Finland has a unique culture, extreme weather and is home to one of the happiest nations in the world. But there Finland is also one of the stronger economies in northern Europe and has a long and diverse history of development. Nowadays Finland’s economy is dependant on private ownership and free enterprise, but some sectors are monopolized by the government, or at least they play the leading role. Finland was one of the last countries in the region to industrialize. By the end of World War II Findland was still not fully industrialized and was heavily dependant on agriculture, mining, and forestry. Finland managed to catch up with the rest soon enough, as soon as the first two decades after World War, creating a service and information-oriented economy. In the 80s, the country saw the biggest economic growth and managed to establish strong trading relationships with its neighbors. By the early 1990s, Filnad faced its biggest challenge since the war when the economic recession hit. It was largely due to the collapse of the Soviet Unione, but the country managed to get out of the economic hardships as soon as the mid-90s and has been going steady ever since, minus the unemployment problem which has now been solved. Country has a steady diversified economy. Doing business or forex trading in Finland is regulated and the newer industries are profitable. Since the country is so well off it’s not surprising that there are some billionaires in there. Finland also has 7 billionaires which is quite high for the region. In Finland, the wealth is distributed better in most other countries but still the country’s richest 10% hold 50% of the country’s total wealth. We’ve combined a list of Richest people in Finland, what they do for a living and how they got to their level of success.
- Age: 54
- Industry: Elevators/Escalators
- Networth: $1.3 billion
When we talk about the richest people in countries it’s usually safe to assume that they came from the wealthy family, to begin with. There are one or to exceptions but most people who are billionaires mostly inherited their wealth from their families. The first person on our list is no exception to that. Although she is an exception because she is a woman, which is something we rarely see on the richest people lists. Ilona Herlin inherited her wealth, along with her siblings from his great-grandfather. Herald Herlin was a famous Finnish business leader who got his wealth by investing in Kone Elevators back in 1924. He was engineering by profession and his investment earned him and his billions. But there were some controversies around the inheritance. After the father of three siblings, Pekka Herlin passed away in 2003, it became known that his will was rewritten, and left most of the ownership to Antti, one of the siblings, while the others, Niklas, Ilkka, and Hanna were left with significantly smaller assets. But Siblings had no plans for settling for the new will and giving up on their deserves wealth. Niklas, Ilkka, and Hanna were baffled that they were never informed of the change and decided to battle for control over the shares in Kone. The dispute ended in 2005 and the company was shared in two as the result of the battle. Antti, who was originally left with most of the ownership, maintains the control over the elevator business and the siblings were given stakes in Cargotec, producer for heavy-duty ship cargo. One of the siblings, Niklas, passed away in 2017 but Ilka, Hanna, and Antti remain billionaires and make up for one of the richest Finnish families, despite the controversies with the will.
- Age: 73
- Industry: Dental products
- Networth: $1.4 billion
While we mentioned earlier that most billionaires come to form the privilege families, this Finnish billionaire is an exception. Heikki Kyostila has been working on his main company, Planmeca since 1971. He started off as a small dental-stools and cabinets manufacturer and built his business up from there. In 1980, the company focused heavily on international expansion and establishing subsidiaries. In this decade Planmeca introduced a microprocessor-controlled dental chair, panoramic x-ray device, and dental unit and it marked a start of a bigger expansion. The company is also famous for its technology-based approach. In the 1990s, Planmeca introduced an integrated information technology system for digital dental practice, the all in-one-concept, allowing instant access to all digital clinical patient information at chairside via one software, which was innovative and contributed to the company building its name internationally. In the company, there are special solutions designed especially for teaching environments and has supplied dental units and X-ray units to universities and hospital around the world which is also what set the company apart. Nowadays Planmeca is one of the world’s largest dental equipment manufacturers, and it has headquarters in Helsinki, Finland. Kyostila has now moved from stools and cabinets to making 2D and 3D imaging X-ray devices and software for dentists. They are manufactures in Helsinki and distributed worldwide. More than 98% of Planmeca’s products are meant for export and they are available in over 100 countries. Kyostila is the owner and the president of the company and because of this, he had to deal with some lawsuits as well. In 2010 and 2014 the company was convicted by the Finnish judiciary because judgment indicated that employees were not treated equally. But despite this, the company has a very respectable reputation and continues to supply teaching establishments and hospitals securing Kyostila’s place among Finnish billionaires.
- Age: 60
- Industry: Elevators
- Networth: $1.7 billion
The next family member of the Herlin family to make it to the richest Fins list is Ilkka Herlin, one of the siblings who had to fight for his part of the inheritance. Ilkka Herlin is the chairman and a partial owner of Cargotec, as well as one of the owners of the elevator and escalator maker Kone. Ilkka while determined to get his part of the inheritance didn’t always plan to stick exclusively with the elevator business. This Finnish billionaire has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Helsingfors. He is also a Doctor of Philosophy and earned his title at the University of Helsinki. This is a trend throughout the family that every member of the Herlin family still got an extensive education and hold some sort of degree. The education must have been an important part of the family tradition and it seems like all the kids followed the rules on this one. Despite the fact that they could have sustained themselves even without their inheritance they still felt the need to fight for what was rightfully theirs and managed to get their share. It is quite telling that out of 7 billionaires in the entire country three of them come from the same family. We will discuss the richest Herlin later in our list. There is not much information about the relationship between the siblings and how the trial and fighting for their shares affected their family dynamic and how the three manage to rule the company in harmony. But since the Elevator business seems to do well its safe to assume that they found a way to overcome this obstacle. Ilkka has no reason to complain right now since he has earned $1.7 billion for himself. Ilkka is married and still lives in Helsinki with his four children and remains on the list of richest people in Finland
- Age: 79
- Industry: Packaging
- Networth: $1.5 billion
One of the oldest billionaires in the country came into his wealth through Wihuri Group, a Finnish conglomerate that has been in the Aarnio-Wihuri family for over 100 years. So Antti Aarnio-Wihuri is not an exception to the rule when it comes to the source of his wealth. Wealthiest people in Finland aso come from rich families. The Wihuri Group has interests in the packaging, technical trade, food wholesale, and aviation. They run Metro daily goods wholesale stores and a private jet charter and ambulance service. To say that Wihuti’s group covers all major industries would be an understatement. It has been a very successful diversified group that has earned millions for its shareholders. The group itself employs 5,000 people among all of its companies and is continuing to grow. Despite being born into a luxurious life, Antti had always had a more adventurous side. Besides being known for being a member of the rich and powerful family he is also known for his previous achievements as a race driver and team principal. His team, the AAW has won the Interserve three times in the early 1970s. The love of racing stuck with the finish billionaire through his life and has supported young drivers such as Valtteri Bottas throughout their careers. Right now he is the largest shareholder at Winpak. A Canadian packaging company. He is still heavily involved in the day-to-day activities at Wihuri Group. He has been there for the company’s transformation from a small family business into a diversified global enterprise. Wihuri Group has managed to establish itslef as a leader in the fields that it operates in, through a commitment to quality on the group’s part Hjalmar Aarnio was the original founder of the company and at first it was called Aarnio Oy and was established in 1901. Later Antti Wihur, an owner of the international business group and the merger of the two is what created the world-famous Wihuri Group.
- Age: 53
- Industry: Oil & gas
- Networth:$2.1 billion
Mika Anttonen is Finland’s second-richest person and his approach to money and business is quite different compared to the rest. He started his career path as an oil trader working for Finland-based oil refiner and marketer Neste Oyj. He founded his own company in 1995, called the Greenergy Baltic but renamed it in 2005. The company is now known as St1 and is one of the advocates for sustainability. It might seem weird for an oil company to advocate for sustainability but Mika and his team work excessively to find sustainable oil replacements. St1 also worked on developing bioethanol from trash and on activities and projects that will combat climate change. The whole team is passionate about transforming the industry and they put a lot of their earning towards projects that focus on sustainability, which considering that St1 Group earned nearly $8 billion in sales this year it is a lot of money going into climate change combating activities. Mika has spoken publically about his passion for this topic and says that even though the group is still making money from drilling oil, they are putting their earning to good use. Anttonen has previously called for fossil-fuel producers to be held to the same renewable-energy standards as EU member states. The Finnish billionaires say that around 85% of today’s fossil fuels can be replaced by renewable energy and he knows that because St1 and their renewable energy projects are mostly very profitable. He has proposed a ban on short flights in Europe because trains can carry passengers the same distance in nearly the same period of time. Because of his statement, he is a controversial figure but the billionaires seem very passionate about the topic nonetheless.
Antti Herlin – the richest man in Finland
- Industry: Elevators
- Networth: 5.5$
We’ve already talked extensively about this family and the richest man in Finland comes from the Herlin family as well. Antti is the brother that was supposed the get all the major assets but the siblings decided to fight for their shares. Antti is the chairman of Kone Corporation, the world’s third-largest maker of elevators and escalators. His grandfather initially invested in Kone in 1924, and Herlin served as CEO from 1996 to 2006. Kone products are used around the world, starting from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Makkah Clock Royal Tower hotel in Saudi Arabia. The reason why his father decided to give most of the control to Antti is that during his time as the CEO he managed to take the company to a next level by expanding it through series of acquisitions and alliances. Apart from the family’s Kone, he also holds shares in Finnish media firm Sanoma. Antti’s children re already part of the board and his son jussi is Kone’s vice chairman. While it’s safe to assume that the battle with his siblings over the unforeseen change in his father’s will was definitely hard it seems like Antti is planning for the future and assigning the separate places to all fo his children to avoid similar situations in the future.