Valmet is no stranger to the IR Magazine Awards – Europe. The Finnish company has previously won for best IR website, best use of multimedia and rising star. This year, it claimed the prize for best retail IR strategy – a new category at the event – thanks to the creative way it caters to private investors.
‘There is a great culture of doing IR really well and using different technological platforms,’ says Pekka Rouhiainen, who joined the company as director of IR in September 2019. ‘We’ve been trying to innovate and build new things that stand out.’
A driving force behind Valmet’s inventive approach is its large following of retail investors. The company has more than 57,000 Finnish retail holders, who collectively own about 14 percent of the business. Like many other companies, Valmet saw its number of individual investors rise during the pandemic. In 2020 a new type of savings account also made it more tax-efficient for Finns to invest in stocks, attracting more private owners.
While Valmet has long provided a range of content and communication channels for its smaller shareholders, in 2020 it tried something new with the launch of an IR-focused Instagram channel. At the time of launch, Valmet hadn’t seen anyone else using an Instagram account to talk specifically to investors, says Rouhiainen.
The provider of technology for the pulp, paper and energy industries had two main goals with the channel. Firstly, it wanted to provide content in Finnish for its growing band of retail shareholders. Secondly, it wanted to offer a space where the company could have a two-way dialogue with this stakeholder group.
Prior to the pandemic, Valmet would host in-person events for private investors two or three times a year. Instagram offers an online version of this Town Hall-style engagement through its Q&A functionality, says Rouhiainen. ‘It replicates these events where there are optimally 100 people present. You talk more freely,’ he explains. ‘It has worked really well and the engagement has been excellent.’
The judges at the IR Magazine Awards were impressed not just by the use of Instagram, but also by Valmet’s broader approach to retail communications. Its other activities include using various social media channels, engaging directly with financial bloggers and posting retail-focused Q&As to the website.
The overall aim is to make information about a complex B2B technology company available in a quick, simple way. ‘We want to make it easier for people who don’t spend their whole professional life following profit-and-loss statements,’ says Rouhiainen.
Valmet’s approach has led to a growing following on social media. Collectively, the firm's social accounts have more than 1,700 followers, up about 25 percent from a year ago, and corporate news is regularly shared and commented on by Finland’s community of financial bloggers. What’s more, Valmet seems to have started a new trend: another Finnish company has now opened a corporate Instagram account, notes Rouhiainen.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of IR Magazine.