Norway: Oslo Stock Exchange Companies drop Norwegian

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Sep 20 13:02:08 UTC 2006

Companies drop Norwegian

Increasing numbers of companies listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange are
releasing earnings reports and other public information only in English,
even companies that are largely owned by Norwegians. Sylfest Lomheim,
director of the Norwegian Language Council (Sprkrdet)  suggests using
English only when necessary. "It's not just a matter of costs, it's all
the extra work involved," the information director at industrial concern
Aker, Geir Arne Drangeid, told newspaper Dagens Nringsliv. "It's a wise
approach, if you ask me."

Only the holding company for Aker and Aker Seafoods, controlled by
Norwegian tycoon Kjell Inge Rkke, still release information in the
Norwegian language. All the other companies in the Aker sphere --
including Aker Drilling, Aker Kvrner, Aker Yards and Aker American
Shipping -- stick strictly to English. Fully 96 percent of the stock in
Norwegian farm equipment firm Kverneland is held by Norwegians, but the
company has decided to issue all its Stock Exchange notices only in
English. "I assume that our shareholders manage to read number in
English," said chief executive Ingvald Lyning. The company's printed
annual reports and press releases, however, will continue to be offered in

Of the 26 largest and most heavily traded shares on the Oslo exchange, 14
have dropped reports in Norwegian. All told, around 40 percent of
companies traded in Oslo stick to English or Swedish. New exchange rules
that took effect at the beginning of the year gave listed companies a
choice of using Norwegian, English or both when informing the market of
important developments. Norwegian can also be swapped with Swedish or
Danish. The switch to English concerns some champions of the Norwegian
language, not least the Norwegian Language Council (Sprkrdet) a government
advisory body.

"A lot is happening now, and it's happening fast," council director
Sylfest Lomheim told Dagens Nringsliv, referring to the anglification of
Norwegian. "We have no power over business, which should be free and
independent. But a socially conscious Norwegian business world should have
a language policy." Lomheim himself subscribes to a simple motto: "Use
English when you must, Norwegian when you can."


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list