Bureau Chief, Helsinki
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Mar 27, 2014

With cheap money available, Japan Inc. seen to follow Suntory’s M&A path

TOKYO (Reuters) – More Japanese companies are expected to follow Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd (2587.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in acquiring overseas companies to gain a foothold in faster-growing markets even as global economic uncertainty and a weaker yen temper deal-making.

Japan’s slow domestic growth and cash-heavy balance sheets, together with declining birth rates and an ageing society, have encouraged outbound acquisitions by companies in a broad range of sectors from consumer and retail to finance and electronics.

Mar 27, 2014

ANA orders 70 planes including 20 Boeing 777-9Xs

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s ANA (9202.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) placed its biggest ever order of 70 new planes, including 20 Boeing (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) 777-9X wide-body jets in a move bringing relief to the U.S. planemaker which lost a major Japan Airlines (9201.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) order to rival Airbus last year.

ANA’s 1.7 trillion yen ($16.62 billion) order includes six Boeing 777 aircraft and 14 medium-sized Boeing 787-9 aircraft, as well as 30 single-aisle jets from Airbus’ (AIR.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) A320 family.

Mar 3, 2014

Finland to curb austerity as recession, political fallout bite

HELSINKI, March 3 (Reuters) – Finnish government leaders,
faced with a prolonged recession and political fallout from
unpopular austerity measures, appear likely to reduce previously
announced spending cuts at budget talks that begin this month.

Data on Monday showed Finland’s gross domestic product
shrank 1.4 percent in 2013 as the economy took another turn for
the worse late in the year, driven by falling private
consumption and weak investment.

Feb 13, 2014

Debt worries cloud Finnish steel firm Outokumpu’s outlook

HELSINKI, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Finnish stainless steel maker
Outokumpu reported a higher debt ratio on Thursday,
raising concerns over its financing costs and the slow pace of
restructuring in response to weak European demand.

Outokumpu trimmed its underlying operating loss by more than
expected in the fourth quarter of 2013 and said it expects the
loss to shrink again in the first three months of this year due
to an uptick in demand and some improvement in prices.

Feb 12, 2014

Supercell to launch new game after sales soar in 2013

HELSINKI, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Finnish mobile game maker
Supercell plans to launch a third game next month, hoping to
replicate its success with hits “Clash of Clans” and “Hay Day”
that helped it to earn $892 million in revenue last year.

The growth in revenue from $101 million in 2012, to an
average of around $2.4 million a day, underscores a boom in
mobile gaming and Supercell’s spectacular rise since it was
founded in 2010.

Feb 6, 2014

Cost cuts help Finland’s Metso profit beat expectations

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finnish engineering company Metso (MEO1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit as cost cuts helped to offset a fall in sales, helping the shares rise 7 percent.

Metso’s fourth-quarter earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA), excluding one-off items, rose 6 percent from a year earlier to 147 million euros ($199 million), beating the average forecast of 137 million in a Reuters poll.

Jan 28, 2014

Kone’s CEO gets off at the top after reporting strong order book

HELSINKI, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Finnish lifts and escalators
firm Kone’s chief executive Matti Alahuhta is to step
down at the end of March, the company announced on Tuesday,
after reporting a rise in profits and higher orders due to
strong demand in China.

Alahuhta, 61, a well-known figure in Finland who has also
served on the executive board of Nokia, said nine
years as CEO was a long time and that he wanted to do something
new. He will be replaced by chief financial officer Henrik

Jan 23, 2014

Nokia sets sights on reviving wireless network sales

HELSINKI, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Nokia has reported a
steep fall in sales at its network equipment division, raising
concerns about growth prospects for what will be its primary
operation after selling its former flagship phone business to

The Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) division’s
fourth-quarter sales fell 22 percent from a year earlier to 3.1
billion euros ($4.2 billion) as it failed to make up for the
completion of large-scale Asian projects and withdrawal from
some low-margin businesses earlier in the year.

Jan 22, 2014

Steelmaker SSAB to buy Nordic rival Rautaruukki for $1.6 billion

HELSINKI/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedish steelmaker SSAB (SSABa.ST: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has agreed to buy Finland’s Rautaruukki Corp (RTRKS.HE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for $1.6 billion as a prolonged downturn in demand forces Europe’s smaller players to cut costs and deal with idle capacity.

After racking up combined losses of more than 400 million euros ($542 million) over the past five quarters, the Nordic rivals sealed a combination that had been discussed on and off for decades but was given greater urgency by the crisis.

Jan 20, 2014

Phone-free Nokia under pressure to boost network sales

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Nokia is expected to show a steep fall in network equipment sales in its results this week, highlighting the challenge facing management after selling its once mighty handset division to Microsoft for 5.4 billion euros ($7.3 billion).

Improved profitability at Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) due to cost cutting have helped cushion the company’s declining handset business in recent quarters.