Ilpo Kokkila: Long-term Investor

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A veteran of the construction industry, Ilpo Kokkila, who owns investment company Pontos, started his portfolio with real estate but currently also invests in unlisted companies in Finland and the neighbouring areas. In non-real estate ventures, Pontos is often a minority owner. 

Return on investment is Pontos’ main goal. Another criterion for selecting investment targets is the “overall image.” 

“The investment must be suited to our way of thinking,” says Kokkila.

Creating new business 

Pontos knows hotel and shopping centre properties well. Pontos’ investment operations do not have actual restrictions on industries. Pontos’ portfolio also includes other technology companies. 

“They make interesting investments,” states Kokkila. For Kokkila, “interesting” means not only expectations for a good return, but also participation in the creation of new industrial operations and new jobs. 

According to Kokkila, State guarantees are also a cost-efficient way of promoting corporate operations, especially with respect to export deals. Likewise, he praises public support to companies’ research and development projects, but he would like to see more boldness in R&D policy – and in venture capital and private equity investment as well: “The State could take real risks. If no losses are generated, then the State has been too cautious.” 

According to Kokkila, it would be good to have more ownership with a face in Finland. Therefore, severe taxation curbs generational transfers and the growth of family-owned companies. Kokkila emphasises that entrepreneurs are very committed to Finland. 

More work

According to Kokkila, long-term operations and responsibility are principles that are reflected in his financial policies. In his view, Finns should increase their amount of work while wealthy people should place more of their funds in a common pool. 

In a remote country such as Finland, transport costs and the price of energy must not rise too much. Society’s cost burden must be kept reasonable by reforming administration and the health care system. 

The importance of the Russian market is central for Finland’s future success as well. Kokkila reminds us that Finns have an advantage in the East compared with their Western competitors.


Read the entire interview from the Growth magazine 3/2012.