EU and competition in Norway
With 'a high level of professional integrity' and 'a solid impression of knowledge and reliability', Arntzen de Besche covers the full spectrum of competition and antitrust issues with notable expertise in the transport, finance, life sciences, oil and gas, and defence sectors. Stein Ove Solberg and Espen I Bakken, who has 'exceptional communication skills and knows the law at a national and European level', jointly lead the group; Solberg focuses on merger control work and Bakken assists with general competition issues, state aid work and public procurements. Clients also praise senior lawyer Vilde Hannevik Lien. Recent mandates include advising Widerøe's Flyveselskap on issues relating to abuse of dominance, assisting Nordstjernan with a merger filing, and acting for Nortura in a dispute relating to the legality of a restrictive clause in an agreement between Nortura and Finnmark Rein. Svein Terje Tveit made partner in 2019. Thea Susanne Skaug moved to an in-house position with DNB Bank.
BAHR' 'responsive, proactive and extremely capable' department has 'better knowledge than a lot of firms in the market' in the merger control space; it also handles competition damage claims, cartel investigations, state aid work and public procurements. In a recent highlight, the group assisted DNB Bank with several merger control matters including issues relating to DNB's subsidiaries in the Baltic states. Other work includes acting for Color Line in litigation arising from alleged breaches of EEA articles 53 and 54 regarding a harbour agreement with the port of Strömstad in Sweden, and advising Cargotec on the competition elements of the acquisition by its subsidiary of MacGregor of TTS Group. Helge Stemshaug heads up the group, which also fields Beret Sundet and senior associate Henrik Nordling, who 'are a great team and work very smoothly together', and senior economist Harald Selte.
Clients praise Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig's 'solution-oriented and to-the-point' team, which 'combines strong professionalism with friendliness and an ability to find good solutions'. Department head and expert in abuse of dominance work and cartel investigations Jan Magne Langseth is 'creative and looks at things from different angles to find the best possible solution', public procurement specialist Anders Thue is 'a valuable sparring partner with an excellent business mindset', Karin Fløistad has 'great knowledge' and Mona Søyland is 'one of the most experienced Norwegian lawyers in competition law'. Christian Bjørtuft Ellingsen is a key name for public procurement issues in the shipping and offshore sectors, and Tor Stokke regularly handles technology procurements. The group recently represented Fosenlinjen in a dispute against AtB seeking damages for lost profits following AtB's procurement of ferry services, handled the competition aspects of Telia's acquisition of TDC and Gets' activities in Norway, and advised St1 Group on its acquisition of Statoil Fuel & Retail Marine.
Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS fields 'a very strong legal team, which excels in understanding clients' business goals and legal goals' and has 'solid knowledge of the industry's dynamics and challenges'. The department handles the full scope of competition issues including merger control work, competition litigation, investigations and cartel cases, state aid issues and public procurement matters. The practice recently acted for Höegh Autoliners Shipping in investigations into the car carrier industry by several international competition authorities, represented Telenor in the EFTA Surveillance Authority's (ESA) investigation into alleged breaches of EEA competition rules, and handled the competition and antitrust aspects of Kongsberg Gruppen's acquisition of Rolls Royce Marine. Siri Teigum and Eivind J Vesterkjær jointly lead the practice; Teigum is 'probably the best EU and competition lawyer in Norway' and 'her name and recognition give credibility to a position', and Vesterkjær is 'to the point and always willing to give clear answers'. Clients also praise managing associate Svein Terje Tveit, who is 'technically strong but also pragmatic and creative if needed'.
Wiersholm 'has unique expertise in the field' and 'always takes a business approach to legal issues' under the leadership of Håkon Cosma Størdal for competition and antitrust work and managing partner Morten Goller for public procurement mandates. The firm's practice comprises four areas: M&A work, antitrust, public procurement issues and state aid, and EU and EEA law. Recent highlights include assisting Widerøe's Flyveselskap with an antitrust investigation and abuse of dominance issues relating to its refusal to supply a competitor with equipment, acting for Sector Alarm on the competition aspects of its proposed acquisition of Prevent 360, and advising Hurtigruten on the public procurement and state aid elements of its successful tender for a new coastal agreement. Vipps, Coop Norge and Telenor are also clients. Stephan L Jervell is 'a very experienced lawyer with a key understanding of his clients' commercial and competitive position in the market', and Thomas G Naalsund is a key name for EU and EEA law, state aid matters and public procurement work.
Kvale Advokatfirma DA's 'highly competent' sector-focused team excels in merger clearance work and has substantial knowledge of the TMT, energy, food, life sciences and healthcare industries with a client roster including Bunker Oil, Tine and Broadnet. In a recent highlight, group head Kristin Hjelmaas Valla advised Telia Norge on the competition elements of two separate merger filings; she receives praise for her 'efficiency, responsiveness and communication skills'. Henrik Svane recently acted for Orkla on two merger notifications and clearances and advised Beiersdorf on the competition aspects of the reorganisation of its Norwegian business, and senior lawyer Marit Aaberg, who is a state aid and public procurement expert, assisted Oslo Vognselskap with various public procurement and conflict of interest issues.
The 'high-quality' group at Advokatfirmaet Selmer AS is 'always ready to help with key knowledge about its clients and the industries in which they operate', particularly those in the retail sector where the practice counts Orkla and Optimera as key clients. Team head Ole-Andreas Torgersen, who is 'consistently available at short notice', handles general competition and public procurement mandates; he recently defended Daimler in compensation claims arising from alleged overcharges, assisted KB Gruppen Kongsvinger with the competition aspects of its establishment of a joint venture with Ølen Betong Gruppen, and advised Fjord1 on various tender processes relating to the operation of two ferry connections. Clients also praise senior lawyer Karen Anne Rekkedal, who is 'very thorough, structured and to the point and has control over the details'.
Wikborg Rein substantially benefitted from the recruitment of Mads Magnussen in 2018 from his position as a District Court judge; he now leads the firm's practice and is described by clients as 'a brilliant, knowledgeable and service-minded lawyer'. The department also includes several highly regarded specialist counsels including deputy head Eivind Stage, Hanne Camilla Zimmer, who joined the group in 2017 from Advokatfirmaet Hjort and focuses on state aid and general EU law issues, and public procurement specialist Alf Amund Gulsvik, who is 'highly knowledgeable and provides great general counselling'. Recent highlights include acting for NorgesGruppen in an investigation by the Norwegian Competition Authority following a dawn raid relating to alleged anti-competitive behaviour, advising Transocean on the competition aspects of its acquisition of Songa Offshore, and assisting FSN Capital Partners with its acquisition of Saferoad Holding. Former practice head Jonn Ola Sørensen is now a judge.
With substantial public procurement expertise, Bull & Co Advokatfirma AS recently advised Skagerak Nett on the procurement processes related to the launch of a research and development project, assisted Nor Tekstil with the procurement procedure for the provision of textile and laundry services to all state-owned hospitals, and provided Romerike avfallsforedling with procurement and bankruptcy advice relating to two refuse collection companies. Abilia, Broadnet and Posten Norge are also clients. Life sciences sector specialist and department head Kirti Mahajan Thomassen and Andreas Wahl are key names in the group.
Kjetil Haare Johansen heads the competition group at DLA Piper and Robert Myhre leads the public procurement practice; Johansen advised the Norwegian Seafood Council on various state aid issues and an EU and EEA complaint before the ESA, and Myhre assisted the municipality of Flora with issues surrounding the tenders for a construction contract for residential homes for the elderly. Kjell-André Honerud is also recommended for public procurement mandates with particular expertise in PPP projects; he regularly acts for Norwegian municipalities. Other clients include Linas Matkasse, Pharmaq and Nordic Shelter.
Advokatfirmaet Grette AS receives praise for its 'technically sound but also business-oriented and pragmatic approach' and department head Odd Stemsrud is singled out as 'always accessible with an impressive knowledge of the law coupled with strategic nous'. Stemsrud's recent work includes representing Höegh Autoliners Holdings in a global cartel case relating to the pure car and truck carrier industry, and acting for alpine skier Henrik Kristoffersen in a case against the Norwegian Ski Federation relating to athletes' rights to enter into sponsorship agreements. Marie Braadland heads the public procurement group.
Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS combines strength across competition law, state aid and public procurement issues to assist clients including Avinor, Sporveien Oslo and AtB. Goud Helge Homme Fjellheim heads the firm's public procurement group and associate partner Simen Klevstrand leads the competition law team; other key individuals include Bjørg Ven, who focuses on public procurement issues, and senior lawyer Gaute Bergstrøm, who is experienced in state aid work. The department recently represented Posten Norge in a cross-border damages claim arising out of the European Commission's trucks cartel settlement decision, and defended Avinor in a dispute arising from a public tender for airport bus transfer work involving rights to exclusion and alleged abuse of dominance issues. Associate partner Anne Hesjedal Sending joined from a position at the Attorney General's office, and Silje Grimseth Ullebust joined Advokatfirmaet Hjort in 2018.
With 'good communication skills' and 'an ability to quickly find a solution', Advokatfirmaet Hjort covers the full spectrum of competition issues with notable expertise in dominance-related issues, competition litigation, public procurement and state aid issues. Department head Monica Syrdal regularly assists clients in the media and communications sectors; Telenor and Kabel Norge are examples. The team also recently assisted Avinor with issues relating to awarding contracts and represented Nordea Bank in proceedings brought by the ESA for suspected breaches of competition law. Other key practitioners include Kristin Veierød, Heddy Ludvigsen and new arrival Silje Grimseth Ullebust, who joined from Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS in 2018.
Noted for its public procurement strength, Kluge Advokatfirma AS's team has 'strong competencies and excellent skills' and is led by Gro Amdal and Arne Torsten Andersen, who head the public procurement and competition teams respectively. Clients also single out managing partner Bjørnar Alterskjær due to his 'in-depth knowledge of state aid law, which makes him an obvious choice in the market'; Robert Lund and Torstein Arendt are also names to note. The department recently assisted Sykehusbygg with the procurement issues relating to a new-build hospital project and represented Bane Nor in a claim brought by Skanska following the awarding of contracts for the Follo Line Project.
SANDS' 'very professional' team has 'expansive knowledge and in-depth experience at a Norwegian and international level'. Merger control expert Thomas Sando leads the practice and clients praise his 'high levels of commercial awareness'; he recently advised chocolate producer Hval Sjokoladefabrikk on a complaint to the ESA relating to the Norwegian sugar and chocolate levy, alleging it constitutes unlawful state aid. Aksel Joachim Hageler and Bergen-based Åshild Fløisand are also names to note; Hageler represented Fjord Line in a dispute over port access and the allocation of sailing slots, and Fløisand focuses on public procurement work.
At Advokatfirmaet Schjødt AS, Olav Kolstad heads the group, which also includes litigator Thomas Nordby. The department is experienced in merger control issues and also handles contentious antitrust issues for international clients operating in Norway and Norwegian companies operating internationally. Inger Roll-Matthiesen joined Berngaard/Sandbek in 2018.