12° Nicosia,
27 May, 2024

Will Fredriksen Group set sail for Cyprus?

Shipping magnate John Fredriksen eyes relocation amid Norway's regulatory frustrations

Andreas Karamitas

The Fredriksen Group, led by prominent shipping magnate John Fredriksen, is contemplating relocating a significant portion, if not all, of its shipping operations from Norway to Cyprus, citing dissatisfaction with Norway's framework conditions.

In an interview with Finansavisen, Fredriksen expressed frustration over the unpredictable nature of Norway's regulatory environment, including sudden rule changes, fees, and taxes, which hinder strategic planning and investment. He criticized the current government for exacerbating conditions rather than fostering an environment conducive to business growth.

Harald Fotland, president of the Shipping Association, echoed concerns, emphasizing the potential loss to Norway's shipping industry if Fredriksen were to relocate operations, chartering, and activities out of the country.

Fredriksen, who holds Cypriot citizenship and resides in London, highlighted what he perceives as Norway's deteriorating maritime environment, exacerbated by burdensome taxes and duties that hinder recruitment efforts in the shipping sector.

An internal assessment is underway within the Fredriksen Group to determine a feasible localization strategy should conditions in Norway remain unfavorable.

Through various subsidiaries, Fredriksen controls a fleet of 348 ships and rigs, primarily managed from offices in Oslo's Aker Brygge district. The potential relocation could significantly impact Norway's standing in the global shipping community and result in job losses.

Meanwhile, the Fredriksen Group has strengthened its ties to Cyprus, with Frontline and SFL Corp. relocating their headquarters to the Mediterranean island. Seatankers Management, the group's private management company, has expanded its operations in Limassol, Cyprus.

The Fredriksen Group's deliberations underscore broader concerns about Norway's competitiveness in the shipping industry and the need for favorable regulatory conditions to retain key players.

Fredriksen's journey from a courier assistant to a shipping tycoon has been remarkable, culminating in his establishment of a vast business empire spanning shipping, oil services, and investments. Despite his Norwegian roots, Fredriksen's potential shift to Cyprus reflects the complexities of modern global business operations.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  Norway  |  shipping  |  registry

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