Higher earnings from abroad


In 2017, Norwegian owners of direct investment abroad received considerably higher earnings compared to previous years. In total, Norwegian investors received NOK 73 billion in 2017, an increase of almost NOK 19 billion from 2016.

By the end of 2017, Norwegian investors had built up a stock of direct investment abroad equivalent to NOK 1 701 billion. From this stock, the investors received almost NOK 70 billion in total income during the year. As in 2016, the biggest recipients of Norwegian direct investment were the Netherlands, United States and Sweden.

Some industries yield good returns

The increased earnings on Norwegian direct investment abroad can largely be attributed to two industry groups: mining and quarrying, and manufacturing. Figure 1 below shows that these two industries alone contributed to over 60 per cent of distributed earnings in 2017. Earnings for industries related to mining and quarrying were at their highest since 2013. The earnings recorded for manufacturing in 2017 were the highest ever. Chemical manufacturing had a particularly significant increase in distributed earnings compared to 2016.

Figure 1. Distributed earnings from abroad, shares from selected industries. 2017

Share (per cent)
Remaining industries 39.0
Mining and quarrying 28.0
Manufacture 33.0

Despite the foregoing, both manufacturing and mining and quarrying had a negative reinvestment of earnings in 2017. In other words, the total return on their equity investment is not fully reflected in the high distributed earnings. Nevertheless, the sum of reinvested and distributed earnings is significantly higher in 2017 compared to 2016.

Foreigners also yield good returns on mining and quarrying

Foreign investors in the Norwegian mining and quarrying industries also have reason to be pleased about their profitability in 2017. After some lean years, NOK 34 billion was paid out in distributed earnings from these industries in 2017. The dividends were almost back to the level of 2013 and considerably higher than 2016, when NOK 14 billion was paid out. Together with the high returns paid out, the mining and quarrying industries also reinvested just over NOK 6 billion. The return on equity was therefore even better than the distributed earnings show.

At the end of 2017, foreign investors had invested a total of NOK 1 221 billion in direct investment in Norway. Of this, NOK 167 billion was invested in equity stock in mining and quarrying. Total reinvested and distributed earnings for the same industries yielded a return on equity equal to 24 per cent in 2017. This was a clear improvement from the three previous years, and almost at the 2013 level, when the return on equity was 26 per cent.


Figures for the year 2016 has been updated in this publication.