Kjell Inge Røkke, the industrialist who grew up in Molde and made his initial fortune fishing off the west coast of North America, emerged this year as the wealthiest person in Norway based on his taxable fortune. Several heiresses also made it into the top 10, edging out the grocery store magnates and shipowners who dominated in earlier years.
Røkke’s taxable net worth was listed at NOK 10,093,920,690 (USD 1.2 billion), with no taxable income. The numbers point up how the tax figures aren’t entirely realistic, since they don’t reflect market values and both net worth and income can be written down dramatically by debt and other deductions. They are, however, used as a common benchmark in Norway, and Røkke also ranked as paying among the highest amounts of tax in Norway, at NOK 101 million, even with no taxable income, because of Norway’s much-debated formueskatt (fortune tax).
Røkke was followed on the tax lists released publicly on Friday by two barely 20-year-old sisters who have inherited a fortune rooted in the Tiedemanns tobacco business that was owned by earlier generations of their family. Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen and Katharina Gamlemshaug Andresen were listed with nearly identical taxable fortunes of NOK 5.8 billion but little if any income. They also paid nearly identical amounts of tax: NOK 58 million each. Their father, 54-year-old Johan Henrik Andresen, built up the tobacco fortune through real estate and various other investments and his industrial and financial firm Ferd, and he ranks ninth on the list of Norwegians with the largest taxable fortunes. His was set at NOK 2.8 billion and he paid NOK 30.2 million in tax on a combination of his taxable fortune and his taxable income of NOK 6.2 million.
Industrialist and philanthropist Trond Mohn and his son Frederik Wilhelm Mohn ranked fourth and fifth in terms of taxable fortunes of around NOK 5.6 billion each, followed by Svein Støle, a former journalist who went into finance and investment banking. Støle leads and is largest owner of the Oslo-based brokerage and finance firm Pareto, and was listed with zero taxable income but a fortune of NOK 5.35 billion taxes of NOK 54.2 million.
Shipping heiress and real estate investor Rannfrid Rasmussen, age 80, placed seventh on the list, with a fortune of just over NOK 2.9 billion, closely followed by Margareth Boel Garman with about the same.
They were followed by another shipping heir and shipowner, Leif Ovesøn Høegh, in the 10th spot and then the list began featuring a string of the shipping and grocery store owners who traditionally have been listed as Norway’s wealthiest. In order of wealth they included Odd Reitan of Trondheim who founded the REMA 1000 grocery chain, shipwner Dag Rasmussen of Kristiansand, Johan Johannson of Oslo whose family controls the huge NorgesGruppen grocery retail and wholesale firm that dominates the grocery business in Norway, Reitan’s sons Magnus and Ole Robert Reitan, shipwners and shipping heirs Thomas Wilhelmsen and Knut Nikolai Tønnevold Ugland, and in the 18th and 19th spots, the brothers controlling a large chain of clothing stores, Joakim and Stein Marius Varner.
Olav Thon, the 92-year-old real estate and hotel magnate who figured in the top 10 of Norway’s wealthiest for years, slipped to 20th place this year after turning over much of his fortune to a foundation. He still paid NOK 15.3 million in tax, though, on a taxable fortune of NOK 1.53 billion. Others who formerly figured high on the list, like retailer and industrialist Stein Erik Hagen, have moved their fortunes abroad for tax purposes.
Many media organizations in Norway are publishing the tax lists released on Friday, ranked in terms of tax paid, taxable fortunes and income. To see NRK’s compilation of taxpayers with the biggest fortunes, for example, click here (external link, in Norwegian, but the tax list can be found by scrolling down.)