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Norway- The safe harbour for investment

Norway is a free market economy with a long-standing record of political stability and generally low trade barriers. Norway has a reputation as a worldclass market leader in a variety of sectors including offshore technology, renewable energy, hydropower, shipping, maritime industry, chemicals, fertilizers and solar technology. Our highly-educated population fits in well with the country's open and knowledge-based economy.

A healthy & stable economy
Norway is unique. The country has the second largest GDP per capita in the world and has fared better than most through the recent financial crisis. While others have struggled with large budget deficits, falling GDP, and high unemployment, the country has emerged early from a mild recession with relatively low unemployment. Norway owes its success to its massive petroleum wealth, combined with prudent fiscal management and strong policy response to curb the effects of the global financial crisis.

Finance Norway – Interview with Arne Hyttnes
During the 1990s banking crisis in Norway, Arne Hyttnes worked as a regional corporate lending director for Den norske Bank (now DnB NOR). Nearly two decades later, he is the leader of all of the country’s financial services and saving bank associations under the newly combined Finance Norway. In an interview with Norway Exports six weeks into his new job, Hyttnes discusses the rationale behind the merger, why Norwegian banks weathered the financial crisis so well, and future challenges facing the industry.

Fragmented Trading Reaches Oslo
More than a quarter of trading in Nordic equities takes place outside of the listing exchanges, according to Burgundy, one of the multilateral trading facilities competing with Oslo Børs (the Oslo Stock Exchange). In Norway, the trend toward more trade fragmentation is expected to continue.

East meets West in Singapore - Oslo dual listing pact
Oslo Børs reached an agreement last July with Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) that will allow for secondary listings on each other’s exchanges. The initial targets are companies within their common energy, offshore and shipping sectors, where the two exchanges have a strong concentration of listed companies. The first to take advantage have been a Norwegian shipping company and a Chinese fisheries group.

Cultivating great ideas
Norway ranks in the top ten worldwide in innovation, according to INSEAD’s 2009-2010 Global Innovation Index. Some of the country’s best ideas have even been sold through big international acquisitions, such as the USD3.4 billion sale of Norwegian video conferencing company Tandberg to Cisco. The country is working to develop more of this type of innovative competence here – and keep the value creation here – through its scores of research parks and incubator programmes spread across the country.

Fund management – a pioneer in socially responsible investing
Norway is internationally known for the ethical investment strategy exercised by the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, which has blacklisted companies such as WalMart and recently sold all tobacco company investments from its NOK 2,640 billion (USD449 billion) portfolio. But the Norwegian fund management industry has been blazing trails in socially responsible investing since the mid-1990s, nearly a decade before the Government Pension Fund’s ethical guidelines.

Finance – more than just banks
As the capital city of Norway, it is only natural to find the pillars of the finance community here: the largest banks and insurance companies, Oslo Børs, Norges Bank, financial organizations, and top-rated business universities. But Oslo is also home to one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, a specialized shipping finance community, and the largest power derivatives market.

NHO calls for smarter growth
In September 2009, John Bernander became the new Director General of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises (NHO), Norway’s main employer union. He takes over at a time of relative prosperity for the country, which has emerged from the financial crisis relatively unscathed. That did not stop him from taking up a crusade for better productivity and weaning the country off its dependence on its oil wealth through what NHO calls smarter growth.

Rules & regulations
There are many aspects to consider when entering a new market. Tove Rundtom interviewed partner and attorney Bjarte Bogstad of Vogt & Wiig Law Firm to give you an overview of what to think about when entering Norway.

DnB NOR’s conservatism & international ambitions
The Norwegian banking industry has been praised by the OECD for its conservative culture and stability in the wake of the financial crisis. Nowhere has this been more evident than with DnB NOR, Norway’s leading financial services institution. Not only did it not need to avail itself of government assistance via the Norwegian State Finance Fund, it emerged strengthened and continued to expand internationally in its core areas: shipping and offshore, energy, and seafood.

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