Legislation and corporate governance
State ownership policy and ownership steering are governed by the Ownership Steering Act (1368/2007). The Act applies to decision making involving state shareholdings and shareholder control in both state majority-owned companies and associated companies. It defines the powers of the Government and Parliament when decisions are made to acquire or relinquish control in a state-owned company. The Act also specifies the division of powers between the Government plenary session and the ministry responsible for ownership steering. In addition, it includes provisions related to the sale of shares and corporate restructuring.
Parliament decides the companies in which the State may relinquish its sole ownership (100% of votes) or its control of ownership (50.1% of votes). Similarly, Parliament decides on the acquisition of control by the State if the company involved is of major importance. While the decisions on state ownership, i.e., the acquisition and sale of shares, are made by the Government, the ministry responsible for ownership steering makes decisions on most issues concerning ownership steering and the exercise of shareholder control.
Aside from the State Shareholdings and Ownership Steering Act, some state-owned companies are subject to special legislation governing the field of activity involved, such as the Act on Credits and Guarantees Provided by the State-Owned Specialist Financing Company and the laws concerning alcoholic beverages.
The activities of all limited companies are governed by the Limited Liability Companies Act. Additionally, listed companies are required to comply with the Securities Markets Act and the guidelines issued by the Financial Supervisory Authority and the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
Good corporate governance refers to good overall decision making and control that works smoothly. State ownership steering complies with the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance that are based on cooperation among the OECD countries.