There are billions in Norway

Billionaires: Vikings worth billions

A new group of super-rich is making a name for itself: Billionaire Norwegians. Sarah Ferguson has already caught one, but there are more silent Vikings with a lot of capital

Mountains, fjords, trolls, salmon in a hundred variations, fantastic skiers and an unconventional royal family - that is Norway as one usually imagines it. The red-blonde descendants of the Vikings are considered to be rather calm and inconspicuous contemporaries. Multi-million dollar tycoons throwing their oil and industrial millions around is more likely to be in American cities or, for some years now, in Moscow - but the Northmen have caught up. It is no longer just that Oslo has become the most expensive city in the world and Norway itself - thanks to the oil billions - has become one of the richest countries in the world, the residents also earned a lot from the upswing. Above all the large industrialists in the country - and there are comparatively few of them - were able to increase their wealth.

The most famous example at the moment is probably the billionaire Geir Frantzen. The industrialist, estimated at 1.9 billion euros, has been on the board of the frozen food group Findus AB for twenty years and has been running its British subsidiary since 2005. The London-based billionaire has been seen alongside the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, for quite some time. Most recently he gave her a Bentley worth 164,000 euros (or, as the English tabloid postil "News of the World" translated it: almost 800,000 fish fingers) - there is even speculation about a wedding. "Fergie" spent last Christmas at his property on the Vesterålen Islands, north of the Arctic Circle. The 40-year-old also owns land and real estate in Oslo and Brazil.

Another very big Norwegian fish is Kjell Inge Røkke - with a total fortune of around 2.5 billion euros, it is considered one of the richest Norwegians ever. The 49-year-old from Molde began to work as a fisherman at the age of 18 and hired on trawlers. In later years he called the "University of the Gosse" the only training facility. He saved up his own capital, returned to Norway and began to invest in smaller companies - the rest of the story reads like a modern fairy tale. Røkke makes his Norwegian dream come true and gradually rose to become an economic giant by buying and selling companies. Today he heads Aker Solutions ASA, a large corporation that combines the oil and gas, refineries, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, paper and metal production sectors. Kjell Inge Røkke himself is known for his dissolute lifestyle - he owns a 19 million euro "hut" in Oppdal and is building another property in the vicinity of Oslo, one of the most expensive countries in all of Scandinavia. He also owns the yacht "Reverie", one of the largest yachts in the world with its own helicopter, another yacht and a private Boeing 737.

King Harald's richest subject has not officially been this for a long time: he took on the Cypriot citizenship for tax reasons - the shipowner, estimated at 4.9 billion euros, has been living on the Mediterranean island, where he owns a large property, for years. But Fredriksen is also at home in Marbella and London. He owns the largest fleet of tankers in the world, but has invested in many other areas such as fish farming, various debt collection companies and drilling equipment. Shipping, however, remained his favorite industry. "Shipping is more amusing, economically it is easier and besides, I have occupied myself with it all my life," he told the Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Næinigsliv in April of last year. Fredriksen, who grew up in Oslo - despite all tax evasion - is still a little faithful to his homeland. The New Cypriot he often returns to Norway's capital, he still has a regular's table in the theater cafe not far from the castle and another house on the exclusive Bygdøy peninsula. His two daughters - whose physiognomy is very similar to that of Paris Hilton - will one day continue the legacy. After his wife died of cancer in 2006, the billionaire donated several million kroner to the Oslo Imperial Hospital for cancer research.

There is, however, the opposite example, the prototype of the down-to-earth billionaire from the far north: Olav Thon, owner of the largest Scandinavian hotel empire and that of the Olav Thon Group, with an estimated fortune of 2.6 billion euros. The 85-year-old impresses with his down-to-earth manner and gives the nature-loving Norwegian who likes nothing more than to go into nature, to hike through the forests and mountains. By the way, always by his side: his wife. In 2007 he received the "WORLDHOTELS Leadership Award".

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