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Wednesday's papers: Turku delight, ministerial boycott and Trump in Finland

A big new order for Turku's shipyward dominates the business pages on Wednesday, but there's also news about the sports minister's unusual protest at the national ice hockey team and an anecdote of the time US presidential candidate Donald Trump visited Finland.

Turun telakan portti
Image: Ari Welling / Yle

Turku's Meyer shipyard on Tuesday announced an order from Carnival for two cruise ships worth some 1.6 billion euros that will provide work for the yard up until 2022. It's quite a turnaround for the company, which was close to closure just two years ago when South Korean firm STX struggled to find buyers for the firm's vessels.

The government intervened, providing strong support for the new German owners and now that support is paying dividends. Kauppalehti reports on Wednesday that the decision is the result of good relationships with shipping firms, strong state support and a good market for cruise ships.

The business daily also speaks to Meyer Turku CEO Jan Meyer, who said that his target-setting had also played a role in the firm's success. Goals should always be clear and as ambitious as possible, according to Meyer. He also had a clear message on competitiveness, in the light of Finland's recent struggle to shrink pay packets in an effort to boost exports.

"Pay levels don't decide everything, the whole picture of business operations should be clear," said Meyer. "That means investments, technological development and product development."

Supply chain impact

Local paper Turun Sanomat, meanwhile, was keen to delve into the economic benefits of the deal. The paper reports that the main European shipyards in Germany, France and Italy all have full order books for a number of years, and shipbuilders now have to focus on keeping their local supply chains loyal.

Finnish firms Elomatic, Deltamarin and Foreship have all helped the German operator MV Werften, and now that Turku has ship orders to fill it has to consider how to keep expertise in Finland. In a comment piece alongside two pages of news on the deal, journalist Liisa Enkvist says that Meyer Turku could even consider buying up sub-contractors and making them part of the parent company.

Ministerial boycott

Ilta-Sanomat's front page leads with Sports Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen's decision to boycott a practice match held by the Finnish national ice hockey team in Helsinki on Thursday. The paper had earlier reported the surprising news that Finland's anti doping officials would not be able to test any of the players at the game or in this week's training camp, as they are officially under the jurisdiction of the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association.

That's because these games are warm-ups for the upcoming World Cup, which will be played under NHL auspices and, according to the organisers, 'has its own anti-doping measures'.

That's right, a Finnish national team playing and training in Finland cannot be tested by Finland's own anti-doping officials. Not surprisingly, Grahn-Laasonen isn't too happy about this arrangement.

"I think it's problematic that there's a match arranged in Finland that isn't under the auspices the world anti-doping association (WADA)," she tells Ilta-Sanomat. "It would be important for the transparency of sports that players could be tested at all tournaments. I'm not going to the game, that's my own statement on the matter. In any case I do hope that the Lions do well at the tournament."

IS also carries news of slow ticket sales for Thursday's game against Sweden, which might well be a consequence of the prices. The cheapest seats still available for the fixture are priced at 79 euros, while the most expensive come in at 239 euros.

Trump in Finland... in 1992

Ilta-Sanomat also has a story on Donald Trump, the bombastic and controversial candidate to become US president. Way back in 1992, apparently, he visited the small town of Rauma on the Finnish coast.

It's a common genre of Finnish story, one that covers a historic connection with a figure now in the news, but sadly for scandal-seekers Trump in Rauma was kind, courteous and well-behaved.

He was there to buy a yacht from a local shipyard, and he went out for a meal and a drink with his then-girlfriend Marla Maples. And that's about it.

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