Building a market leading fibre company in Finland


CapMan Infra and Telia Company are co-owners of Valokuitunen Oy, and have grown the company to be the market leading fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) provider in Finland.

Valokuitunen is the FTTH market leader in Finland. The company’s network coverage has grown from approximately 20,000 to more than 300,000 households over a few years, with the main growth seen in suburbs in the vicinity of larger cities such as Helsinki, Turku and Tampere. Valokuitunen is a joint venture between CapMan Infra, which owns 60%, and Telia Company that owns 40% of the business. It was established in April 2020 when CapMan Nordic Infrastructure I and Telia Company established the business from the then existing Telia Finland’s Avoin Kuitu business. The main factors to Valokuitunen’s success are the fast and secure fibre networks, open access business model, efficient construction costs and innovative approach to marketing and sales.

In order to be successful, it is necessary to be efficient in both construction and sales. One alone is not enough. As the CapMan Infra team had years of expertise from construction in the energy sector, they were able to bring the best practices from the energy sector to the telecommunication industry, enabling Valokuitunen to reduce construction unit costs with up to fifty percent.

“Valokuitunen was the first national pure FTTH company on the Finnish market with an attractive fibre-to-the-home offering for private households. Now the initial start-up phase of focusing on increasing network coverage is gradually shifting to focusing on acquiring more customers from the already existing areas of over 300,000 households,” says Sauli Antila, Investment Director at CapMan Infra.

Sauli Antila and Harri Halonen are responsible at CapMan Infra for the team that inspires and supports Valokuitunen’s management team, led by CEO Heikki Kaunisto. CapMan Infra is an active owner, and the team works on a daily basis supporting Valokuitunen’s growth and value creation. In the early days of Valokuitunen, Sauli Antila’s construction experience from the energy sector was instrumental in making the business work. Valokuitunen used the same approach as seen in the energy sector and secured larger and longer contracts with experienced contractors. This way Valokuitunen was able to achieve efficient construction costs with reliable partners that could support its further scale up.

Investing in Nordic infrastructure

CapMan Infra is part of the CapMan Group and is in its seventh year of existence with offices in Helsinki and Stockholm with thirteen local infrastructure experts. CapMan Infra makes investments in energy, transport and digital infrastructure across the Nordics and northern Europe. The investment in Valokuitunen began with an analysis of macro trends and the fibre markets in the Nordic countries.

“Finland stood out, as it was a mobile-data driven country, with a well-developed mobile network and often unlimited data packages, which meant it was behind its Nordic counter-parts with fibre deployment,” says Harri Halonen, Partner at CapMan Infra.

The development potential in the FTTH sector led CapMan Infra to have several discussions around the concept of building a fibre business in Finland. Following discussions with Telia, the two companies started a collaboration focusing on rolling out fibre across the country. The collaboration means that Valokuitunen can utilize Telia Finland’s nationwide backbone network and focus on building the local last-mile fibre networks with an open access business model. Valokuitunen is an infrastructure company, where each new area and investment needs to be profitable from the start without any speculative growth. Valokuitunen solely focuses on the passive fibre layer, rather than acting as a telecommunications operator or a content provider, where the risk profiles are different from the provision of passive infrastructure.

Open access results in pleased customers

”Open access (OA) is a unique selling point for Valokuitunen as well as an important part of our success. In 2020 we were the only company offering an OA network for multiple internet service providers with different content services. OA gives more freedom to end consumers, to choose among different service providers, increasing customer satisfaction and thus loyalty. Despite Finland being a late adaptor with fibre compared to the rest of Northern Europe, we have seen a drastic improvement in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for the market and accelerated the development of FTTH. As Finns adapted to working from home during the pandemic, it became evident very early that they needed fast and reliable networks. And only fibre can provide that. Remote and hybrid working is here to stay, and people need to have reliable and high-quality means of communication,” says Heikki Kaunisto, CEO of Valokuitunen.

One of Finland’s most efficient sales organisations

Heikki Kaunisto was the CFO of Valokuitunen when CapMan Infra and Telia Company joined forces in April 2020 and Kaunisto was appointed CEO of Valokuitunen in May 2021. The early days of Valokuitunen were challenging when Finland, like many other countries globally, grinded to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Door-to-door sales, which had been the main sales model until then, stopped completely. The company’s management and CapMan Infra’s team had to rethink and create different and new sales channels from scratch. As a result, Valokuitunen now boasts one of the most efficient sales organisations in Finland. Heikki Kaunisto and his team has grown from six people in the spring of 2020 to around 130 today. The team has worked on innovative approaches to marketing, branding and sales since the very beginning, including TV and newspaper ads, telemarketing, online sales and door-to-door sales. This has resulted in high brand awareness; in areas served by Valokuitunen, brand awareness is sixty percent.

“I am very pleased with our sales effort, which is largely thanks to our skilled and driven sales team. Our people are our greatest asset. To sell well, one needs to be passionate and believe in the product. We all have that drive here at Valokuitunen. We have worked hard to develop an efficient sales system that provides both an overview as well as immediate feedback from the seven different sales channels. Being agile allows us to prioritise resources to maximise the highest return,” says Heikki Kaunisto, CEO of Valokuitunen.

Future demand crucial

An important task for Heikki Kaunisto as the CEO for Valokuitunen is to work with raising the profile and awareness of fibre. As fibre is still growing in Finland, informing people about the functionality and benefits of fibre compared to copper cables and mobile networks remains important. In the coming years, he will work with the wider team to strengthen the position of Valokuitunen as a market leader in Finland and continue to generate growth. With increased competition, there will be new challenges, so it is important to look ahead to understand what the consumer needs and demands look like in the future and how the business can be developed and evolve for the customers.

Value-creation through co-operation

Valokuitunen has grown rapidly since it was established by CapMan Infra. Being an active owner has been of great importance for the company’s rapid development, growth and value creation.

”We have a rewarding collaboration with the team at CapMan Infra. The team is experienced and knowledgeable and have assisted us to ensure we achieve the success we have so far on our journey. Their expertise in several different areas, including finance, production, growth, value creation and sustainability, provides invaluable support for me as a CEO. The CapMan Infra team is as competitive as I am, and the persons there are also my sparring partner. The team has ambitious goals and in order for us to achieve said goals, we continue to evolve as well as continue improving our processes. The CapMan Infra team provides me with ongoing support and someone to talk to about the business. This is valuable for a CEO in a growth company of this kind,” says Heikki Kaunisto, CEO at Valokuitunen.

The ownership of CapMan Infra and Telia Company provides financial stability, allowing Heikki Kaunisto and his team to focus on creating growth and profitability in Valokuitunen, rather than raising capital. CapMan Infra will develop the company in both short and long term, which positions Valokuitunen to continue to do well even after a potential future exit by CapMan Infra.

Harri Halonen, Partner at CapMan Infra, agrees that the long-term perspective is important when it comes to infrastructure investments, where solutions are often implemented to last for decades. At the same time, co-operation with CapMan Infra is intense from day one:

“As active owners, we work closely with our management teams, and contribute more actively in certain areas like financing. The CEO is responsible for running the company, but we are always there to support and at times challenge the management team. We have contact with our portfolio companies almost on a daily basis. Valokuitunen’s focus continues to be to deliver profitable growth in the Finnish market. To achieve this, CapMan Infra and Valokuitunen secured a €400 million refinancing in June 2023, of which €285 million was committed at closing. The funding provides Valokuitunen the platform to deliver on the next phase of growth, which is largely built on already sold contracts,” says Harri Halonen.


CapMan & Valokuitunen

CapMan Infra invests in energy, transportation and telecommunications infrastructure across the Nordics. The team is based in Helsinki and Stockholm. CapMan Infra is a dedicated and an active owner that supports the growth and operational improvements of companies, and with strong focus on sustainability. Valokuitunen Oy is a joint venture between CapMan Infra and Telia Company focused on rolling out fibre networks in Finland. It provides reliable and sustainable fibre connections across Finland. The investment was done by CapMan Nordic Infrastructure I fund.