Bermuda and Norway share a connection that may be surprising to some. An article by Guy Cooper and Marcello Ausenda of international law firm Conyers makes the observation that Bermuda companies comprise 36 percent of the Oslo Børs Shipping index, second in volume only to Norwegian firms. According to the co-authors, it has become common in recent years for companies incorporated in Bermuda to list on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
Many firms start with Euronext Growth Oslo, the exchange meant for small to mid-capitalisation companies. From there, they may eventually move to a larger exchange, such as Euronext Expand Oslo, or Oslo Børs. The Oslo Stock Exchange appears to be a stepping stone for some firms on their path to uplist on larger exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). These companies tend to be in the shipping and drilling sectors – Bermuda and Norway have a strong maritime legacy in common.
An advantageous position
The co-authors believe that the Oslo Stock Exchange’s popularity with Bermudian firms may have to do with the fact that Bermuda is now one of the few jurisdictions where companies are compliant with the Norwegian Central Securities Depository Act. The act incorporates the latest changes to the European Union’s Central Securities Depository Regulation (CSDR).
All Oslo stock exchanges enjoy “appointed stock exchange” status in Bermuda. Under the Bermuda Companies Act, this means that Bermudian companies are allowed to have a branch register of foreign shareholders. This allows them to bypass the limitations placed on non-Norwegian issuers after the registration of shares through the single security link method was abolished when CSDR changes took effect.