First cooperative in Finland to list on a stock exchange

The investment cooperative Arvo from Ostrobothnia has been listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange’s First North growth market. Arvo is the first cooperative whose shares are listed on Nasdaq’s stock exchange lists in the Nordic markets.

The cooperative’s listing is technical, meaning there was no share offering or sale associated with it. The cooperative reports that it is owned by approximately 24,000 members who collectively hold over 816,000 shares.

The impact on Finland’s economic development has been significant, as cooperatives have brought stability and vitality to the market economy in various regions of the country. A cooperative is a form of organization whose mission is to create common benefit.

A recent application of the possibilities of cooperatives is the preparatory work done by Nasdaq Helsinki regarding the potential listing of cooperative shares on the Nasdaq First North marketplace. This is unique both in the Nordic countries and throughout Europe. On the other hand, this pioneering effort is natural, as Finland is one of the most cooperative countries in the world – our adult population holds a total of 7.5 million memberships in various cooperatives and mutual insurance companies.

The listing application for Pohjanmaan Arvo Sijoitusosuuskunta has been approved, and trading of cooperative shares began on the First North marketplace June 20th 2023.

A cooperative is a stable investment

Being traded on Nasdaq does not alter the fundamental mission of a listed cooperative – one of its primary purposes is to create vitality in the company’s operating area. Members directly benefit from the cooperative’s distribution of investment returns as cooperative dividends. Additionally, cooperative shares have a clear marketplace.

In its press release, the cooperative states that since 2014, it has paid out over €42 million in cooperative dividends to its members.

As a listed investment, a cooperative is stable, as trading does not have a direct impact on the company’s foundational operations. The governance model is based on member democracy, and ownership of shares does not confer control over the cooperative. The cornerstone of a cooperative is its values and sense of community.

Currently, there are several investment cooperatives in Finland that focus on managing capital for the benefit of their member communities. Often, these are companies that invest and allocate resources specifically to promote the vitality of a particular region. Such cooperatives often involve institutional investors who see the cooperative’s long-term perspective and commitment as meaningful to themselves as well.

Founded in 1914, the cooperative has its roots in the telecommunications business in Ostrobothnia. Its name was changed from PPO to Arvo in 2018.

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