Who are Norway's wealthiest people in 2021? Discover the top 10 Norwegian billionaires thanks to the latest ‘rich list' published by a Norwegian business magazine.
It's that time of the year again! Each year, Norwegian business magazine Kapital publishes its annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in Norway. The list does not consider income, but the value of total assets held.
This year's report shows that all of Norway’s 400 richest people are billionaires in Norwegian kroner.
In fact, the magazine calculated that there are 407 Norwegians worth more than one billion kroner. “Never before have we experienced such wealth in Norway,” said Kapital editor Vibeke Holth.
Compiling Norway's rich list
For 30 years, the Norwegian business magazine Kapital has published an annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in Norway.
Read more: Famous Norwegian People
‘Norway's richest 400' is based on the tax return data published by the Norwegian tax authorities each year. Kapital researchers then adjust those figures based on share price movements and other public information available so far in 2021.
This means of course that the figures are estimates. The pandemic made the job more difficult for the second consecutive year, but they are confident in the results.
Supermarket wealth increases during the pandemic
Many of Norway's biggest businesses and wealthiest people have taken a financial hit during the pandemic. The grocery sector was one of the big exceptions.
Odd Reitan of Rema 1000 fame and Norgesgruppen's Johan Johannson place third and fourth on the list with assets of NOK 51 billion and 50.5 billion respectively. Both men have watched their wealth increase by NOK 6.5 billion kroner since last year.
Now, let's take a look at the top 10 in more detail.
#1: John Fredriksen
The Oslo-born Cypriot national who lives in London tops the list, and comfortably so. Shipping magnate John Fredriksen is worth more than double his nearest rival. His wealth has also recovered from the 2020 dip, returning now to 2019 levels.
“From what we can see, this makes John Fredriksen the richest Norwegian ever,” said Kapital's Vibeke Holth.
During the Iran-Iraq Wars in the 1980s, his was one of the few oil shipping companies who continued to work in the region, despite its risks. The gamble paid off, and his oil tanker fleet is now the world's largest.
His inclusion on the list remains curious given that he renounced his Norwegian citizenship “because it offered his family better tax arrangements”, according to several media reports. Norwegian citizens are taxed on their wealth in addition to their income.
#2: Ole Andreas Halvorsen
Fredrikstad-born Ole Andreas Halvorsen jumps from fourth to second place in the rankings. His wealth rose from NOK 43 billion to 56 billion over the last year.
The CEO and co-founder of the Connecticut-based hedge fund, Viking Global Investors, remains a Norwegian citizen but lives in America.
Halvorsen worked in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley after finishing his studies and moved into a senior position with Tiger Management Corp before co-founding Viking Global Investors, which manages in excess of $30 billion of capital.
#3: Odd Reitan
Chances are you'd expect many of the top ten to be involved in shipping or the energy industries. However, those in positions three and four are both in the supermarket trade. With a total wealth of approximately NOK 51 billion, Odd Reitan comes in second.
He's the founder of well-known supermarket chain Rema 1000. The chain began in Trondheim and now covers the entire country, as well as several other countries in northern Europe.
Reitan was also the man behind the expensive overhaul of the Britannia Hotel in Trondheim.
#4: Johan Johansson
The founder of Rema 1000's main rivals NorgesGruppen, which includes the brands Kiwi, Meny, Spar and Joker, is worth almost as much as Reitan. His total estimated assets come to NOK 50.5 billion.
Despite owning around 70% of NorgesGruppen, Johansson keeps a relatively low public profile
Read more: Norwegian People
#5: Gustav Witzøe
Who knew there is so much money in salmon? The Witzøe family certainly do.
Witzøe is founder and executive vice president of one of the world's largest salmon farmers, SalMar, founded in 1991. SalMar processes hundreds of thousands of tonnes of salmon each year.
Seafood exports are one of Norway's biggest industries. Witzøe saw his wealth jump from NOK 33.5 billion to 45.6 billion in the last 12 months, enough to lift him one place in the rankings to number five.
Much of his fortune is to be inherited by his son, Gustav Magnus Witzøe. In addition to a future controlling interest in SalMar, the 27-year-old already invests in technology startups and real estate, and has worked as a model. He has a big social media following.
#6: Johan H. Andresen
In sixth place on the list with an estimated wealth of NOK 45 billion is Johan Henrik Andresen. Since 1998, Andresen has been the owner of the Ferd investment group.
One of the largest privately held companies in Norway, Ferd is an investment company with holdings in companies within industry and finance as well as a real estate portfolio.
It seems to have withstood the pandemic well so far, as Andresen's personal wealth increased in each of the last two years.
#7: Ivar Erik Tollefsen
Real estate investor Tollefsen is worth an estimated NOK 38.5 billion, up from 29 billion in 2020. The 59-year-old began his entrepreneurial journey by renting out DJ equipment and services.
#8: Kjell Inge Røkke
As the main owner of Aker ASA, Kjell Inge Røkke is worth around NOK 36.6 billion, up from 27.5 billion last year.
Røkke launched his business career with the purchase of a 69-foot trawler in the USA in 1982, and gradually built a leading worldwide fisheries business.
Today, Aker ASA is one of Norway's biggest companies, engaged in offshore fishing, construction and engineering. Røkke is known for his philanthropy and has previously announced he will give away “the lion’s share” of his vast fortune to good causes.
#9: Stein Erik Hagen
Businessman and investor Stein Erik Hagen is worth an estimated NOK 33 billion. He is a major shareholder of the Orkla Group, which has interests in branded consumer goods, aluminium solutions and financial investment sectors. Hagen also holds an interest in retailers Steen & Strøm, Jernia and Komplett.
#10: Torstein Hagen
The founder, chairman and CEO of Viking Cruises had watched NOK 40 billion get wiped off the value of his assets from 2019 to 2020. It was the biggest drop ever recorded by Kapital in a single year.
His fortunes improved over the last 12 months though, as his wealth recovered to NOK 30 billion. This means Hagen retains his place in the top ten.
Founded in 1997 with just four ships, the Viking Cruises fleet has grown to 82 vessels. However, the health crisis forced the company known for its river cruises and ocean cruises to suspend operations for much of 2020.
Elsewhere on the list
Aside from the top ten, the big story from this year's Kapital 400 is the number of technology entrepreneurs jumping straight into the chart. 35 people were new to the Kapital 400 list. Holth said this was a “paradigm shift” in wealth creation.
The highest placed woman in the rankings is at number 31. Shipping heir Else Helene Sundt is worth around NOK 8.7 billion thanks to savvy investments.
Her investment success saw her leapfrog last year's richest woman, real estate investor Ruth Katharina Mustad Bevreng.
The rich list in 2020
For ease of comparison, here are the top ten from the 2020 list:
- John Fredriksen
- Odd Reitan
- Johan Johansson
- Ole Andreas Halvorsen
- Johan H. Andresen
- Gustav Witzøe
- Stein Erik Hagen
- Ivar Erik Tollefsen
- Kjell Inge Røkke
- Torstein Hagen