Norwegian investments still growing
"The Norwegian footprint on Brazilian economy is significant, and something that makes us proud", Deputy Minister Morten Høglund stated during launch of brand new investment report.
The Norwegian Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Morten Høglund visited Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro from November 11-14, 2014. This is the fourth high level visit from the Norwegian government this year, and a direct follow-up of Minister Børge Brende´s visit in February.
The investment report that Mr. Høglund launched on November 13, can certainly explain this high level of attention Brazil is getting from Norwegian authorities:
By the end of 2013, 23 billion USD have been invested in Brazil by private companies. The governmental Pension Fund has invested another 11 billion USD in Brazil, so the total volume of Norwegian investments are 34 billion USD.
The report also shows that these investments have been made by 83 Norwegian companies in Brazil, and the report uses a conservative definition of what qualifies as a Norwegian company. Depending on the definition, you could say there are 157 Norwegian companies present in the Brazilian market.
75 percent of the Norwegian investments were made in the past five years, and seven new Norwegian companies established in Brazil per year in the same period.
"These are huge numbers, and the footprint that Norway has, economically speaking, on Brazil, is something any country would be proud of. The high level of investments also explains the constant attention from Norway, and confirms the need for a continued focus on Brazil. It clearly demonstrates the importance of Brazil to us", Mr. Morten Høglund said.
Long term approach
According to the report, Norwegian investments in Brazil are still growing, despite a slower growth in Brazilian economy.
"The scale of investments show how great a match our countries are, and there is reason to be optimistic. The Norwegian presence is increasing. This also demonstrates that Norwegian stakeholders have a long term approach, despite a slower economic growth. A lot of energy is going into doing business in Brazil, and I am impressed after meetings in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. After USA and EU, it is Brazil that contracts most Norwegian investments internationally", Mr. Morten Høglund said in his presentation.
The oil and gas industry is the largest sector, receiving 2/3 of the investments, but aluminum, agriculture and renewables are other sectors that have caught the interest of Norwegian investors.
"The pre-salt discoveries have boosted Norwegian activities, and Norway aims to develop a partnership to the mutual benefit for both our countries. We would like Brazil to see Norway as a preferred partner is several areas", Mr. Høglund said.
Media is another sector receiving large investments. An example is the Norwegian acquisition of the Brazilian site Bomnegocio.com, by Telenor and Schibsted.
"We are also investing in people, and the report shows that Norwegian companies employ almost 20.000 people, and are contributing significantly to job creation in Brazil. 100 new jobs were created at the new Yara plant in Campinas, and the same goes for the new Jotun factory in Itaborai."
Mr. Høglund is impressed by how well the Norwegian business community and Team Norway are working together.
"I find it very positive how you actively promote Norwegian interests together. This is very important in a complicated and different market", Mr. Høglund said.
Met the business community
The report was launched during an event at the residence of the Norwegian Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, Mrs. Helle Klem. The minister´s presentation was followed by a cocktail where representatives from the Norwegian business community in Rio de Janeiro were present.
Mr. Høglund visited Sao Paulo, and was present for the formal opening of a new Yara plant in Campinas. He also visited the facilities of Umoe Bioenergy before coming to Rio de Janeiro.
The purpose of his visit was to get a first hand impression of Norwegian activities in Brazil. Latin America and international business promotion are the main responsibilities of the Deputy Minister. In the first half of 2015, Norway and Brazil are planning new political consultations, and as the new federal government is yet to take office, meetings with top level Brazilian politicians was not on the agenda during this visit.
"This visit has however given me a very good basis for the consultations we are planning on federal level next year. I have received first hand information on the challenges that Norwegian companies meet every day, and this is something we will be bringing with us."
By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist
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