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Puhelinhuolto: mobile repairs

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Tomi Autio is the owner and manager of Puhelinhuolto (Mobila Electronics), a company he founded back in 2010. Headquartered in Vanta with local service centres in Helsinki, Lahti and Hämeenlinna, the business specialises in repairing mobile phones and selling mobile parts in its web shop and wholesale businesses in Denmark, Italy and Poland.

Repairing mobile phones didn’t use to be a big thing, when repair costs were as high as the cost of the phone itself. “Often it was just not worth it. Nowadays, people are buying more expensive phones, so there’s a market developing for repairs. We work with all mobile phone brands, but some obviously make it harder to repair…”

2019 was “an ok year” for Tomi’s business, he says, “but the market is changing rapidly. You can’t really predict what will happen 3-4 months down the line. 2020 also started ok, but then COVID stepped in…We had a few very difficult months. People simply didn’t visit the shops any more. We had a massive sales drop, down by approximately 70%.”

To cover his cashflow constraints, Tomi sought an EU-guaranteed loan, backed by the EIF through Finnvera. “If it hadn’t been for the loan we would have had to lay off a couple of employees. It was very important. We managed to keep our employees and pay wages and other expenses as well as look at the next steps, how to continue in this market. People don’t move that much anymore and prefer to use postal services. So we developed our web shop as well. It gave us time to think things through.”

Tomi is cautious about medium-term prospects. “There is a lot of uncertainty right now with the pandemic, and competition is fierce. We’re seeing a lot of start-ups and one-man shops popping up. There are 50 similar repair-shops just in Helsinki. Let’s see what happens next year…”

Company: Puhelinhuolto (Finland)

Type of business: wholesale

EIF financing: COSME LGF,  EFSI

Financial intermediary: Finnvera

For further information abiout EIF intermediaries in Finland, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/fi

 

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