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Hamina official: Google to be Finland’s biggest international investor

Internet search giant Google continues to make large scale investments in Hamina. The company has remained close-lipped about the latest deal, but city director Hannu Muhonen has referred to large sums being involved.

Summan tehtaan piippuja ja Googlen logo.
Image: Yle Kymenlaakso

Google inaugurated a new server farm in the eastern Finnish town of Hamina in autumn of 2011, after buying up Stora Enso's defunct paper mill buildings in 2009. The US company has already put 350 million euros into the centre and it seems it may release details on another round of investment in early November.

The building of operational data centres requires a construction crew some thousand-strong and hefty figures are thought to have been involved in the initial project. Hopes are high that more international investment will help boost the local economy.

Construction efforts got underway last year when Google announced a revamp of its Summa facilities to the tune of around 150 million euros.

Small city, big benefits

“At the moment it’s said to be the largest international investment in Finland,” says Muhonen. “We know that there has been just shy of 1,000 people put to work. In a layperson’s view, that’s quite a large amount and signifies something big."

Google’s first and second phase investments in Hamina data centres have totalled around 350 million euros. This includes the 40 million odd price tag on the former Summa paper mill property that houses the centre. Google has announced that the third phase of investment will commence in November.

"We’re not going public [on the specifics of the deal], as it’s the company’s own business," the city official adds. "But it shows in many ways in the region. There has been work for builders and also for national construction forms.”

While the search giant has undoubtedly brought plenty of business for Finnish contractors, international companies do not pay a high rate of corporate tax, points out Muhonen. However, property taxes and building permit fees do bring money to the city, he adds.

Google is bringing a ray of hope to the municipality, which has borne the brunt of the collapse of both its paper and wind energy industries in recent years.

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