Ownership policy and steering
State ownership policy is active, open and pragmatic. The State develops its shareholdings using the tools of a responsible owner and aims for a long-term increase in ownership value. The premises for the State’s ownership policy are outlined in the Government Programme, which is implemented through an ownership policy resolution that is renewed each government term.
The Ownership Steering Department of the Prime Minister’s Office is responsible for preparing and implementing decisions related to ownership policy. The tasks of the Department include preparing and implementing the State’s ownership policy throughout the Government and steering the companies that are the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The main tools in state ownership consist of formulating an ownership strategy independently and adopting sound corporate governance practices.
State ownership policy and steering are governed by the State Shareholdings and Ownership Steering Act (1368/2007) and the Act Amending the State Shareholdings and Ownership Steering Act (1315/2016). The legislation applies to decision-making involving state shareholdings and shareholder control in both state majority-owned companies and associated companies.
The legislation on ownership steering defines the powers of the Government and Parliament when decisions are made to acquire or relinquish control in a state-owned company. The legislation 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 on the companies in which the State may relinquish its ownership (100, 50.1 or 33.4 per cent of votes). Similarly, Parliament decides on the acquisition of control by the State if the company involved is of major importance.
The Government decides on state ownership, i.e. on the acquisition and sale of shares. The ministry responsible for ownership steering, for its part, decides on most issues related to 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.