The complete speech
Minister, distinguished guests, friends,
Norway is characterised by its open economy, as well as its close relationship with our trading partners in the Nordic region, Europe, and further afield.
Norwegian exports employ one quarter of all employees in private sector companies in Norway, and in 2020 represented one third of our gross domestic product.
With exports this high, it is absolutely crucial for Norway’s economy and well-being that Norwegian export industries are able to benefit from domestic operating conditions that are relevant and internationally competitive.
Before the export revenues begin to flow, we must invest: in areas such as new technology and industrial manufacturing. And it goes without saying that the industrial workplaces of the future must be sustainable—it is precisely the end of securing future employment that make the means of green investment so important.
When investing, we need finance. Export Finance Norway’s financing solutions play an efficient and central role in boosting the private capital markets with public funds offered on commercial terms.
Let me stress that private capital should always lead the way. However, in those cases where, for a variety of reasons, the commercial market is not enough, Export Finance Norway will help to mobilise capital to assist in the realisation of profitable green projects such as offshore wind power, hydrogen and—the focus of our gathering today—large-scale battery manufacturing.
We are considering many large scale investments within the green transition. Over the next three years, we anticipate a need for state financing worth up to 60 billion kroner in the green value chains identified by the government in its Green Industrial Boost.
Export Finance Norway is currently engaged in dialogue with stakeholders up and down the entirety of the battery value chain, and expects to be an important contributor and sparring partner in terms of financing solutions.
We are seeing the emergence of an exciting Nordic battery belt. This value chain—this industrial partnership—is something that Norway must be a part of. We must dare to be bold. And naturally value chains include both major, leading export businesses and their suppliers in the form of small and medium enterprises.
Freyr’s battery cell facility is playing a key role in the development of a potent, high tech battery value chain in Norway and the Nordics as a whole.
We have been engaged in dialogue with Freyr for a long time, and have been most impressed by the way the project has developed and with the management team’s success in positioning Freyr in a new Norwegian industry from an early stage.
Export Finance Norway has therefore indicated our willingness to participate in up to 4 billion kroner in financing of the project in partnership with other finance providers and investors. It is a significant amount.
We wish Freyr all the best in the next, exciting phase of their endeavours, and we look forward to working closely with the growing Norwegian battery industry.