Growing interest from foreign investors in Norway

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Foreign investment now makes up nearly half of all M&A deals in Norway. With its innovative tech industry, access to green energy resources, and government initiatives to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Norway is proving a prime target for international investors looking to capitalise on new growth and diversification opportunities.

“In the past year, all my transactions have been with foreign buyers,” says Kent Kvalvik, partner at Norwegian M&A advisory firm Weibull AS. His firm has completed more than 200 transactions since its inception in 2001, across a broad range of industries.

“We still have a lot of smaller companies that are currently focused on a small domestic market in Norway so there are plenty of growth opportunities in the Nordic and European mid-market and lower mid-market,” he explains. 

Kent specialises in the energy, food, travel, healthcare and TMT (technology, media and telecommunications) sectors. He has seen his transaction volumes double each year over the past four years.  

A hub for innovation 

Norway’s thriving tech industry is a major draw for investors. The country benefits from a collaborative ecosystem where startups and established companies frequently work together to drive innovation. This environment encourages rapid growth and scalability, making Norwegian firms attractive targets for foreign investors seeking to tap into new technologies and markets. 

“Acquiring a Norwegian company can improve future results by bringing in this expertise while the company becomes a part of something bigger and is no longer limited to the Norwegian market,” says Kvalvik. “There’s a lot of potential for local commerce to be taken to an international level.”

A highly educated workforce, cutting-edge research and development facilities, and a high standard of living encourage a continued influx of talent and exciting companies to the area. Many Norwegian startups have already made an impact on the global stage, with the likes of Cognite and Remarkable achieving unicorn status in recent years. 

Government support for young companies

The Norwegian government actively fosters an attractive investment environment through its support for smaller companies from financial assistance programs to tax incentives and business development services. 

Government-backed organisations such as Innovation Norway offer grants and loans to startups and SMEs, enabling them to grow to a level where they are ready for international expansion.

Access to green energy

Norway has established itself as a global leader in renewable energy production, with hydroelectric power accounting for over 90% of its electricity generation. The country has set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy sources, with strategic alliances forged with the other Nordic countries, the UK, Germany, the EU and the US through its Green Industrial Initiative.

Launched in 2022, this initiative forms a key part of Norway’s strategy to diversify its economy by reducing dependence on its traditional export industries, oil and gas, strengthening its relationships with global trading partners. Globalisation has brought on a change of perspective on the ground too.  

“There's been a change on both sides," says Kvalvik. "Investors are attracted by the green shift and Norwegian companies are much more open to being owned by foreign investors than they used to be.”

Meanwhile, investors are encouraged into Norway’s green energy sector for financial as well as environmental gains. Domestic green energy projects often receive substantial government support, making them more financially viable targets, while the reliability of Norway’s energy infrastructure creates a secure foundation for long-term investment.

The search for stability

Stability is also a feature of the political landscape in Norway. The country has a strong legal framework and a transparent regulatory environment, reducing the risks associated with investments and ensuring a level playing field for all market participants. Its strategic location in Europe, coupled with its strong trade ties and membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) strengthen its appeal. 

Geopolitical uncertainty and rising costs arising from the war in Ukraine have made these attributes more significant over recent years, says Kvalvik.   

“Perhaps people are searching for some kind of stability. There's a lot of back-shoring of services, and production that was outsourced to cheaper countries is now being brought back.” 

Foreign investors have a better tax regime than domestic investors and the weak Norwegian krone has also helped offset higher prices for foreign investors, he adds. 

Building a strong international network

For all these reasons, international reach has never been more important to Weibull. The firm has built up a strong network, both domestically and internationally. It works closely with Swedish M&A firm Skarpa and Zerbach & Company in Germany, two of its key markets. Swedish investors are the most visible in Norway, and it is typically evergreen industrial companies and private equity firms. These investors, as well as other foreign investors, recognise that the specialised niches, focus on technology, and innovation available in the Norwegian market compensate for the generally higher costs. 

“Dealsuite helps us reach out to potential investors and buyers that we don't have in our target group list,“ says Kvalvik. “It also expands our network in general as we get in touch with a lot of other M&A firms across Europe and new industrial investors that we didn't know previously.” 

Other platforms tend to focus on the bigger deals alone, he adds, whereas there are more mid-market opportunities on Dealsuite.  

“There is a good variety in size, industry and country, and this is growing all the time so it's getting more and more relevant.” 

Interested in learning more about how Dealsuite can help you find the perfect investment opportunity in Norway? Book a demo today to find out!

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