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Annex II. Calendar of main economic events

Annex II. Calendar of main economic events

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154



OECD Economic Surveys: Finland



a prior agreement on the sale of a third of the shares in Vapo to Metsäliitto.

The Finnish Competition Authority launches a dawn raid on asphalt companies after

receiving information on price fixing.

The Finnish and Swedish partly state-owned telecommunication companies Sonera and

Telia agree to merge. In June, the European Commission conditionally approves the merger.

The German energy group E.ON Energie AG becomes the majority owner of the City of

Espoo electricity utility Espoon Sähkö. It acquires the 27.6 per cent stake of the partly stateowned electricity company Fortum and half of the 68 per cent holding of the municipality.

April

The Finnish state sells 2 per cent of its shares in Stora Enso (pulp and paper) to institutional investors for EUR 326 million, reducing its stake to 12.7 per cent representing 24.1 per

cent of the shareholders’ votes.

The government proposes to Parliament to extend, under certain conditions, a father’s

entitlement to paternity leave by two weeks from the present 18 days.

May

The Finnish state decides to sell its stake of 30.2 per cent in Partek (engineering) to

elevator manufacturer Kone.

Elisa Communications decides to withdraw from the German mobile phone market after

three loss-making years.

Ascension Day becomes a national paid public holiday as agreed by social partners in

the 2001-02 central wage settlement.

The formal agreement between the Nordic competition agencies on notifying and

co-ordinating actions comes into force.

The government decides to reduce its stake in the fully state-owned Avena (grain wholesale trade, handling and storage) by ceding shares to Lännen Tehtaat for EUR 47 million.

Avena will be split and the State only keeps a 65 per cent share in Avena Siilot Holding. In

July, the Finnish Competition Authority announces its investigation of the competition

consequences of the acquisition.

Parliament approves the construction of a fifth commercial nuclear reactor. After this

decision, the two ministers of the Green League withdraw from the five-party “rainbow”

government.

A tripartite working group does not reach agreement on the replacement of the current

temporary sabbatical leave scheme by a permanent one.

June

Through a public offering, the state reduces its stake in the energy company Fortum

from 70.7 per cent to 60.8 per cent.

July

The partly state-owned telecommunication company Sonera writes down

EUR 4.3 billion on its European UMTS investments. The value of its international UMTS

investments after the write-down is EUR 72 million.



© OECD 2003



Annex II



155



August

Nokia announces a 5 per cent job cut for its networks division (900 employees worldwide including 60 in Finland).

In a report, the Minister of Transport and Communications concludes that Sonera’s decision in 2000 to invest heavily in German UMTS licences was not discussed in the government

or Ministry of Transport and Communications during 2000. The report launched a major

discussion and the Chancellor of Justice started his own investigation into the role of the

government in the decision of this majority state-owned company.

The partly state-owned Finnish-Swedish forest company Stora Enso booked a one-time

impairment charge of EUR 1.15 billion to offset the large premium it paid in 2000 for the takeover of the American paper company Consolidated Papers.

In Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index for 2002, Finland is the

least corrupt country of the 102 countries surveyed, for the third year in a row.

September

The social partners reached an agreement on the pension reform with the exception of

the Confederation for Academic Professionals in Finland (Akava), which did not approve the

proposal. The reform aims to raise the average age of retirement by 2-3 years by

e.g. abolishing some forms of early retirement and by introducing a step-wise rise in accrual

rates.

The budget proposal was sent to parliament. Government receipts for 2003 will amount

to EUR 35.6 billion and spending to EUR 35.7 billion, with a deficit of EUR 155 million.

The EU Court of Justice decided that Finland must lower the taxes levied on used cars

imported from other EU member countries.

Nokia and Sonera released their new third generation products in Helsinki. Nokia introduced its camera-mobile phone and Sonera its multimedia services (messages and calls with

pictures).

October

The key trade union confederations announced their targets for collective wage bargaining. The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) announced it will be aiming for

a 3.8 per cent wage increase for 2003 and 3.4 per cent for 2004. The Finnish Confederation of

Salaried Employees (STTK) was targeting a 3.7 per cent increase for 2003 and a 3.5 per cent

increase for 2004; and the Confederation of Unions for Academics Professionals (Akava) was

aiming at similar increases.

The Bank of Finland governor Matti Vanhala criticised the collective bargaining system,

which set off a bilateral discussion with the Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who had been

supporting the ongoing wage negotiations.

November

Two official working groups published their reports on taxation. The Ministry of Finance’s

group, chaired by Mr. Lasse Arvela, proposed lowering the corporate tax rate from 29 to

25 per cent to meet the pressures of international tax competition. Also a 25 per cent dividend tax was proposed. The other group that was set up by the Prime Minister and chaired

by the Economic Council secretary general emphasised more employment aspects and cuts

in income taxes, especially for low-wage employees.



© OECD 2003



156



OECD Economic Surveys: Finland



The Ministry of Finance raised its GDP growth projection for 2002 from 1.3 to 1.6 per

cent.

Finland was awarded second place in the annual Global Competitiveness Report of the

World Economic Forum, displaced from last year’s first position by the United States.

The new two-year wage agreement was reached providing a 2.9 per cent wage increase

in 2003 and a 2.2 per cent increase in 2004.

The merger between Telia and Sonera was confirmed as shareholders of both firms

accepted the merger and about 95 per cent of the Sonera shares were exchanged against

Telia shares by the end of the extended offer period.

December

The new wage agreement was signed by most unions. It covers over 90 per cent of wage

earners. The government announced that it will send its promised employment package to

parliament. The package includes tax cuts and employment incentives worth

EUR 112 million.

Trade in TeliaSonera shares started on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.



© OECD 2003



OECD PUBLICATIONS, 2, rue André-Pascal, 75775 PARIS CEDEX 16

PRINTED IN FRANCE

(10 2003 03 1 P) ISBN 92-64-19992-6 – No. 52899 2003

ISSN 0376-6438



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Annex II. Calendar of main economic events

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