Finnish businessmen bullish on Philippines


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently received a seven-member Finnish business delegation that is closely looking at business opportunities in the Philippines.

The Finnish delegation was led by Mikko Mursula, chief executive officer of FIM Asset Management and was referred by the Nordic Business Council of the Philippines. The delegation was composed of executives of Finnish pension and life insurance firms and investment service providers.

DTI Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. said that Finnish delegation visiting the country resulted from the high-level trade and investment mission of the Philippines to Helsinki, Finland in October last year. The DTI then promoted the country as a viable investment destination to European firms.
Manalo noted that this is the first Finnish business delegation to visit the Philippines and hopefully not the only one.

The Finnish executives were in the country for a three-day fact-finding visit. On their first day, they were provided with a briefing on Philippine economy and business environment, as well as current profiles and opportunities in the country’s stock market and the construction industry.

“It was sort of an easy decision to link the Philippines in our agenda,” Mursula said in an interview during the investment briefing for the delegation. Every year, Mursula’s group of experienced institutional investors chooses the countries where they intend to invest. For this year, they chose the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Mursula noted that top factors that made them decide to choose the Philippines are its gross domestic product growth and young population. He added that there seem a lot of good things happening in the country.

Mursula also mentioned that their visit is a fact-finding trip, and the question is how much these investors should allocate in the Philippines for the long term. Many of them are quite experienced investors in emerging markets, and have been in Indonesia, Singapore and countries in Latin America.

Mursula said that aside from the Philippine Stock Exchange, and the business process outsourcing and infrastructure sectors, the group is also closely looking at domestic demand of more than 100 million Filipinos. It is also looking at Filipino companies as well as Finnish companies that are currently operating in the Philippines.

“We read a lot about the Philippines before coming here. We know the basic facts. And now we just want to see if facts are there and what are the future plans. And if the Philippines has the capacity to do all the investments that are needed to keep the economy going,” Mursula said.


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