When Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) struck a deal to sell its devices division to Microsoft, the company actually contacted Finland’s prime minister about it. That shows just how important the company is to the Finnish economy. The Wall Street Journal’s Juhana Rossi spoke with Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen about the conversation he had with Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa.


Nokia’s conversation with the prime minister

Katainen said when his aide scheduled the meeting with Sillasmaa, he knew that the focus of that meeting was going to be “something big.” After the Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) told him what was happening, he had to think about the impact it would have on Finland.

He notes that back in the 1990s, the country experienced what some would say has been the only true economy depression in the industrialized world since the Great Depression in the 1930s. He attributes much of the nation’s recovery to Finland, specifically the company’s mobile phone division. As a result, when he heard that the company was selling its mobile phone division to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), “it triggered a sense of wistfulness.”

Finland’s plans post Nokia’s transaction

Katainen said the message he got from Siilasmaa was that Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) was making this major transaction because it believed it would be able to “create something new.” Now the prime minister is left working to help Finland renew itself and “solve tough issues.” He notes that Finland’s situation is much the same as Nokia’s in that they both find themselves having to reinvent what they do.

According to Katainen, since Finland is working on the broader economic issues the country has, the response to Nokia’s deal with Microsoft might have been somewhat “blunted.” He believes that if the situation in Finland had been different than it is now, the “bewilderment and sense of loss over Nokia would have been greater.”

Shareholders of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) have been quite supportive of the deal, as analysts have upgraded the company’s stock and investors have driven its share price up 63 percent.

Finland’s prime minster seems just as optimistic about Nokia’s future as investors are, seeming to accept that the company will grow again, only with a different set of products.