In its final decision from 2009, the Market Court found that Stora Enso, UPM-Kymmene and Metsäliitto Cooperative had exchanged information on the Finnish roundwood market during 1997–2004 in a manner prohibited by the Competition Restrictions Act. In its follow-on damages claim, Metsähallitus alleged that the forestry companies had purchased roundwood from Metsähallitus below market prices during and after the competition infringement found by the Market Court.
Helsinki District Court dismissed Metsähallitus’ claim by a unanimous decision on 22 June 2016 and ordered Metsähallitus to compensate the forestry companies’ legal costs of 8.5 million euros from hearing the case in the District Court in full.
Metsähallitus appealed the District Court’s decision to the Helsinki Court of Appeal. In the Court of Appeal, Metsähallitus primarily claimed a capital amount of nearly 125 million euros in damages jointly and severally from the forestry companies for the roundwood purchases allegedly made from Metsähallitus below market prices. Metsähallitus’ secondary claims were separate based on the roundwood transactions it had made with each defendant company. The secondary claim against Stora Enso amounted to approximately 68 million euros, which covered over half of the total amount claimed by Metsähallitus.
In addition to the capital amounts of the damages claim, Metsähallitus claimed profit and penalty interest, which increased the amount of Metsähallitus’ overall claim significantly.
During the trial, Metsähallitus had reduced its claims substantially. The initial amount claimed jointly and severally by Metsähallitus at the District Court totalled nearly 283 million euros. However, during the District Court proceedings, Metsähallitus specified its claims and jointly and severally claimed a total amount of approximately 159 million euros. At the Court of Appeal, Metsähallitus further reduced its claims by approximately 34 million euros, since this amount of the claims was found to be statute barred based on Supreme Court ruling KKO 2016:11. This Supreme Court's preliminary ruling concerning the statute of limitation of compensation debt was issued in another trial concerning the same competition infringement. We also successfully represented Stora Enso in this trial.