Companies In Norway

Biggest Norwegian companies: Everything you need to know about the main companies in Norway

Since discovering oil in the latter half of the 20th century, Norway — and companies in Norway — have gone from strength to strength. But despite striking lucky in the North Sea, pinning all of the country’s success on natural resources is unfair. The biggest Norwegian companies have greatly impacted domestic and global markets. 

Few countries can claim as much prosperity as Norway, and compiling a list of nations that can have a more optimistic future outlook is challenging to say the least. The country has a mixed economy that serves it incredibly well, with fishing, tourism, and energy all playing a role. 

While you won’t find as many tech companies as in neighboring Sweden, you will still notice a couple that have made moves in various international markets. 

And thanks to the Norwegians’ practicality and openness, many huge foreign businesses — such as Microsoft and IBM — have set up offices in this sparsely-populated land.

We’re not going to talk about them in this article, however. Instead, we’ll focus on the leading companies in Norway that have their headquarters or began their journeys here. And so, without further ado, let’s get into the swing of things.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Simon Wright

Norwegian Air Shuttle

If you’ve heard of one Norwegian company, it’s probably Norwegian Air Shuttle. You might have flown with them in the past, too; since forming in 1993, the airline has become one of Europe’s most popular budget airlines. 

Today, the company’s headquarters are in Fornebu — just outside Oslo. 

When traveling around Scandinavia by air, Norwegian is the best airline to use if you can’t afford Scandinavian Airlines’ usually-high ticket fees. The company flies to over 80 destinations, including Oslo, London, Copenhagen, Munich, and Vienna. 

You can use the service to reach almost every major city in the Nordic region, with several flights between Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm daily; the journey takes around an hour regardless of which two you fly between. 

Having enjoyed significant success in Europe, Norwegian made a bold move to try long-haul flights in the late 2010s. You could use the airline to find affordable, no-frills flights to cities like New York City, Chicago, and Miami. 

Since then, however, the company has pulled its long-distance services for now. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Norwegian was significantly impacted by the border restrictions that many countries placed on travelers. Its stock price on the Oslo Stock Exchange decreased dramatically, and it required financial assistance to stay afloat.

With international travel resuming, the future looks a little rosier for Norwegian Air Shuttle than it did a few years ago. The company has a new CEO in Geir Karlsen, and the business has been restructured to focus primarily on flights within Europe.

Companies In Norway
Credit: VY | Ivar Kvaal

Vy

Norway’s rugged landscape of mountains and fjords makes getting around a little trickier than would otherwise be the case. However, the country has done an excellent job at building an infrastructure that makes traveling much easier than in most countries. 

For long-distance travel in Norway, you will probably use Vy — which is the country’s main train operator and one of the largest Norwegian companies. From 1996 to 2019, the company was known as Norges Statsbaner (NSB); it has since rebranded into the name that you see today. 

Norway has an extensive rail network, which stretches all the way up to Narvik in the Arctic Circle. In addition to its train services, Vy operates many of Norway’s long-distance buses.

Vy is owned by the Norwegian state, and the same is true for Flytoget — the train service that runs between Oslo Gardermoen Airport and the city center without stopping along the way. In addition to Norway, Vy runs the train line running between Osloand Gothenburg in Sweden.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Vipps

Vipps

If you ever move to Norway, you will almost certainly download Vipps. This payment service is one of the most famous Norwegian companies domestically, and it has over 3.7 million users — pretty impressive when you consider that Norway only has a population of 5.4 million people in total. 

The concept of Vipps is pretty simple. If you have a Norwegian bank account and mobile number, you can use the app to make in-store payments and send money to others. On top of that, you can use Vipps to pay for items online.

If you’ve lived in Sweden or Denmark before, you’ll probably be familiar with Swish and Mobile Pay — which are those countries’ respective equivalents. The Netherlands has a similar payment method, too, in the form of Zimpler. 

DNB (more on them soon) developed Vipps, but the app isn’t exclusive to their customers. So, if you move to Norway, you’ll want to strongly consider registering for a free account.

You can send up to 2,000 Norwegian Kroner without needing to undergo additional verification; after that, the app will ask you to confirm your identity and finalize the payment.

Companies In Norway
Credit: DNB

DNB

Norway is one of the world’s most cashless societies, and you will have no problems paying via card (or Vipps!) in most places. If we talk solely about banks, the largest Norwegian company is DNB. The bank has been a key part of Norway’s economy since its foundation in 1822, and it has over 11,000 employees across the globe. 

In Norway alone, DNB has more than 2.3 million private customers — and a large number of businesses use the service to manage their finances. The bank’s headquarters are in the modern Barcode District, which lines along part of Oslo’s waterfront. 

While DNB primarily focuses on the Norwegian market, it also serves customers in other countries. Areas of focus include Denmark, Poland, Finland, and Estonia — plus the other Baltic countries.

DNB offers private customers a wide range of account types, in addition to a broad selection of other financial services that they might want to gain access to.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Norsk Hydro ASA

Norsk Hydro

As you might expect from the country’s location close to the North Sea and its abundance of natural resources domestically, energy is a crucial part of Norway’s economy. 

But the Norwegians are also some of the world’s most environmentally-conscious people, and renewable energy is a huge business here. One of the top Norwegian companies in this field is Norsk Hydro. 

Norsk Hydro focuses on aluminum, and the Norwegian state owns over 30% of the company. Prior to 2007, the business was an important part of Norway’s oil and gas sector — but those operations have since moved on to another company that we will talk about later in this article. 

Headquartered in Oslo, Norsk Hydro generated 28 billion NOK before adjusted earnings before interest, tax, and amortization (EBITDA). In US Dollars, that translates to over $2.8 billion. 

Norsk Hydro has an ambitious 2025 plan in which it aims to make its operations more sustainable. The company trades on the Oslo Stock Exchange, with its current price at the time of writing in June 2022 standing at around $6.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Flyr

Flyr

While Norway isn’t a big country in terms of population, it’s huge if we look at the land size. If you wanted to travel from Oslo to Tromsø, the flight would take over two hours — with the total distance between the two cities standing at over 1,700 kilometers. 

If you want to plan a grand trip around the country, you don’t need to worry; several Norwegian companies operate flights around the country, including Flyr. 

Flyr is one of the newest Norwegian airlines, and the company was founded in 2020 — right during the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2021, Flyr officially commenced operations with a flight from the Norwegian capital to Tromsø. 

The concept for Flyr isn’t too different from Norwegian. Flyr focuses on low-cost flights primarily in Norway but also across other destinations in Europe. Students and young adults can get particularly attractive discounts on flight deals. 

Oslo is Flyr’s main airport. 

Domestically, you can catch flights to: 

  • Bergen
  • Bodø
  • Trondheim
  • Tromsø
  • Stavanger
  • Harstad/Narvik

Further afield, Flyr operates flights to various European cities — including Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Edinburgh. In June and July 2022, the company will expand its operations to different airports in Greece and Portugal. 

Flyr was founded by Erik Braathen, who also served as CEO for Braathens — a separate airline that merged with SAS Norway in 2004.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Ole Jorgen Bratland, ©Equinor

Equinor

Equinor is the most important Norwegian company in the domestic oil and gas sector. Like many of the businesses on this list, the Norwegian state runs its operations — which are headed from its main office in Stavanger. 

Until recently, Equinor was known as Statoil — and you might have previously heard of the company under that particular name. In 2018, however, it rebranded to the name that you see today. 

The original version of Statoil was founded in 1971 to help Norway control its new-found riches in the North Sea. Stavanger, which is in the southwestern corner of the country, became the main hub for the oil and gas industry — and it has remained like that to this day. 

In 2007, Statoil merged with Norsk Hydro’s oil and gas operations — leaving the former to focus on aluminum and renewable energy instead. The company has a huge presence domestically; the parts of the business not owned by the state are owned by public stock investments instead. 

For Equinor’s international operations, most of the daily ins and outs are performed from its office in Fornebu. The company has over 21,000 employees across the globe, with a presence in several countries outside of Norway. These include the UK, Germany, Argentina, Singapore, and Belgium.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Bjørn Erik Pedersen

Gjensidige Forsikring

Gjensidige Forsikring is one of the largest Norwegian companies in the domestic market, and it dates back over two centuries. The company focuses on insurance, and it serves private customers and businesses alike. 

Gjensidige offers a wide selection of insurance services, including offerings for properties and cars. You can also use the company for issues related to travel, pets, and more. 

Norway is Gjensidige’s main market, and the company has its head office in Oslo. However, you will also find its offerings in various other countries. Customers in Denmark and Sweden can take advantage of what’s on offer, and the same goes for individuals in the three Baltic countries.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Teemu Pesonen

Wilderøe

The two airline companies mentioned so far have a focus on both Norway and international destinations. Wilderøe serves flights to a selection of airports in Northern Europe, but its primary focus is on the Norwegian market. 

The company is one of Norway’s most iconic institutions, and its green and white fleet is instantly recognizable when you land in Oslo. 

Wilderøe is one of Norway’s oldest airlines, having originally established itself as a company in 1934. While it’s only the third-biggest airline in Norway, it’s the most important regional airline in the Nordics

Within Norway, Wilderøe flies to dozens of destinations. You can use the service to get to all of the main cities, including Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim. It also flies to smaller airports, such as Hammerfest, Alta, and Båtsfjord. 

Elsewhere in Scandinavia, Wilderøe operates flights to and from Copenhagen, Stockholm (Bromma), and the Faroe Islands — plus a few other airports. 

Wilderøe flies to a couple of international destinations, too. Airports include Munich, Hamburg, and Aberdeen. The company has attempted to operate flights from various others but has since opted to withdraw; examples include Edinburgh, Berlin, and Umeå.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten

As you’re probably beginning to gather by now, Norway has a very well-oiled (both figuratively and literally) tourist machine. Besides its expansive road and rail network, along with the huge number of flights you can catch domestically, you’ll also find several boat and ferry services. 

The largest sea travel service for tourists in Norway is Hurtigruten, which focuses largely on passenger ship services. In Norwegian, the name translates roughly to “the fast route”. As of 2021, services are operated by Hurtigruten in conjunction with Havila Kystruten. 

Hurtigruten operates several services throughout the year from various ports in Norway. One of the most scenic routes is from Bergen to Stavanger, and if you’re feeling truly adventurous, you can get a cruise all the way up Norway (and back down again) in an epic 12-day experience. 

In addition to its main cruise, you’ll find various other voyages. From 2023, Hurtigruten is planning to operate a trip for tourists to Svalbard — along with another to Nordkapp, which is the northernmost point in mainland Europe. 

Hurtigruten has been serving the Norwegian seas since 1893 and — like Wilderøe — is one of the country’s most iconic companies.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Telenor

Telenor Norway

You might need to squint if you want to look for something cheap in Norway, but mobile plans fall into that category. One of the biggest Norwegian companies in this respect is Telenor Norway. Telenor is the main mobile operator in Norway, and it serves over three million customers in the country. 

In addition to mobile network services, Telenor also provides broadband services to several homes throughout Norway. In 2020, the company had more than 3,300 employees helping it serve the Norwegian market alone. 

Headquartered in Fornebu, the company generated over 26.3 billion NOK in revenue throughout 2020.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Bill Harrison

Aker Solutions

Another crucial cornerstone in Norway’s buoyant energy sector is Aker Solutions, which has had several names since originally coming onto the scene over 150 years ago. Several companies have come together to form the business you see today. 

Aker Solutions creates various services for the energy sector and has focused in recent years more on sustainable practices. It’s been known as its current name since 2008 when it rebranded from Aker Kværmer — which itself was a merger of Aker Maritime and Kværmer Oil and Gas. 

Aker Solutions is owned by Aker Holding.

Companies In Norway

Kahoot!

We haven’t mentioned many startups in this list, but we’re going to buck that trend with Kahoot! — which is perhaps the most famous Norwegian company in this respect. 

Kahoot! was one of the early players in the online learning revolution, and it primarily focuses on a gamified experience that makes obtaining new information enjoyable. 

Kahoot! has built a strong presence in several settings, including schools, and for home learning. Alongside that, you can also use the service in the workplace and for studying. 

Since forming in 2013, Kahoot! has gone global. You can learn new skills in several languages, including English, Norwegian, Dutch, and Italian.

Sportradar

Sportradar has since moved its headquarters to Switzerland, but its journey began in Trondheim. The company was founded in Norway’s third-largest city in 2001, and it focuses primarily on sports data and analytics. 

Carsten Koerl, Petter Fornæss, and Tore Steinkjær founded the company, which has since become a huge player in several major sports. The company offers data to the big leagues in the US, and it’s also partnered with the likes of UEFA, Serie A, and the popular sportsbook and daily fantasy sports operator Fanduel. 

Sportradar still has an office in Trondheim, and it’s also present in several cities across the globe — including Munich and New York City.

Endelig – nå kan alle våre spotpris-kunder se hva strømprisen er AKKURAT NÅ i #Fjordkraftappen! Du finner den nederst på skjermen. Her finner du både dagens og morgendagens priser, slik at du kan tilpasse strømbruken hvis du ønsker det ⚡️Flere spennende app-nyheter er på vei!

To hender holder opp to mobiltelefoner. Mobiltelefon nummer 1 viser forsiden av Fjordkraft-appen. Mobiltelefon nummer 2 viser utviklingen til spotprisen time for time.

Originally tweeted by Fjordkraft (@Fjordkraft) on July 5, 2021.

Fjordkraft

Fjordkraft’s literal translation from Norwegian to English is “Fjord Power”. That pretty much explains what the company does in a nutshell; it provides power to customers in the land of fjords

Fjordkraft provides power to several homes throughout the country. But that’s not all; considering Norway’s high ownership of electric cars, you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s a key player in chargers for these vehicles. 

The company’s origins are in Bergen — the country’s second-largest city — where it still has an office. Fjordkraft also has employees based in Trondheim and Sandefjord; the business has been around since 1996.

Companies In Norway

Norse Atlantic Airways

Many of the airlines we’ve mentioned on this list have made serious moves in recent years, and the newest startup in this sector is Norse Atlantic Airways. The airline plans to launch in 2022, and it will fill the long-haul gap that was left after Norwegian pulled out of the market. 

Norse Atlantic Airways will aim to become the go-to budget airline for flights between Northern Europe and North America. Oslo will be its base airport, and it will fly to the likes of New York City, Miami, and London to begin with. 

Norse Atlantic’s planes will have two classes — Economy and Premium.

Lerøy Seafood

Considering that Norway’s coastline is only beaten in length by Canada, you won’t find it surprising to hear that seafood is incredibly popular here. Fishing is also a crucial industry for foreign exports, and one of the most important Norwegian companies in this field is Lerøy Seafood. 

Lerøy Seafood has served Norway since 1899, and the company has several salmon farms throughout the country. In addition to its homeland, Lerøy also has operations in North America.

Companies In Norway
Credit: Ole Martin Wold, ©Yara International ASA

Yara International

Another sustainability-focused company to make the biggest Norwegian companies list is Yara International. Yara focuses on agriculture, and it’s particularly big in the crop nutrition scene. 

Yara International operates in several markets across the globe. In addition to Norway, it’s also present in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Further afield, you’ll find the company in the Netherlands, Kenya, Indonesia, and numerous other countries.

Companies In Norway
Credit: KONGSBERG

Kongsberg Gruppen

Kongsberg isn’t a well-known city in Norway, but you might know of it as the birthplace of iconic musician Morten Harket. It’s also home to several industrial companies, with one of the main ones being Kongsberg Gruppen. 

Kongsberg Gruppen has a huge range of offerings for multiple sectors, including defense and aerospace. The company provides systems like autonomous vessels, underwater sound, and technology for pilots. 

Norwegian companies and prosperity

Norway’s economy is very mixed, and the biggest Norwegian companies are crucial on both domestic and global scales.

As you can see from this list, one of the reasons Norway is so prosperous is because it doesn’t rely on a single industry. Its economy is one of the most mixed in Europe, with traditional sectors thriving alongside innovative new companies. 

Norway is an excellent example of soft power, and its businesses’ influence on the global scene is unprecedented. The country has shown how you can manage natural resources well, and it excels in adopting a long-term approach. 

If you want to move to Norway, you’ll find plenty of work available — though you might need to learn Norwegian first

But Sweden is another country with a thriving economy, and you might find that’s a better fit. To find out which is best, check out the key differences between living in both countries

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