Erkka Valkila, CEO of SATO:

– SATO’s strategic goal is to increase the value of the investment portfolio from current €2.6 billion to at least €4 billion by the end of 2020. Achieving an investment grade credit rating and forming a diverse funding structure support SATO’s growth ambitions.

Esa Neuvonen, CFO of SATO:

– Public credit rating enables the utilization of international financial markets, which increases flexibility and efficiency in financial arrangements. The rating also supports our aim for gradually increasing the portion of unsecured financing.  Diversified sources of funding help us to maintain financing costs on a competitive level.
Moody’s rating report on SATO can be found from here:
https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-assigns-Baa3-rating-to-Sato-Oyj-stable-outlook–PR_324928

Death of Peter Tallberg, IOC member in Finland

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It is with great sadness that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has learnt of the death of Peter Tallberg, IOC member in Finland, at the age of 77.

A five-time Olympic sailor, Peter Tallberg was the second-longest serving current IOC member, having been elected in 1976. Only Doyen Vitaly Smirnov, who was elected in 1971, has served longer.

IOC President Thomas Bach immediately reacted to the death of Peter Tallberg: ‘As the founding chairman of the Athletes’ Commission, Peter was my first teacher at the IOC,’ he said. ‘He worked all his life for sport and for protecting the clean athletes. The athletes of the world and all those who love sport owe him a huge debt and he has left a lasting legacy for the Olympic Movement for which we can all be grateful. As a mark of respect and to remember such a great man the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast for three days at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne’ Bach added.

During his 40-plus years working for the Olympic Movement, Mr Tallberg had a strong and far-reaching impact. He chaired the Athletes’ Commission from its inception in 1981 until 2002, when he became an Honorary member of the commission. He was also a member of the following commissions:

– Eligibility (1979-1980)
– Olympic Programme (summer) (1980-1994)
– Olympic Movement (1981-1999)
– Coordination for the Games of the XXVe Olympiad in 1992 in Barcelona (1989-1992)
– Study for the Preparation of the Olympic Games of 1996 (1989-1990)
– Preparation for the XII Olympic Congress (1989-1994)
– Enquiry for the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in 2000 (1993)
– Coordination for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in 2004 in Athens (1998-2004)
– “IOC 2000” (1999), Evaluation for the XXI Olympic Winter Games in 2010 (2002-2003)
– Coordination for the Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012 in London (2005-2012)
– Nominations since 2014

Mr Tallberg was the President of the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU, later International Sailing Federation – ISAF) (1986-1994); President of the Finnish Yachting Association (1977-1983), and President of the Scandinavian Yacht Racing Union (1978-1981).

He captained the Finnish Olympic Yachting team (1976), was Vice-President of the Finnish Squash Association (1974-1976), became a Council member and Secretary General of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF, later SportAccord) (1988-1998), and was a member of the Executive Board of the European Sport Conference (1994-1998).

Mr Tallberg worked tirelessly to place the athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement and to protect sport from all forms of corruption. He was a Council Member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) (1999-2002) and member of the World Olympians Association (WOA) (2007-2014) as liaison for the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

Before transitioning into the administrative side of sport, Tallberg was a decorated sailor who competed in five editions of the Olympic Games. His best performance at the Games was a fourth-place finish in Star at Tokyo 1964. He finished 15th in the 5.5m in Rome 1960, 11th in Star at Mexico City 1968, 12th in Soling at Munich 1972, and 11th in Star at Moscow 1980.

Tallberg was Junior European centreboard yachting champion (1953); Finnish champion in Finn (1969), in Soling (1970 and 1972), in H (1974); Nordic Finn champion (1969); Swedish champion (1963 and 1965) and European Star champion (1967).

He also enjoyed practising other sports, including squash, table tennis, skiing and golf. As a skier, Tallberg was Finnish junior slalom champion in 1954. He finished 3rd in the Finnish senior squash championships in 1978.

The IOC expresses its deepest sympathies to Peter Tallberg’s family.

INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE PORTFOLIO GROWING

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New foreign investments target the Belgian and U.S. real estate markets.

Ilmarinen has invested in the companies Bastion Tower I and II, which own the Bastion Tower high-rise office building in Brussels. Ilmarinen has roughly a 50 per cent stake in the investment. The investment represents a joint venture with a French institutional investor.

“Our strategy is to internationally diversify our real estate portfolio. The future of the Belgian real estate market is bright, so when we were offered the opportunity to make a long-term investment in an ideal site in Brussels, we seized it,” says Portfolio Manager Mikko Antila.

Bastion Tower, built in 1967 and later modernised, is located in the immediate vicinity of the so-called Europe Area of Brussels. Approximately 35,000 square metres of floor space is available to let in the 26-storey building, and it has roughly 20 tenants.

Schroder Real Estate acted as advisor in the acquisition and will also handle the asset management of the property.

“Favourable outlook for the U.S. housing market”

Ilmarinen has also started investing in the U.S. housing market, with the goal of building a diversified real estate portfolio comprising some 400 single-family homes in roughly ten metropolitan areas. The houses to be purchased are located in the south-eastern and southern areas of the United States as well as in the Midwest, all areas where the economic situation is good and employment is on the rise.

“The U.S. housing market is making a comeback after hitting rock bottom a few years ago. This gives long-term investors like us an excellent opportunity to secure stable and predictable returns,” says Antila.

Aalto Invest, an investment management firm operating in the United Kingdom and the United States, is Ilmarinen’s partner in the project. Aalto Invest has in-depth knowledge and years of experience of the U.S. housing market.

At the end of 2014, the value of Ilmarinen’s real estate investments stood at around EUR 4.5 billion, including investments in real estate companies. The majority of the company’s real estate investments are in Finland. Ilmarinen intends to increase the share of real estate investments in its portfolio over the next few years, primarily through foreign real estate investments.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs: Transparency in investment protection issues increases through new agreement

The President of the Republic has today granted Ambassador Petri Salo the authority to sign on Finland’s behalf the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Convention on the application of transparency rules relating to investor-state dispute settlement to Finland’s valid investment protection agreements. The Convention will be opened for signature in Port Louis, Mauritius on 17 March 2015.

Under the new rules, all documents are public, hearings are open to the public, and interested parties may deliver statements to the court. At the same time, appropriate protection for confidential information will be strengthened to safeguard business secrets, for example.

“This is a major step forward in the international investment agreement system and at the same time for the liberalisation of trade. Increased transparency in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) will serve the interests of citizens, investors and states. Finland has consistently promoted transparency in all trade policy contexts, and the signed convention is a clear indication of this approach,” emphasises Lenita Toivakka, Minster for Europe Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Finland has actively participated in developing the UNCITRAL transparency rules, and wishes to adhere to them in all of its bilateral agreements as well as the Energy Charter.

Panimoliitto: Domestic sales of brewery beverages fall – tax increases move trade to Estonia

Domestic sales of brewery beverages hit a historical low last year, a trend that is continuing this year. In the January–June period of 2013, Finns drank a total of 379.4 million litres of beer, cider, long drinks, soft drinks and mineral waters. Domestic sales fell by 3.9 million litres, or 1.0 per cent, on the corresponding period of 2012. These figures are based on sales statistics compiled by members of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry.

Domestic sales of brewery beverages have contracted by over 55 million litres in the 18 months since the beginning of 2012. This notable fall in the beverage market means that the State is losing not only VAT revenue but also EUR 57 million in alcohol tax and EUR 1.8 million in soft drinks tax.

“Not even the warm weather we’ve had since early summer was able to generate sales growth. If domestic sales continue to fall substantially, Finnish jobs could be in danger. Tax increases steer consumers towards Estonia, so breweries must fight even harder to win market shares from Tallinn harbour. A tax reduction would be the most effective way of curbing travellers’ private imports and safeguarding jobs,” says Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry.

Compared to the January–June period of 2011, domestic sales of brewery beverages have fallen by over 25 million litres, or almost 7 per cent. However, exports to international carriers – primarily Estonian ferries – have grown significantly. During the January–June period of 2013, exports of cider grew by 105.8 per cent and beer by 21.6 per cent on the corresponding period of 2011. A total of 9.7 million litres of beer and 1.7 million litres of cider were exported to international carriers during the January–June period of 2013. Only about half of imports from Estonia are Finnish brands, and beers produced elsewhere are accounting for an increasing percentage.

The Finnish brewing industry currently employs almost 30,000 people, when you include the entire chain from field to flagon. Every tenth hectare of agricultural land is used to grow malting barley. And yet the Finnish beer-producing industry is still punished by the highest beer tax in the EU. Twenty per cent of all the alcohol consumed in Finland comes from unrecorded sources, the majority of which is imported by travellers. Travellers’ private imports already noticeably exceed total on-trade sales in Finland.

Taxation squeezes beer harder than strong alcoholic beverages

According to Nordic statistics, significantly more strong alcoholic beverages are consumed in Finland than in the other Nordic countries. Since 2000, the real prices of wines and strong alcoholic beverages have fallen whilst the real prices of beer, cider and long drinks have risen. This is revealed in a National Institute for Health and Welfare report, Alkoholijuomien hintakehitys 2012 (Price trends in alcoholic beverages 2012). When the tax on alcoholic beverages was last raised, in 2012, it favoured strong beverages and wines – they received an increase of 10 per cent, while the tax on brewery beverages was raised by 15 per cent.

“It appears that, once again, the government intends to increase tax on mild alcoholic beverages more than on strong ones. The government’s policy is extremely contradictory: it suggests weakening medium-strength beers and selling them only through Alko, but then implements tax solutions that favour strong alcoholic beverages. In the majority of EU countries, alcohol taxation is geared towards strong alcoholic beverages. So this is our responsible alcohol policy, is it?” Ussa wonders.

DOMESTIC SALES 1 Jan – 30 June 2013

Beverage 2013
2012
Change
Change
mill. l. mill. l. mill. l. year, %
 Beer 191.5 192.3 -0.8 -0.4
 Cider 15.2 15.3 -0.05 -0.3
 Long drinks 19.1 20.5 -1.4 -6.8
 Soft drinks 119.4 124.1 -4.7 -3.8
 Mineral waters 34.2 31.1 3.0 9.8
 Total sales 379.4 383.3 -3.9 -1.0

Source: Member companies of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry. The statistics do not include sales by actors outside the Federation nor private imports of brewery products, which are not statistically recorded. As of the beginning of 2011, the statistics include all the brands of the members of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry and any private label brands they produce.

Itella to introduce a new solution for online store product returns

In the fall, Itella Posti Oy will launch a solution for online stores which will make it easier for consumers to return purchases they make from online stores. Through Itella Maksuturva, consumer customers can track the delivery, contact the store, notify the store that they will return products, and print out an address card for returning the products. The service makes for safe payments for purchases, and safe refunds. Suomen Maksuturva Oy is Itella’s partner.

The cooperation between Itella and Suomen Maksuturva is based on the EU’s new regulations for distance sales, to be introduced in June 2014. These rules require online stores to harmonize their operating methods in regard to delivery and product returns.

“The growth of online commerce is largely based on consumers regarding the sales channel as a convenient way of purchasing products. According to a recent study by the European Commission, seven out of ten consumers do not know what action to take if an online purchase fails to match the order. Our solid competence in logistics services, combined with the payment safety service, helps consumers take action in the online store. Clear instructions make for an even better shopping experience and increase confidence in the online store,” says Aku Happo, director of Itella’s eCommerce operations.

The Itella Maksuturva service is a comprehensive melange of logistics and payment transactions which serves online shoppers 24/7.

Effective background processes for online stores benefit shoppers and stores
Itella’s solution is based on an intelligent payment forwarding service platform, launched by Suomen Maksuturva in 2009, which can be extensively connected to different online store solutions.

Through the automation and harmonization of return-related functions which require a lot of manual work, online stores will save resources and will eliminate a major bottleneck that hinders business growth.

“In Finland, consumers’ online shopping still remains below ten percent of total trade, but it may quickly multiply as consumer behavior changes. Finnish online stores can only find success under pressure from international operators when they understand that a good-looking website is not enough to achieve a competitive edge – the background processes must also be in order,” says Mikael Smeds, Managing Director of Suomen Maksuturva.

 

Itella Posti Oy provides mail services throughout Finland, including the deliveries of letters, publications and direct advertising, in addition to parcel and express transport services, Netposti, as well as Posti shops and outlets. Itella Posti Oy is part of the Itella Mail Communications business group, which reported net sales of MEUR 1,168 and employed 17,800 persons in 2012. Itella Mail Communications is part of Itella Group.www.itella.fi

Suomen Maksuturva provides intelligent payment forwarding services for online stores. In addition to comprehensive payment and account services, the Tyytyväisyystakuu tool can be included for cost-effective implementation of product returns and complaints. Maksuturva customers include the following: Reima, Marimekko, Nanso Group, Metsä Group, Fortum and Holiday Club. The company acts as the official training partner of the Finnish Commerce Federation and its operations are regulated by the Financial Supervisory Authority. For more details: www.maksuturva.fi