Sales Representative in Norway

Overview by

Commercial Intermediaries

Trading Companies
  • Type of Organization
It is important to note that Norway is a major importer of consumer goods; in fact, one out of every two products is brought in from abroad. In the food sector, importers would be well advised to contact the four main retail chains such as Norges Gruppen AS, ICA and Reitan Gruppen AS. Importing such products usually happens through wholesalers which are controlled by chain stores. Norwegian retailers also call on these wholesalers in order to replenish their stocks. Bigger retailers place their orders directly with foreign manufacturers. A certain number of partnership agreements have been signed with some foreign companies. Still, the typical Norwegian trading company operates mainly in the domestic market.
  • Main Actors
Reitan Gruppen AS, NorgesGruppen and ICA are the main actors.
  • Type of Organization
Most major distributors and importers are headquartered in the Oslo region, but may have sub-agents in other areas.
  • Main Actors
Reitan Gruppen, NorgesGruppen, Coop, Bertel O. Steen
Useful Resources
Kvasir - Business Search Engine (in Norwegian)
Association of Machinery Wholesalers

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
The most common ways to operate in the Norwegian market is either through agents or distributors. The use of a commercial agent is recommended and may be a practical necessity. Having a good local business partner is a great asset because local representatives are useful in understanding Norwegian cultural, technical and legal conditions. They are also useful in introducing the product or the service to a wider network of customers and providing support and after-sales service if necessary. The legal status of commercial agents is the same as in European Union. The initial and fixed costs of entering the market are low compared to setting up a commercial unit.
Where to Be Vigilant
You should choose the agent carefully. An unsatisfactory partner can have a negative impact to one's business far into the future. The agent should be chosen for his motivation to represent the company, the quality of his customer network and his or her expertise. The agent should have enough resources for successful representation. It's important not to become to dependent of the agent. Company should ensure good back-up and supervision. When entering into an agreement governed by Norwegian law, it's wise for a foreign company to obtain professional legal assistance. Additional information can be obtained by contacting The Federation of Norwegian Commercial Agents.
Elements of Motivation
The prospect of doing more business together in the future in case of meeting certain conditions.
The Average Amount of Commission
The parties are free to determine the size of commission in their individual agreements. If the parties have not agreed on the level of remuneration, the agent is entitled to the commission that is customary for the goods in question in the region where the commercial agent is operating.
Breach of Contract
If the commercial agent fails to fulfill his obligations, the counterpart is entitled to claim compensation for any resulting losses. This shall not apply if the commercial agent can prove that failure is not due to error or negligence. The Act on Commercial Agents and Commercial Travellers (Agency Act) can be found here.
Finding a Commercial Agent
Federation of Norwegian Commercial Agents
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in Norway on

Setting Up a Commercial Unit

The Advantages
The process of establishing a Norwegian company is relatively simple and generally free of restrictions: There are only a few formal requirements and costs are low. It is an advisable option, if one is interested in having a long-term presence in the Norwegian market. You have direct access to your customers, who often favor doing business directly with the counterpart. Knowledge of the business also stays in the company. 
Where to Be Vigilant
Norwegian employment legislation encompasses a wide variety of issues, and is perhaps more strict than in many other European countries.
Different Possible Forms of Settlement
  • A Representative Office
Finding a local representative with close established contacts with the public authorities and established customers is one important key to success.
  • A Branch Office
Branch of a foreign company (filial av utenlandsk selskap) is treated as a corporation and is subject to the same privileges and responsibilities. This means that a branch can conduct full business transactions and carry out any activity included in objectives of the main company. It is easier and less expensive to establish and close down than a subsidiary but does not form a separate legal entity making the parents fully liable for all of its obligations. Branches have to be registered at the Brønnøysund Register Centre. Requirements for bookkeeping, etc, are the same as those for Norwegian companies. Branches are also required to have an annual audit of their accounts if the prior year's turnover exceeded NOK 5 million. The Audit should be done by a State Authorized Public Accountant or a Registered Auditor. There is no equity investment requirement or requirements for a separate board of directors.
  • A Company
Setting up a subsidiary may require a little more time, effort and expenses, but the procedures are straightforward. is an excellent resource for anyone interested in starting a company in Norway.

Company is formed when the shareholders sign a memorandum of association and select the auditor and the Board of Directors. The Company has to be registered with the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities at the Brønnøysund Register Centre. The founders are personally liable for obligations incurred by the company until it is registered.

Limited liability companies are required to have a Board of Directors. It is important to note that if a company has over 30 employees and does not hold a corporate assembly, the employees have the right to representation on the Board of Directors.  At least half of the members of the Board of Directors should be citizens and residents of EEA countries or be resident in Norway.


Evolution of the Sector
Franchising is increasingly popular, although public knowledge about it is still somewhat limited. Most franchising systems (about 75 %) are Norwegian, but there are several international chains (Avis, McDonald's, 7-eleven). Overall there are about 250 franchising concepts in Norway today. All franchise systems have to act in accordance with standard legislation for business enterprises and there is no special national legislation for franchising. There are no big obstacles for starting a franchising business in Norway. Biggest challenges are high overhead costs and limited size of the market. There is also very few marketplaces and information channels for people interested in franchising.
Some Big Franchises
Burger King Norge, fast food
Space World, electonic products
Tropehagen Zoo, pets
Nikita, hair style
Brandstad, clothing
For Further Information
Norway Franchise Association

Finding Assistance

Export Trading Companies
Norwegian Trade Portal
Find more on about Selling to Norway.

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