Castrén & Snellman Appoints Karlo Siirala and Minna Korhonen as Partners

Castrén & Snellman has appointed Karlo Siirala and Minna Korhonen as partners as of 1 February 2023. Karlo focuses on Private Equity & Venture Capital and Mergers & Acquisitions while Minna’s focus is on Banking & Finance. With these appointments, C&S solidifies its position as Finland’s leading advisor in cross-border private equity transactions and demanding M&A and financing assignments.

“Despite the recent turbulence, the international private equity market is seeing strong growth, and the capital invested in Finnish companies has increased each year. During this journey, Karlo has been a key player in several demanding ventures and the trusted advisor for our clients, from global private equity firms to growth companies that are going international. His approach to demanding mergers and acquisitions in regulated fields has left our clients highly impressed. There is no doubt that Karlo’s appointment solidifies our position as the leading advisor in private equity transactions and M&A,” says Sakari Lukinmaa, Managing Partner at Castrén & Snellman.

“Our Banking & Finance team’s key to success is the ability to create value for our clients by understanding their business and taking it into account in legal advice. Minna brings to the table versatile experience in complex transactions and financing arrangements, a strong service-mindedness and a drive to develop our strategic partnerships, making her an outstanding asset to our team and to the firm’s transactional practices. Clients value her legal skills and her very pragmatic approach in assignments,” Lukinmaa continues.

Karlo Siirala: the trusted partner in complex cross-border private equity and M&A transactions

Karlo Siirala has extensive experience in providing strategic legal advice on demanding international private equity transactions and mergers and acquisitions. He is one of Finland’s leading experts in complex cross-border mergers and acquisitions, buyouts, exits and growth capital and minority investments. In addition, he has profound knowledge of matters related to alternative investment funds, fund investments and secondary transactions. Karlo is particularly familiar with the technology sector and regulated fields, such as banking, insurance and financial services.

During his career, Karlo has represented several international private equity firms, institutional investors and growth companies in a number of significant private equity transactions. Early this year he advised Blackstone Growth on leading the EUR 500 million funding round of the Finland-based RELEX Solutions. He also advised Seraphim Space (as lead investor) and Molten Ventures on the EUR 120 million funding round of ICEYE, a Finnish space technology company. Over the course of his career Karlo has advised on several significant, market defining mergers and acquisitions in regulated fields, such as in the financial sector.

“Karlo has exceptional experience in the needs and operating principles of international private equity investors. Not only is he a leading lawyer in his field and the trusted advisor of many of our clients, but also a great colleague and an excellent sparring partner for younger lawyers. His analytical nature is second to none,” says Partner Jarno Tanhuanpää, head of the transaction services.

Corporate sustainability under scrutiny by private equity investors

Corporate sustainability has been a growing megatrend for years and, according to Karlo Siirala, it is especially prevalent among investors.

“Sustainability issues that surface in due diligence – the mistreatment of employees, for example – tend to rock the boat more than they did before. Investors react more strongly to issues related to social responsibility, and this has led to some healthy competition between companies in these matters. Our task is to be the eyes and ears of our clients in sustainability matters and to ensure their investment objects have sustainable practices. On the other hand, we advise growth companies in meeting the expectations of international investors when it comes to sustainability and compliance,” Karlo says.

The last two years have caused turmoil in the market, making it very unpredictable. Many of the recent changes are here to stay.

“Regardless of market developments, we can be certain that the demand for corporate sustainability and its continuous development is not going away,” says Karlo. “I have full confidence that the teams at Castrén & Snellman can find the best solutions for our clients in any situation. I am excited to get to develop our firm’s full service offering in my new role together with our amazing teams.”

Karlo has worked at Castrén & Snellman since 2011. He has also gained international experience through his secondment to Shearman & Sterling in London. In addition to a Finnish law degree, Karlo holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from the Columbia University in New York.

Minna Korhonen: experienced expert in complex and high-profile finance transactions

Minna Korhonen has 15 years’ experience in banking and finance. She advises domestic and international financial institutions, investors and borrowers in a wide range of high-profile finance transactions as well as corporate lending and financial restructuring projects. Among other things, she has gained experience in complex real estate development projects, green energy projects, project finance, acquisition transactions and sustainable finance.

“I am very excited to join Castrén & Snellman’s partnership. I look forward to continuing to serve our great clientele together with the rest of our talented team and to provide to-the-point legal advice. I am also keen to contribute broadly to the development of our firm,” Minna says.

Minna is the trusted advisor of many clients including leading real estate, finance and energy companies. She has also witnessed first-hand how the rise in sustainability has changed the market. Sustainable finance plays a key role in accelerating the green transition and mitigating climate change.

“Sustainability in the financial market is no longer just a trend, it is a part of everyday life. Investors invest in sustainable projects and demand sustainable finance, and the financiers want to support this. We share these goals with our clients. In recent years, the sustainable loan market has grown exponentially, driven largely by the widespread use of sustainability-linked loans, which have terms contractually tied to the borrower’s sustainability performance,” says Minna.

“Our Banking & Finance team is extremely well positioned in the market as we were among the first to focus on expertise in sustainable financing solutions. Our clients rely on us to know the best practices and offer the most appropriate advice. Lately, we have been involved in many green financing and sustainability-linked financing arrangements leading the way towards a more ESG-compliant world and raising the awareness of all the market players.”

Partner Tero Tuomisto, head of the Banking & Finance service, values Minna’s energetic nature and the insight her experience brings:

“Not only does Minna have extensive expertise in the real estate industry, but she also has diverse experience in different kinds of financing transactions requiring commercial understanding and strategic thinking in addition to legal advisement. What’s more, she is a forerunner in finance sustainability. The sustainable finance market is a permanent part of business for our clients, and it will only continue to grow. We now have just the team to help our clients achieve their goals in increasingly complex arrangements. Minna is a reliable team player who brings strong business-oriented understanding and a good atmosphere to the projects she manages,” says Tuomisto.

Minna became an attorney in 2009 and has been a counsel at Castrén & Snellman since 2018. She has also gained in-house experience through a secondment at the Federation of Finnish Financial Services.

Our warmest congratulations to Karlo and Minna!