Norwegian subsidiaries abroad

Updated: 9 February 2023

Next update: Not yet determined

1 433
NOK billion

About the statistics

The statistics gives an overview of Norwegian subsidiaries abroad. By looking at foreign enterprises controlled from Norway, we get an insight to the activities of Norwegian business outside of Norway. The variables included are number of enterprises, employment, employee benefits expense, gross investments and turnover, broken down by industry and country.

Norwegian subsidiaries abroad

A Norwegian subsidiary abroad is defined as an enterprise that is controlled, directly or indirectly, by an enterprise or other economic unit in Norway through an ownership share of more than 50 per cent.


According to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC2007), an enterprise is defined as the smallest combination of legal entity that produces goods or services. In this statistic, a legal entity is an enterprise. Legal entities are limited liability companies, partnerships and sole enterprises. Only economically active enterprises, with turnover and/or employment, are included in the population.


Employment is defined as the sum of wage-earners working in the enterprise. This includes also working proprietors and partners working regularly in the unit. Persons with more than one job, may be counted as employed in several industries. Employment numbers show the average number employed during the year.


Turnover is defined as the enterprise's operating revenues minus public subsidies and profit from the sale of fixed assets. Taxes and duties are included, but VAT is not.

Employee benefits expense

Salary costs include wages, holiday pay, fees etc., employer's National Insurance contributions, reportable pension costs and other personnel costs. Salary costs do not include remuneration to owners of sole proprietorships or general partnerships, or to family members with no fixed salary.

Gross investments

Gross investments include procurements of fixed capital, such as plots of land, buildings and facilities (excluding housing), machines, tools, instruments, fixtures and fittings and transport (excluding private use), both new and used. Sums spent on improvements/extensions to these are also added, while sale of used fixed capital is deducted.

Ultimate investor country

The ultimate investor country is the country where the “last” enterprise or person in the ownership chain is registered or has registered address. That is, the enterprise that is not controlled by another enterprise or the last person in the ownership chain.

Outward FATS

The statistic is international known as Outward Foreign Affiliates Statistics (OFATS). It is thereby commonly referred to as OFATS.

The industrial classification is in accordance with the Norwegian Standard Industrial Classification (SIC 2007) which is based on the industry standard of EU (NACE Rev. 2) and the United Nations (UN) (ISIC Rev. 3).

Name: Norwegian subsidiaries abroad
Topic: External economy

Not yet determined

Division for Financial Accounts

National level. Ownership abroad is divided into countries and country groups.

The statistic is published annually, within 20 months after the reference year.

The data will be reported to the EU statistics agency Eurostat and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) , in line with the binding European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement and other international agreements.

Statistics Norway store raw data and revised microdata in accordance with our standard for archiving files (Datadok). We store microdata for the same periods as the published data on our website. These data are applicable for research purposes after Statistics Norway rules for disclosure of microdata.

The purpose is to provide a total overview of the Norwegian subsidiaries’ economic activity abroad, i.e. foreign affiliates abroad.

In Norway, data for outward FATS was collected for the first time in 2008.

Figures for the Norwegian subsidiaries’ activities abroad are used in economic research to measure the degree of globalization, and in international trade negotiations.

Users are authorities, businesses, embassies, the media and educational and research institutions, among others. There is also extensive international reporting on data for foreign affiliates abroad, particularly to Eurostat and OECD.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

The outward FATS are related to the statistics on Norwegian direct investment abroad (FDI). The holdings of FDI describe claims of payments in the form of Norwegian-owned capital and other capital tied to direct investment.

However, the direct investment statistics say little about how Norwegian ownership interests abroad affect other aspects of the economies where the investment takes place. The FATS statistics are useful in being able to describe this effect, and are a natural continuation of Statistics Norway's existing statistics on globalisation.

Statistics on foreign subsidiaries in Norway (inward FATS) show equivalent relations where foreigners control Norwegian enterprises. The statistics follow the same international requirements as outward FATS.

Statistics Norway's data collection from the reporters is based on the Statistics Act § 10.

European Parliament and Council Regulation (EEC) No 716/2007 of 20 June 2007 concerning Community statistics on the structure and activity of foreign-controlled enterprises (FATS-Regulation). The statistics are prepared in line with recommendations from Eurostat, embodied in the "Recommendations manual on the production of Foreign Affiliates Statistics" (Doc. Eurostat/C4/FATS/LO/SEP06/5 (2006)).

The statistics cover, in principle, all Norwegian subsidiaries abroad, i.e., subsidiaries in foreign countries that are controlled either directly or indirectly by an enterprise in Norway. See section definitions for a closer definition of "Norwegian subsidiaries abroad".

Only economically active enterprises are included in the population. The statistics include all Norwegian-controlled institutional sectors. Non-financial corporations are, in this context, the most important sector.

The statistics are based on Statistics Norway's own collection of survey on investment abroad. The survey provides information about the foreign enterprises, including what the enterprise owns, accounting information on investment and revenue, and information on turnover and employment.

In addition, we use information from a various range of sources, like the media and annual reports submitted to the Register of Company Accounts in Brønnøysund, to find changes in investment abroad.

The sample is based on a cut-off sampling survey. The sampling survey covers the largest Norwegian enterprises with activity abroad. In addition, a sample of smaller enterprises is drawn. The size of the sampling survey has increased since the first year (2008), but all the largest enterprises have been included the whole time.

The statistics over Norwegian subsidiaries activities abroad are based on Statistics Norway's own collection of surveys on investment abroad, which is a joint collection with Norwegian direct investment abroad (outward FDI).

The data collected is to a large extent compared to information with figures for the previous year and the annual accounts submitted to the Register of Company Accounts in Brønnøysund.

With regard to the Norwegian subsidiaries that are included in the survey, we check the ownership structure by reviewing the data with information from annual reports and the enterprises' websites etc. Only enterprises with Norway as Ultimate investor country (Norwegian-controlled enterprises) are included in this statistic.

We have not established any methods to inflate the number of enterprises, turnover and employment abroad to population level.

Not relevant

We do not publish figures if the enterprise behind the figure can be identified from the table. A cell in the table containing less than three enterprises behind the figure, and hence can potentially be identified, will be concealed to protect the enterprise’s identification. This also applies to cells with more than three enterprises if one respondent is so dominating that, in practice, it can be identified.

The size of the sampling survey has increased since the first year (2008), but all the largest units have been included the whole time.

The quality of the statistic is affected by the quality of the register of enterprises for the data collection, as well as the quality of the data that is reported. The most common sources of errors are:

  • that respondents use erroneous scales, e.g. report figures in kroner instead of thousand kroner
  • that respondents makes wrong assessments of what we ask for
  • that Statistics Norway’s forms and reporting solutions are not good enough
  • that Statistics Norway’s processing of the data during registration leads to errors

Statistics on Norwegian subsidiaries abroad are based on Statistics Norway's own data collection. We use a compulsory fine in the event of a reporting obligation not being met. A unit may fail to uphold the reporting requirement, but all the important units are included in the statistics.

The total population of enterprises abroad controlled from Norway is unknown, but we are sure that the most important enterprises are covered by the survey. To ensure highest degree of relevance at the lowest cost, we attach great importance to make sure the largest enterprises in the population are included in the sample, measured by the size of the variables to be reported.

Not relevant