Shares and dividend payments

Updated: 30 September 2022

Next update: 27 June 2023

Dividend payments
Dividend payments
691 373
NOK mill

About the statistics

The statistics give an overview of ownership of Norwegian limited and public limited companies, how much the companies pay in dividends and who receives the dividends.

A limited (liability) company is an enterprise where the owners' personal responsibilities for the firm's obligations are limited to the amount the owners have invested. The firm is considered an independent juridical entity. The company must have a deed of incorporation, obtain share capital and the company must be registered with the Brønnøysund Register Centre. A company is a Public limited company if it claims to be so in the ordinance and it is registered as such in the Brønnøysund Register Centre. All or a large part of the shares must be publicly traded and these must be registered with Norwegian Central Securities Depository. More information about the requirements can be found in the Limited Company Act and the Public limited Company Act.

A share is a unit of ownership in a limited company.

A primary capital certificate (PCC) is issued by a savings bank and is very similar to a share. The main differences is that the holders of the PCCs only own a limited part of the bank and has limited influence over the governance of the bank. The dividends are also limited.

Class of shares. The Board of directors can choose to divide the shares into different categories. Each category can have different dividend and voting rights or other characteristics specified at the date of issue.

A shareholder is a natural person or juridical person or other entity that owns shares in a limited company or public limited company.

Share capital. At the formation of a limited company the shareholders must invest a certain amount of capital. The minimum requirement of capital is NOK 100 000 for a limited company and NOK 1 million for a public limited company. The share capital may be increased at a later time by increasing the nominal value, or by issuing new shares. If a shareholder pays more than nominal value, a share premium has been paid. Limited companies can later reduce and repay both share capital and share premium to the shareholders. The share capital statistics include companies that were in existence 31 December in the fiscal year.

Nominal value is the value of the share when issued. The nominal value times the number of shares issued should be equal to the share capital. Nominal value can change due to stock split or a reverse stock split.

Paid dividend is the actual amount of dividend paid out to shareholders during the fiscal year. The paid dividend statistics include all dividends distributed to shareholders by limited companies during the fiscal year whether or not the limited companies were in existence at the year-end or liquidated during the year.

Received dividend is the dividend received by shareholder during the fiscal year.

Received share capital is that part of share capital by which the limited company has reduced its share capital and repayed to its shareholders. It is a non-taxable transfer.

Received share premium is that part of share premium by which the limited company has reduced its share premium and repayed to its shareholders. It is a non-taxable transfer.

Received other paid-in capital is that part of other paid-in capital by which the limited company has reduced its other paid-in capital and repayed to its shareholders. It is a non-taxable transfer.

Capital gains on sale of shares. If a shareholder sells shares and the selling price exceeds the cost price, a capital gain arise.

Risk-free return. With the introduction of the shareholder model as from 1 January 2006, dividends and capital gains on sale of shares for personal shareholders are taxed if they are above the calculated opportunity rate of return, named the risk-free return. As a rule, the risk-free return is computed by multiplying the cost price of the share by an opportunity rate of interest. It is the shareholder who owns the share at the time the risk-free return is calculated (31 December every year) who are entitled to the allowance. The risk-free return can also be used to reduce profit when the share is sold. If the risk-free return or part of it is not used in a given year, it can be carried forward and used later.

Taxable dividend is that part of the received dividend that exceeds the risk-free return.

Taxable capital gains on sale of shares is the part of the capital gains on sale of shares that exceeds the risk-free return.

Listed/non-listed. Listed shares are shares listed and traded at the Oslo Stock Exchange per 31.12 in the fiscal year. Non-listed shares are not listed at the Oslo Stock Exchange per 31.12 in the fiscal year. As of the statistics covering 2007, shares listed on Oslo Axess is also included.

Classification of industry is in accordance with the revised Norwegian Standard Industrial Classification (SN94), which is based on the EU industrial standard NACE Rev. 1 and the UN industrial standard ISIC Rev. 3. As of 2004, the revised standard SN2002 is used. This standard is based on the EU industrial standard NACE Rev. 1.1. As of 2007, the revised standard SN2007, which is based on the EU industrial standard NACE Rev. 2, is used. For companies that engage in several industries, the entire business will be placed under the business that contributes the most to the overall added value. Further information can be found on the Statistics Norway web page.

Institutional sector is a statistical categorizing of the shareholders based mainly on the economic function, but also organization structure and ownership. Institutional sector categories are based on United Nations standards "System of National Accounts" (SNA) from 1993. As of fiscal year 2012, the statistics use a new institutional sector classification which is based on the UN's "System of National Accounts" (SNA) from 2008 and the EU's "European System of National Accounts' (ESA) from 2010.

The country and region classification is based on ISO standard 3166 and the UNs Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications (M49). The statistics are classified by the country where the shareholder is registered. If a company, for instance an American company, owns a holding company in the Netherlands, and this holding company owns shares in a Norwegian limited company, the shareholder in the Norwegian company will be classified as Dutch in the statistisics, eventhough the ultimate owner is American.

Name: Shares and dividend payments
Topic: Establishments, enterprises and accounts

27 June 2023

Division for Accounting Statistics and Business Register

National level

Frequency: Annual, preliminary and final figures.

Timeliness: Preliminary figures are published 26 weeks after the year-end.

Not relevant.

Final statistics files are documented and stored.

The purpose of the stock statistics is to present the value of shares and dividends of Norwegian limited companies and public limited companies by ownership.

Statistics Norway has published annual stock statistics since 1984 with the exception of the period between 1991-1993 and 2000-2003.

The stock statistics is used by the Ministry of Finance, internal and external research institutes, the Bank of Norway (Norges Bank) and they are used in the National Accounts.

The statistics can be used to analyse the structure of a group of companies, the ownership structure of limited companies, the distribution of dividends from the companies to the shareholders etc.

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 stock statistics cover nearly the same population as Accounting statistics for non-financial limited companies. The register-based accounting statistics include the profit and loss account and the balance sheet, thus providing more detailed figures broken down by industry and other variables.

Tax statistics for companies include both limited companies and public limited companies. The tax statistics are based on the Directorate of Taxes' register of non-personal taxation entities, and gives inter alia overall ordinary income.

The tax statistics for personal taxpayers comprise all taxable individuals. The tax statistics contains data about received dividend and it includes dividend from both Norwegian and foreign companies.

The Statistics Act section 3-2.

Not relevant.

Starting in the fiscal year 2004 the statistics incorporate all limited companies and public limited companies. As of 2006, the statistics also cover primary capital certificates (PCC). The statistics on taxable capital gains on sale of shares also include sale of equity fund shares.

Previously the statistics included all Norwegian limited companies registered on the Directory of Taxes' Register of Shares. Between 1997-1998 the statistics for non-listed companies did not included firms that were subject to tax regulation for electric power stations.

Starting in 2004 the statistics are based on data from the Directorate of Taxes' Register of Shareholders. In the statistics on taxable dividend, data on dividend reported electronically to the Directorate of Taxes are also used.

Between 1984 and 1999 the statistics were based on the Directory of Taxes' Register of Shares and annual statistics of listed companies from Oslo Stock Exchange (Oslo Børs).

For each company additional data regarding industry and institutional sector is obtained from the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises.

Starting with the fiscal year 2004 Statistics Norway collected data from the Directorate of Taxes' Register of Shareholders. The registers consist of all Norwegian limited companies, specifying the number of shares issued, the share capital, the share premium, and proposed and paid dividend. In addition the register gives information about the shareholders and received dividends. Statistics Norway also collect information about received dividends that the tax payers report electronically to the Directorate of Taxes.

Between 1984 and 1999 Statistics Norway gathered data from the Register of Shares, which is a part of the Directories of Taxes' Register for Non-Personal Taxpayers. The Register of Shares contains information about the nominal value and the number of shares for Norwegian limited companies, as well as the tax value and proposed dividend for non-listed companies. Information about the listed companies was obtained from the Oslo Stock Exchange, partly through their published statistics and partly as an electronic data request.

The Tax Authorities control that the necessary and correct data is registered. In addition Statistics Norway carry out quality controls to ensure coherence and consistency within and with other available statistics.

The analysis unit is the limited company and the shareholder. The statistics are estimated by counting all units with a certain characteristic, e.g. the number of limited companies by main industry, and by aggregating a certain characteristic for all units in the statistics, e.g. received dividend.

Not relevant

As a main rule a figure is not published if it is based on less than three units, if one single company amounts for 90 per cent or more of the value, or if two companies amount for 95 per cent or more of the value.

A change of source means that starting in 2004 the stock statistics are not directly comparable to earlier statistics. Some of the variables are redefined, e.g. previously the statistics included proposed dividends and as of 2004 the statistics include paid dividends.

The statistics are comparable for the period 1994 to 1999.

Prior to 1991 the stock statistics showed the estimated market value of non-listed companies. An estimate of the market value was obtained by simply using the tax value of the firm unless the tax value was zero, in which case the face value was used.

Prior to 1990 the amount published as paid dividend was the proposed dividend in the previous year. Starting in 1994 the dividend figure published included the proposed dividend to be paid out in the following year.

Adjustments to the tax system and to the accounting regulation over the years are reflected in the data and influence the continuity of the timeseries.

Adjustment of industry categorisation or structural changes within the industries might have an impact on the figure and impede the comparison over the years.

The introduction of a new institutional sector classification in 2012 means that the sector classified statistics are not fully comparable with previous years. This particularly affects the demarcation between financial and non-financial corporations.

The dataset is based on information given by the companies in the Shareholder Registration form, and errors arise if the information given is erroneous or inaccurate. If mistakes are not corrected during the quality controls the information of the Shareholder Registration form might be incorrect. Mistakes can also occur during the processing, the correction or the registration of the data. The quality control is mainly concerned with mistakes that can have a significant impact on the statistics. As a result, less significant errors, which have no impact on the total amounts, may not be corrected.

Some errors made during the collecting and processing of the data are unavoidable and include coding, editing and data processing errors etc. Extensive efforts have been made to minimize these errors, and we regard these types of errors to be relatively insignificant.

The statistics are based on an administration register of the population. Still there could be that some companies are not included in the register. The non-response rate is between 3 and 7 per cent of the total population of limited companies. Non-response can typically be caused by limited companies that are establish during the year or are no longer in business. When the owner is a foreign company or the general government, we also see a larger non-response rate. This is most likely caused by the fact that these shareholders are not taxed by the shareholder model, and thus the incentive to report is smaller.

The quality of the register and the linked data from administrative registers also have an impact on the quality of the finished result. Both the administrative and statistics registers are regularly updated, and will therefore change during the production process.

The stock statistics present figures for both limited companies and shareholders. Comparing these figures on might find that for items such as share capital and dividend paid there will be some differences.

Revisions are planned adjustments made to previously published figures (for instance when preliminary figures are revised and replaced with final figures). In Shares and capital returns, preliminary figures covering the recent income year are publised together with final figures covering the previous income year. To get more information about revisions, please see Principles for revisions in Statistics Norway.