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Finnish Companies: Go West!

Over the last few months, Finnish companies have lost a significant market due to the ongoing geopolitical tragedy in Ukraine. However, when one door closes, another one usually opens.

Throughout the 19th century and most of the 20th century as well, the European continent was plagued by wars and economic challenges. Many young people emigrated in search of a better life. For many, America was the land of opportunity.

History is once again repeating itself. The geopolitical and economic uncertainty in Europe provides strong incentive for Finnish companies to look for growth and diversification across the Atlantic. Indeed, the vibrant market in the U.S. offers an extraordinary opportunity for Finland’s export-driven industry.

For Finnish companies wanting to enter the U.S. market, mistakes can be costly. One frequent mistake is viewing the U.S. as one large undifferentiated market where the keys to doing business successfully are the same everywhere. The U.S. market is actually very diverse. What works in New York may not be a guide for success in Los Angeles. The truth is that local knowledge is as important in the U.S. as it is in doing business successfully across Europe.

Finnish firms Stora Enso as well as Nokia had significant ambitions when entering the U.S. market, but ultimately were disappointed with the results of their market-entry strategies. As Finnish companies re-consider making investments in the U.S., it will be important to learn from prior mistakes so as not to repeat them. Partnering with an advisory firm that can help them navigate the opportunities, risks, and complexities is essential for building a viable business platform with the possibility of scaling through smart corporate development investments.

CDI Global was founded in 1973 by a Finn named Bo Hjelt. He predicted the increased demand for cross-border M&A services in a more integrated and globalized future world. Bo Hjelt had studied at universities all across Europe and America. He also spoke all the major European languages. In other words, he was well positioned to see and seize the opportunity. Today, CDI Global has offices in 30 countries. With a vison of local knowledge and global reach, CDI assists companies with global ambitions to succeed abroad.

CDI enjoys a well-established American network and has formerly conducted successful acquisitions in America for well-known Nordic companies such as Kone, Ahlström, and ABB. CDI also made the transactions where Konecranes was divested to the Swedish Private Equity firm IK Partners as well as the deal where General Electric acquired Instrumentarium.

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By: Julian Lindqvist, CDI Global

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