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Norway

Paul Hastings in collaboration withBAHR
Liquidity Measures
Tax Relief

Liquidity Measures

COVID-19 state guarantee scheme

Government Measure

Eligible companies may apply for state guaranteed loans, instalment loans and overdrafts with a value up to the lesser of NOK 50M (SMEs) or NOK 150m (non-SMEs), or two times the borrower’s labour costs or 25 per cent of its turnover from 20191.

May receive multiple loans and from different lenders, but the maximum threshold applies on an aggregate basis.

Norwegian Government guarantees 90 per cent of the loans on a pro rata basis.

Loans with maturity up to three years.

Guarantees are granted by the lenders and controlled by the administrator (the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency/GIEK) if the guarantee is utilised.

Purpose of the loans is limited to operational expenses and investments, the latter only to the extent necessary to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Loans to be on market terms.

1Exception from the latter if required to meet the company’s liquidity requirements over the next 12 (non-SME) or 18 (SME) months, subject to the MNOK 50/150 limit.

 
Eligibility

Norwegian registered companies and foreign companies conducting business in Norway subject to registration in the Norwegian Companies Registry (regulation depending on whether or not the company is an SME)

  • Must have operations in Norway.
  • Cannot have been in financial difficulties prior to 31 December 2019.
  • The company must suffer from a sudden liquidity shortfall, which is directly or indirectly linked to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The company must be deemed profitable under normal circumstances (which will be assessed non-contested by the lenders)
 
Supervising Authority

The Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GIEK) administers the guarantee scheme on behalf of the Government.

Financing made available through accredited lenders.

Applications to be made directly to the accredited lender.

 
Availability

From 27 March 2020 (SMEs) and 3 April 2020 (non-SMEs)

State bond fund

Government Measure

The Government Pension Fund Norway (Folketrygdfondet) may buy debt securities from eligible issuers.

Investments must be made in accordance with the EU market economy investor principle.

Investments exceeding 50 per cent of a bond issue in the primary market, and 70 per cent of the outstanding issue in the secondary market, can only be made to the extent Folketrygdfondet can verify that the investment is on market terms.

The board of Folketrygfondet may implement further guidelines and restrictions.

 
Eligibility

Companies must:

  • Be headquartered in Norway.
  • Have a rating of at least CCC+ when the bonds are issued (i.e. the fund may hold bonds issued by companies which are later downgraded)
  • Minimum 50 per cent of investments must be made in bonds issued by companies rated to BB+ or better (S&P or similar)
  • Companies that are not rated by S&P, Fitch or Moody’s must be rated internally by Folketrygdfondet.
  • Bonds must be denominated in NOK, SEK, DKK, EUR, GBP or USD.
  • 50-100 per cent of the fund’s capital shall be invested in non-financial institutions bonds and 0-50 per cent in financial institutions bonds.
  • Maximum exposure towards one single issuer is 5 per cent of the Fund’s capital (i.e. NOK 2,5b)
 
Supervising Authority

Internal control and risk management measures to be carried out by Folketrygdfondet.  

 
Availability

From 27 March 2020.

Cash benefit scheme

Government Measure

Eligible companies will be granted amounts up to NOK 30m per month (corporate groups may receive more) to cover inevitable expenses, such as electricity, house rent, etc.

Must have experienced a turnover decrease of at least 30 per cent per month (20 per cent for March) compared to 20192.

The compensation will be adjusted pursuant to the following formula: turnover decrease (in %) * (fixed expenses minus co-payment3) * adjustment factor4.

Government will not grant amounts below NOK 5,000 per month.

2 If the company was not in business in 2019, the basis will be the average turnover of January and February 2020.

3 0 for companies with forced shut-down, NOK 10k per month for other companies.

4 0.9 for companies with forced shut-down and 0.8 for other companies.

 
Eligibility

Companies in all sectors, save for financial institutions, companies within production, transfer and distribution of electricity and water supply, companies within foreign shipping and transport of goods, oil and gas production companies, private kindergartens, aviation companies (as they are under a separate support scheme), or companies without employees, non-active companies and companies subject to insolvency procedures.

Businesses that have been forced to shut down receive a higher compensation than other businesses.

Application made through online platform to the Norwegian Tax Administration.

 
Supervising Authority

The Norwegian Tax Administration

 
Availability

18 April 2020

Financial aid for aviation companies

Government Measure

State guarantees of 90% on a pro rata basis for loans in a total amount of NOK 6 bn. is allocated to aviation companies with operational licence in Norway, as follows: NOK 3 bn. to Norwegian Air Shuttle, NOK 1,5 bn. to SAS and NOK 1,5 b to Widerøe and other aviation companies.

Availability of the state guarantees is subject to the aviation companies meeting certain criteria, such as a minimum equity requirement of 8% which means that Norwegian Air Shuttle must restructure its current debts in order to become eligible for the guarantees.

 
Eligibility

Norwegian aviation companies, subject to the allocated amounts.

 
Supervising Authority

The Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GIEK) administers the guarantee scheme on behalf of the Government.

 
Availability

31 March 2020

Tax Reliefs

Tax incentives

Government Measure

Payment deferral of corporate tax, self-employed tax, social security tax, wealth tax, special tax for the finance sector, VAT, aviation duties and certain other special duties.

Temporary cancellation of certain duties.

Temporary reduction of the special VAT rate for the accommodation and transport sector (from 12 to 6 per cent).

Temporary reduction of social charges paid by the employer (reduction of 4 percentage points).

Temporary set off possibilities for corporate losses booked in 2020 to cover such taxes.

Temporary depreciation rules for certain investments (industry and shipping).

 
Eligibility

All businesses subject to such taxes in Norway.

Automatic offer with no applications required.

 
Supervising Authority

The Norwegian Tax Administration

 
Availability

Deferral period runs from 15 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, as applicable due to the fixed deadlines for each tax payment.