What if things went differently?
Text: Jukka Holkeri, President, International Support Partnerships (ISP) Photo: Patria
We all know (or if not, will learn during 2021) that Patria was established hundred years ago in 1921, when the newly independent Finland figured out that it needed some defense industry. The decision was to establish one, starting from the Aircraft Factory of the Finnish Aviation Forces, and followed by others that eventually formed the core of current Patria.
Had the Finnish government back then been a bit more cosmopolitan, they could have noticed that there was a quite recent corresponding case in Belgium, where Fabrique National Herstal (FN) had been established in 1889. If the government would have liked to have a jump start to international markets, calling FN to settle to Finland could maybe have been an option. Not maybe even a bad option to be a part of a Belgian-owned Group in 1921 - a time when Belgium had just gained some of the German colonies in Africa in addition to Congo? That would have paved a way to a global Patria from the very start.
Or, what if somebody in 1621 – four hundred years ago – would have come up with the bright idea of establishing a defense industry to Finland, which was part of Sweden at that time? The easiest implementation would have been to ask the 1580 founded Royal Factory of Cannon and Cannon Balls in Finspång, Sweden to come over and establish a branch workshop. A Nordic Group would have been formed. Internationalization could have been a smart move also from the perspective of the Finspång factory, as it eventually lost its domestic-only defense business by 1911 completely to Bofors.
Going even further, eight hundred years back, in 1221 there was an established town of Tallinn, at that time under the Danish rule. Had someone been far-sighted enough there, some kind of a weapons workshop could have been established on the other side of the Gulf of Finland. Free space would have been available, as there was no Helsinki until 1550 when it was established to compete against Tallinn. As Tallinn became a part of the German Hansa alliance 1285 the internationalization again would have had a good start.
Instead of having acquired companies in Belgium, Sweden and Estonia, Patria could today be part of defense industry groups originating and headquartered in one of these countries. If things had gone differently.