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Monday, 24 December, 2001, 16:57 GMT
Finnish wallet firms eye euro boost
A mall in Helsinki
A wallet was the hot Finnish Christmas gift this year
By the BBC World Business Report's Greg Morsbach

Last year it was mobile phones; this year the people of Finland are snapping up leather wallets during the festive season.

Shrewd Finnish entrepreneurs are making money out of the changeover to the euro.

They're busy producing and selling thousands of new wallets, designed especially to fit the new euro banknotes.

Markku Teckenberg owns one of the leather goods companies making euro-size wallets.

He's having to turn down new orders from shops because his factory is hopelessly overstretched.

Size matters

Finnish bank notes are smaller than the biggest euro bills - the two-hundred and the five-hundred notes.

"The euro wallet is about 2 centimetres longer, and around 1.5 centimetres higher," Mr Teckenberg explains.

Most of Mr Teckenberg's euro wallets are sold in shops in Finland - some 20% are exported to other eurozone countries.

But there are people who believe the euro wallet is just a gimmick which most Finns will ignore.

The government is keen to play down any possible problems surrounding the changeover to the euro - including the size of the new notes.

Most Finns, however, are resigned to this minor expense.

"I think we all have to buy one," says one shopper.

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The BBC's Greg Morsbach
Reports on the surprise beneficiaries of the euro

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30 Aug 01 | Europe
03 Sep 01 | Europe
07 Aug 01 | Country profiles
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