Newsletters

  • EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) approved a new ten year special tonnage tax regime for shipping in Norway 14 December 2017
    Thursday, December 14, 2017
    The Norwegian tonnage tax scheme exempts maritime transport from the usual corporate tax rate. Ship owners will instead pay taxes based on ship weight, resulting in a significant reduced tax rate. The new scheme will be valid from 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2027.
  • Bareboat registration in and out of the Norwegian ship registries
    Tuesday, December 5, 2017
    In a consultation paper dated 5 December 2017 the Norwegian Government is proposing to open up for the bareboat registration of vessels in and out of the two Norwegian ship registries. The proposal is particularly driven by the increasing need for Norwegian flagged vessels to change flag in order to meet cabotage rules of other states, or to temporarily satisfy flag requirements under a charter party.
  • World’s first ocean based fish farm unit
    Thursday, October 26, 2017
    The first ocean based fish farm unit ever constructed was delivered in September 2017 by a Chinese shipyard to a Norwegian company and offloaded for operation in the open ocean off the Norwegian coast. The fish farm unit is semi-submersible; without engines or other means of propulsion. Nevertheless, when it comes to construction costs, size and volume this ocean based fish farm unit is more similar to ships and other offshore units than traditional fish farm units
  • Supplytime 2017 | Liabilities - a simple guide
    Thursday, October 26, 2017
    June 2017 saw the much heralded release by BIMCO of its new and improved version of the “SUPPLYTIME”; the popular time charter party for offshore support vessels. The previous 2005 version was one of the most widely deployed standard form contracts seen in the offshore industry, (including in arenas beyond those for which it was originally intended).
  • Stricter regulation of insurance intermediaries
    Thursday, October 26, 2017
    The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway ("FSAN") published in June this year a draft consultation paper on new domestic legislation implementing Directive (EU) 2016/97 of 20 January 2016 on insurance distribution (IDD). This Directive replaces Directive 2002/92/EC of 9 December 2002 on insurance mediation (IMD).
  • What Is Your Agent Story?
    Thursday, September 28, 2017
    The use of agents is normal practice in a range of industries, and very often crucial in order to succeed as a company, for example when entering into new markets or areas /regions. However, as most companies are aware of, engaging agents can also expose companies to risks and potential consequences. Examples might include entering into contracts or obtaining licenses in a way which later harms your company´s reputation, leads to loss of key employees, damages your business or puts your company under criminal investigation. In view of the above, it is worth asking the relevant questions: Are you on top of your ‘agent risk’? How should you deal with this issue to best protect your business?
  • The EFTA Court’s judgment of 20th July 2017 in Case E-11/16 Mobil Betriebskrankenkasse v Tryg Forsikring means a change of practice for Norwegian insurance companies
    Tuesday, August 22, 2017
    Whilst on holiday in Norway in 2011, a German tourist was injured following a car accident with a Norwegian national. Mr Wille received emergency treatment at a Norwegian hospital before being transferred, at his request, to a German facility for further treatment. In addition to the injuries directly related to the accident, he developed a number of ailments that would not be regarded as recoverable under Norwegian insurance law.
  • What can you legally tell your competitors when your suppliers aren’t listening?
    Tuesday, April 4, 2017
    European Union fined three battery recycling companies a combined 43.5 million euro for forming a cartel that artificially kept the purchasing price for used car batteries low in February this year. A fourth company was not fined because it received immunity after revealing the existence of the cartel. Most cartel activity penalised by the Commission and indeed by the Norwegian Competition Authority (the “NCA”) involves cartel members colluding to increase their sales prices. This case was therefore unusual, as the companies conspired to reduce their purchase prices.
  • Competition Authority imposes multi-million fines on colluding book publishers
    Tuesday, April 4, 2017
    Norwegian Competition Authority (“NCA”) handed on March 22nd 2017 the down fines accumulating to MNOK 32 to four Norwegian book publishers. The publishers Aschehoug, Cappelen Damm, Gyldendal and the former Schibsted Forlag received fines ranging from MNOK 4,5 to MNOK 9,6. According to the NCA`s decision, these publishers have illegally colluded by collectively excluding a distributor supplying the so-called “mass market” for retail sales of books, i.e. sales outside traditional bookshops such as kiosks, grocery shops and petrol stations. In addition, the NCA also found that the publishers have exchanged anti-competitive information.
  • Limitation of Liability in Commercial Contracts: Indirect and Consequential Loss
    Tuesday, April 4, 2017
    English law is frequently chosen as the governing law of the contract in international transactions, even though neither party to the agreement is English. Many Norwegian companies that trade with English or other International undertakings often agree to English law as the governing law of the agreement - perhaps without a comprehensive overview of the implications this may have on the various contractual clauses. In this second article on the limitation or exclusion of liability under English law, we give a brief overview of the legal framework within which it is possible to limit or exclude liability for indirect or consequential losses under English law.
  • The EFTA Court to consider jurisdictional issue in relation to cross-border recourse claims between insurance companies
    Thursday, March 16, 2017
    On 31 August 2016 the Oslo District Court made a request for an Advisory Opinion in a case pending before it between Mobil Betriebskrankenkasse and Tryg Forsikring. The outcome of the case will be decisive for the type and scope of recourse claims the Norwegian insurance industry can be faced with from foreign social institutions and insurance companies in the future. The EFTA Court’s opinion is expected to be available next month.
  • The construction industry within the transport sector | Major changes - great opportunities
    Monday, March 6, 2017
    The draft Norwegian Transport Plan will be finalised by Parliament in the spring. If all proposed projects are adopted, the Norwegian government will be spending more than NOK 900 billion on transport over the next 12 years. For companies operating in this sector it is, however, not necessary to wait for Parliament’s final decision. Many projects have already been approved for Development and many contracts shall be awarded in 2017 and 2018. This became apparent during an industry information meeting held by Bane Nor, Nye Veier AS and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (“NPRA”) in Oslo 9 February 2017. The total scope of the projects to be commenced over the next two years can be breathtaking for most.
  • EFTA Court with early Christmas present to challenger in Norwegian dairy products market; subsidy to competitor likely to be state aid and aid schemes covering both products falling inside and outside the EEA Agreement must be notified
    Thursday, December 22, 2016
    On the 15 December 2016 the EFTA Court handed down its judgement in case E-1/16, concerning a request for advisory opinion from the Oslo District Court (Oslo tingrett) in a case between the dairy products producer Synnøve Finden AS (“Synnøve Finden”) and the Norwegian State. For the EFTA Court the essence of the case was to answer questions from the national court on whether a special distribution subsidy exclusively granted to fellow dairy producer, the Q-Meieriene AS (“Q-Meieriene”), is to be considered as state aid in the meaning of Article 61 of the EEA Agreement, and to what extent ESA state aid law is applicable if the aid measure covers both products falling inside and outside the product scope of the EEA Agreement.
  • Limitation of liability in Commercial contracts
    Tuesday, December 20, 2016
    English law is frequently chosen as the governing law of the contract in international transactions, even though neither party to the agreement is English. Many Norwegian companies that trade with English or other International undertakings often agree to English law as the governing law of the agreement - perhaps without a comprehensive overview of the implications this may have on the various contractual clauses. In this first article on the limitation or exclusion of liability under English law, we give a brief overview of the legal framework within which it is possible to limit or exclude liability to a contracting party based on English background law.
  • The Norwegian Competition Authority opens its first abuse case since 2007
    Thursday, December 15, 2016
    On 23 November 2016 the Norwegian Competition Authority (the “NCA”) issued a statement of objections against Telenor, one of the largest mobile network providers in Norway. The NCA proposes issuing an infringement decision pursuant to section 11 of the Norwegian Competition Act, (equivalent to Article 102 TFEU) for the abuse of dominant position in two markets for mobile network services to Norwegian consumers. The NCA has proposed a fine of NOK 906 million.
  • Proposed changes to the taxation of unit linked capital insurance - but the product’s fundamental attractiveness remains intact
    Tuesday, November 22, 2016
    On 27 October 2016 the Norwegian Ministry of Finance issued a hearing note in which it proposes changes to the tax rules for “fund accounts”. “Fund accounts” are used in the hearing note as a collective term for unit linked capital insurance, which are marketed under different names in the Norwegian market. Common to most fund accounts is that the insurance element is limited, usually 1% of the fund account’s total savings value upon the insured’s death.
  • The Norwegian regulator suggests implementation of PRIIPs in Norwegian law
    Thursday, November 3, 2016
    The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (FSAN) suggested by letter to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on 31 October 2016 the implementation of the PRIIPs-regulation into Norwegian law through a new Act on key information about packaged and insurance-based investment products. The FSAN simultaneously sent a proposed hearing note to the MoF.
  • New EU Directive affects procedural handling time in insurance industries
    Tuesday, October 18, 2016
    A new Act on Complaints Bodies in Consumer Cases entered into force on 1st July 2016. The Act implements EU directive 2013/11/EU on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and is set to establish a just and effective out-of-court dispute resolution procedure for consumers. The Directive requires Member States to ensure that their approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies are impartial and transparent, offer services at no or nominal costs to the consumer, and ensure that complaints are handled within 90 days of referral.
  • Competition Law: Court of Justice of the European Union clarifies responsibility for sub-contractors’ anti-competitive behaviour
    Thursday, September 29, 2016
    In its recent judgment in case C-542/14 VM Remots, the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter “the Court”) made important clarifications concerning to what extent an undertaking may be liable for anti-competitive behaviour conducted by its hired independent sub-contractors, i.e. external service providers not employed or subsidiaries, nor otherwise integrated in or controlled by the undertaking, e.g. external sales agents, legal or technical advisors/consultants or providers of construction services. The case concerned a Latvian bid rigging matter where an independent external consultant assisting a bidder – without the knowledge of its contracting undertaking; the bidder – unilaterally engaged in collusive price related rigging of the bids. This type of bid rigging was new to the Court, and it had not formerly made a ruling on that particular issue.
  • ‘Best’, ‘reasonable’ and ‘all reasonable endeavours’ - what level of effort will do?
    Thursday, September 29, 2016
    English law is frequently chosen as the governing law of the contract in international transactions, even though neither party to the agreement is English, and indeed many Norwegian companies that trade with English or other European undertakings often agree to allow English law to be the governing law of the agreement - perhaps without a comprehensive overview of the obligations attached to the various contractual clauses. In this article we attempt to clarify the level of effort required under a specific type of clause in English contract law – the ‘endeavours clause’.
  • Time Charters - Remedies available to a shipowner where the time charterer redelivers the ship early
    Wednesday, September 28, 2016
    Recently we have seen several early redeliveries. In difficult market conditions this is not a surprising development as it will be beneficial for a charterer to redeliver a chartered vessel as early as possible and go out into the market to charter another vessel at a lower rate. Where the charter is not specific as to the earliest date for redelivery, the charterer may be tempted to push the contractual limits. If the vessel is redelivered too early, the charterer will be in breach of the time charter and may be liable for damages. In our experience this may often be the source of dispute between shipowners and charterers, and many end up spending significant amounts of time and money in the judiciary system. This article considers the position under English law with respect to the remedies available to a shipowner where the charterer redelivers the vessel early.
  • Transposition of UCITS V into Norwegian law
    Thursday, September 8, 2016
    The UCITS V Directive (2014/91/EU) which amends the UCITS IV Directive (2009/65/EC) was published in the Official Journal (OJ) on 28 August 2014 and came into force on 17 September 2014 with EU member states required to achieve full transposition of the rules into national law by 18 March 2016. The Directive must also be transposed into Norwegian law, but the implementation has been delayed pending the incorporation of Regulations on the European supervisory authorities in financial markets into the EEA Agreement. Following Parliament’s consent to the latter on 13 June this year, the Ministry of Finance published a legislative proposal for the implementation of the UCITS V into Norwegian law on the 26 August 2016 (Prop. 154 L (2015-2016).
  • Euphemism of the day – «Certain changes to the rules on public administration of insurance undertakings»
    Tuesday, August 23, 2016
    It has long been well known that Silver Pensjonsforsikring AS (Silver) has been facing major challenges in trying to meet the capital requirements of the Solvency II Directive, and that the company is most likely to go into liquidation if it fails to find a strategic solution to the capital requirements. The Ministry of Finance has so far shown little mercy towards Silver and the company’s owners. Per now Silver meets the capital requirements that apply to pension funds, i.e. the Solvency I rules, but must increase its capital by between NOK three and four billion (source: Dagens Næringsliv, 13.8.2015) in order to meet the Solvency II requirements. Needless to say, it is not a viable option to ask the current owners or new shareholders to inject between NOK three and four billion in new equity in order to manage paid-up policy funds worth approximately NOK eight billion.
  • Oil & energy: New model sale and purchase agreement
    Thursday, June 23, 2016
    The Norwegian Oil & Gas Association initiated a project early last year aiming at revising the model agreement for sale and purchase of exploration licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (SPA). The revised SPA was recently approved and published and will form basis for most exploration license transactions going forward.
  • New guidance signals dramatic shift towards criminal sanctions for individual offenders in competition law matters
    Thursday, June 23, 2016
    The Minister of Trade, Industry and Fisheries has recently called for harsher sanctions against individuals responsible for infringing the Competition Act’s prohibition against anti-competitive agreements in Section 10. Parliament has also in recent times petitioned for increased disciplinary consequences for individuals involved in anti-competitive practices In a newly issued guidance, the Competition Authority makes clear that from now on criminal sanctions, including imprisonment, will be sought against individuals who are involved in anti-competitive agreements or practices. The threat of imprisonment and fines are directed against both current and former employees, as well as superiors who were aware of the anti-competitive practices but did nothing to prevent it.
  • The Private Equity Review 2016
    Friday, June 17, 2016
    Steenstrup Stordrange has contributed to The Private Equity Review, fifth edition, by supplying the Norwegian chapter. The Review is published by Law Business Research Ltd. The Norwegian chapter was authored by partners Klaus Henrik Wiese-Hansen and Stig Nordal.
  • Norwegian financial assistance regulations - liberalization is expected
    Monday, May 23, 2016
    In February this year, the Norwegian Ministry of Industry and Fisheries issued a consultation paper proposing certain amendments to the financial assistance limitations. For lenders, the proposed reliefs of the regulations which limit the possibility for a company to grant credit or security for loans to finance acquisition of shares in that company may be of particular interest. It may make more assets available for lenders as security for acquisition loans, and may also reduce or make unnecessary the elaborations which today have to be made, in order to decide whether a security will be valid or not.
  • Significant changes to the Norwegian Competition Act
    Monday, April 11, 2016
    In December last year the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries put forward a draft bill containing proposals for significant reform of the Norwegian Competition Act. The bill has now passed its second reading in Parliament and includes:
  • Commission report on the functioning of the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation may signal significant legal changes
    Thursday, March 31, 2016
    On 17 March 2016, the European Commission published a report on the functioning of the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (Regulation 267/2010), which exempts certain types of cooperation in the insurance sector from the EU/EEA antitrust rules provided certain conditions are met.
  • Oslo – a ‘New World City’
    Wednesday, March 9, 2016
    “’New World Cities’ attract a disproportionate share of global investments as the investors look for value beyond the core group of ‘Established’ and ‘Emerging World Cities’”, states Jones Lange Lasalle (JLL), in its report on globalization and competition released some months ago. The top rank of the JLL Investment Intensity Index, which compares the volume of direct real estate investment relative to the economic size of a city, is dominated by “New World Cities”.
  • Competition concerns in the waste management sector?
    Thursday, February 25, 2016
    A new report from the Nordic Competition Authorities refers to a less than optimal use of resources in the waste management sector. Competition authorities believe that increased use of competition would lead to significant savings for residents, better recycling rates, and the creation of a market that will incentivise innovative developments.
  • Strict new EU data protection rules target “Big Data”
    Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    Citizens are given control of their own data – significant new responsibilities conferred upon businesses processing personal data.
  • Increasing the transparency in the Norwegian bond market
    Monday, September 14, 2015
    The Ministry of Finance has requested the Norwegian FSA (FSAN) to draft legislation that may allow issuers of bonds to require information about the identity of the bondholders, including bondholders who hold their bonds through nominee accounts. This may increase the transparency in the Norwegian bond market. While the shareowner register in Norwegian companies is publicly available, bondholders remain anonymous. The lack of transparency in the bond market has been criticised for many years and critics, including Oslo Børs, have claimed that the secrecy increases the risk for insider trading and thereby threatens the market’s integrity.
  • Increasing the transparency in the Norwegian bond market!
    Monday, September 14, 2015
    The Ministry of Finance has requested the Norwegian FSA (FSAN) to draft legislation that may allow issuers of bonds to require information about the identity of the bondholders, including bondholders who hold their bonds through nominee accounts. This may increase the transparency in the Norwegian bond market.
  • The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global – Strengthens CSR profile and takes further steps towards infrastructure investments
    Monday, April 27, 2015
    The Norwegian right-wing Government recently submitted its annual white book to the Parliament on the management of the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) in 2014. The GPFG performed well in 2014, with returns of 7.6 % excl. asset management costs.
  • The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global – Strengthens CSR profile and takes further steps towards infrastructure investments
    Monday, April 27, 2015
    The Norwegian right-wing Government recently submitted its annual white book to the Parliament on the management of the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) in 2014. The GPFG performed well in 2014, with returns of 7.6 % excl. asset management costs.
  • The International Comparative Legal Guide – Insurance & Reinsurance 2015
    Tuesday, March 24, 2015
    Steenstrup Stordrange has contributed to the International Comparative Legal Guide – Insurance & Reinsurance 2015, by supplying the Norwegian chapter. This overview over regulations worldwide is published by well-regarded Global Legal Group, London. The Norwegian chapter, which provides a detailed insight into insurance and reinsurance law, was authored by Partner Klaus Henrik Wiese-Hansen and Senior Associate Audun Kleppestø. Please click here to read Norway – Insurance and Reinsurance 2015.
  • UCITS update – The Norwegian regulator takes action against closet-tracking
    Wednesday, March 18, 2015
    Earlier this month, the Norwegian regulator took action against alleged mis-selling of a fund that charges high fees for active management but, in the regulator’s view, merely mirrors an index – i.e. closet-tracking.
  • It took 20 years… but the Norwegian mass market is finally open to European hedge fund managers
    Tuesday, February 24, 2015
    Investment funds for sale to the general public – in other words, open-ended collective investment structures of which shares may be redeemed on a regular basis and of which investment objectives are financial instruments – have traditionally been strictly regulated in Norway.
  • Norway chases carried interest taxation
    Friday, February 13, 2015
    Since 2012, Norwegian tax authorities have focused on the way Norwegian private equity firms have structured their carried interest payments.

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