I’m in Helsinki this week for a joint INSOL/INSOL Europe conference discussing reform of Insolvency and restructuring law in the Nordic states.
Our main involvement with the Nordic states comes dealing with Norwegian colleagues in relation to cross border cases (often involving North Sea Oil and Gas assets, where it is common for a Norwegian parent company to have a subsidiary registered in Aberdeen, or vice versa). However, it transpires that there is a fair amount of cross border activity between Finland and Sweden too with Swedish registered companies operating from Finland and so on.
The Nordic states have, in part, become frustrated with the failure of the EU to implement harmonisation of Insolvency Law. There was therefore an interesting discussion about Nordic proposals for harmonisation in the region that the World Bank are apparently supportive of. Whether the proposals proceed any further is another matter. Clearly in the UK we have more to worry about given we do not actually know if we will even have any recourse to the EU Insolvency Regulation from March 2019!
A particularly interesting session was the presentation by the Chief Executive of Nanso Group a very well known Finnish clothing group, that has undertaken significant operational restructuring over the last 7 years. It was interesting to learn that the retail pressures that have afflicted the UK, manifesting itself in the many recent CVAs, have also afflicted the Finnish market. Customer discretionary spend has apparently decreased year on year affecting retailers and therefore causing revenue to decline for Nanso, while fixed costs remained stable (so for example, properties owned and manufacturing facilities all Finland based). The lessons for successful turnaround, which Nanso seem to have achieved, included supply chain changes (such as outsourcing for first time) but seem in reality to be headlined by planning and execution! Lessons for companies in Scotland today!
Helsinki is a beautiful city with the usual economic challenges and opportunities. Plenty of learning opportunities for us in Scotland…
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