Survey report by Pohjola and the Aalto University School of Business: Large corporations already see brighter prospects on the horizon

According to recent survey results, large corporations are more optimistic than a year ago and investments on new businesses are on the increase. They also see Finland as a future operating environment although the low predictability of policy-making is regarded as a risk. Large Finnish corporations have almost one million employees on their payroll, or 60% of all those employed in the private sector. Moreover, the role of large corporations in the Finnish economy is much greater through supply chains. Large corporations still make most of their fixed investments in Finland although expansion investments will increasingly go abroad. The top 250 companies account for over 80% of the combined net sales of the companies registered in Finland. The survey of large Finnish corporations and their prospects was carried out for the second time by Pohjola and the Nordic Institute of Business and Society (NIBS), a think tank set up by professors of the Aalto University School of Business. The survey involved the largest 250 Finnish companies as in the previous survey. - Large corporations play a vital role in terms of jobs. Finland must create an environment where large businesses will continue to invest in Finland. In public debate, the importance of large corporations is often overshadowed by negative news, says Hannu Jaatinen, acting Executive Vice President, Banking, Pohjola Bank plc. Large Finnish corporations are this year making more investments in the development of brand new products and services. Finland is again starting to be an appealing country of manufacture although the use of offshore subcontractors is anticipated to increase. Russia is again seen as a key potential country for offshoring. - Although there are signs of recovery, it is alarming that almost all the increase in purchases and subcontracting would seem to go offshore. Large corporations have typically had a key role in buttressing mid-size subcontractors and even small service firms. The weakening of this leverage would be dangerous, explains Professor Pekka Mattila, one of the two directors of the survey project. The effectiveness of Finnish capital markets - a field studied for the first time in the survey - is considered important among the companies. Up to 90% of the large Finnish corporations consider that a well-functioning, domestic stock exchange is important. More than half of the large corporations do not regard the current availability of finance as challenging.  When it comes to risks associated with the operating environment - the other field studied for the first time in the survey - large corporations regard the weak predictability of policy-making and corporate taxation as the most significant threat. - Around 60% of the respondents consider the weak predictability of policy- making to be a risk. The companies' view of the poor quality of policy-making is worrisome. A stable and predictable operating environment is the key to fixed investments and job creation, continues Jaatinen The basic statistics were collected from the top 250 Finnish companies in the autumn of 2013. In addition, the survey covered an extensive electronic questionnaire sent to key executives and their interviews. The survey respondents totalled 127 executives representing 99 companies. More than half of the respondent companies were the same as a year ago. The created research data is unequalled in Finland in terms of its extent and nature. For more information, please contact: Hannu Jaatinen, acting Executive Vice President, Banking, Pohjola Bank plc, tel. +358 (0)10 252 2874 Pekka Mattila, Professor, Aalto University School of Business, and Group Managing Director of Aalto University Executive Education, tel. +358 (0)40 738 7221 Pohjola is a Finnish financial services group which provides its customers with banking, non-life insurance and asset management services. Our mission is to promote the sustainable prosperity, security and wellbeing of our customers. Profitable growth and an increase in company value form our key objectives. Pohjola Group serves corporate customers in Finland and abroad by providing an extensive range of financial, investment, cash- management and non-life insurance services. We offer non-life insurance and private banking services to private customers. Pohjola Series A shares have been listed on the Large Cap List of the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki since 1989. The number of shareholders totals around 32,000. Pohjola is part of OP-Pohjola Group, the leading financial services group in Finland with over four million customers. www.pohjola.com This announcement is distributed by GlobeNewswire on behalf of GlobeNewswire clients. The owner of this announcement warrants that: (i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and (ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein. Source: Pohjola Pankki Oyj via GlobeNewswire [HUG#1756396]