We are pleased to publish the Conyers Norway Bulletin for 2023, in which we highlight developments affecting Bermuda-based companies in the Norwegian market over the past year.
Compared with global markets, the Oslo exchanges remained resilient in 2022. Oslo Børs, for example, experienced only a one per cent fall in value during the year, largely due to strong performance in both shipping and oil and gas, which remain core sectors in Norway. The average fall in value of companies in other sectors was generally in line with global patterns.
With two new listings of Bermuda companies in the past year — Shelf Drilling (North Sea) Ltd. on Euronext Growth Oslo in November 2022 and Seacrest Petroleo Bermuda Limited on Euronext Expand Oslo in February 2023 — the presence of Bermuda-incorporated companies on the three Oslo exchanges continues to grow. As of April 2023, 23 Bermuda companies were publicly listed in Norway — 18 on Oslo Børs, 2 on Growth Oslo and 3 on Expand Oslo — representing a market capitalisation of US$26 billion.
Since Norway adopted the European Union’s Central Securities Depository Regulation (CSDR), Bermuda has become an even more attractive domicile for companies seeking to list on a Norwegian exchange: Bermuda is one of the few jurisdictions that both is CSDR compliant and has given all three Norwegian exchanges “appointed stock exchange” status.
The Shelf Drilling (North Sea) IPO was a recent example of that Bermuda advantage. The company is a shallow-water offshore drilling contractor, operating primarily in the North Sea, that had been domiciled previously in the Cayman Islands. Euronext Growth Oslo is not recognized as an approved exchange by the Cayman Islands, however, and as part of the preparation for and execution of the IPO, Conyers provided Bermuda law advice and assistance to the company on its continuance to Bermuda, the completion of its private placement of new shares in connection with its acquisition of five jack-up rigs and its admission to and listing on Euronext Growth Oslo.
Seacrest Petroleo Bermuda Limited is an upstream oil and gas company that specialises in operating mid-life oil and gas fields in Brazil. Its recent IPO is notable for being the only Norwegian IPO in the first quarter of 2023.
Two other Oslo-listed Bermuda companies commenced dual listings on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in March this year: Himalaya Shipping Ltd., which is primarily listed on Euronext Expand Oslo, completed a US$45 million New York IPO; and Cool Company Ltd moved its primary listing to the NYSE after its IPO there, making Euronext Growth Oslo its secondary listing.
As in many jurisdictions, fewer acquisitions happened in 2022 than had been expected in Norwegian sectors. M&A activity is predicted to be strong in 2023 as companies experience tighter access to credit and the anticipated takeovers of some Euronext Growth Oslo–listed companies will start to materialise.