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Nokia has long investment train

March 07, 2006 02:17 IST

High-tech firms that supply crucial gear to Nokia are expected to invest over $1.3 billion by 2008.
Close to 20 sub-contractors of Nokia, including Finland-based companies such as Aspocomp, Salcomp, Perlos, Savcor and Ahlstrom, are looking to follow in the mobile giant's footsteps and set up shop in India. Their destination is the 210-acre Nokia special economic zone at Sriperumpudur near Chennai.
This inflow of what are essentially high-tech companies that make and supply crucial gear for Nokia is expected to lead to investments of over $1.3 billion by 2008. Finnish government officials added that Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen will inaugurate Nokia's mobile and GSM manufacturing facility on March 11.
Executives at the Finnish Trade Association -- FINPRO -- added that apart from pure handset component vendors, companies that provide materials for GSM networks were also looking at setting up shop at the SEZ. "A major electronic manufacturing subcontracting company and another Finnish firm that produces sheet metal boxes for GSM infrastructure are close to finalising agreements to begin manufacturing in India to supply components to Nokia networks," they added.
According to sources, while Aspocomp is examining the possibility of manufacturing high-tech electronic components and services for the design and manufacture of PCBs and modules in India, Salcomp is looking at switch mode technology

and power supplies for mobile phones. Perlos is looking at making casings for handsets, while Savcor may make mobile phone covers and Ahlstrom will manufacture fibre-based materials for handsets.
In addition to the ICT companies, Finnish companies in the power sector like Wartsila Corporation and those in the machinery sector like Metso Corporation, which makes paper machines, and Konecranes, which makes machine cranes, are also looking at expanding their presence in India. CEOs from these companies will be accompanying the Finnish prime minister, along with the country's Minister for Transport and Communications Susanna Huovinen.
The national carrier of Finland, Finnair, is scheduled to begin direct flights from New Delhi to Helsinki three times a week from November 1, 2006. Sources said Finnair CEO Jukka Hienonen would also be part of the official delegation accompanying the prime minister.
Paper pulp is another area where Finnish companies are bullish. A leading paper company is expected to soon firm up its investment plans for India, the sources said adding, another company, StoraEnso, was in the final stages of setting up a plant in the country.
Environment and healthcare were two other sectors where Finnish companies are eyeing opportunities in India. Ekokem, a Finnish water management company, is looking at India, while Jaakko Poyry Group, which has expertise on environment, is also keen to enter India.

Monica Gupta & Joji Thomas Philip in New Delhi