All posts by Tyler Barrott

Three Questions with BCW Oslo CEO Kristian Sarastuen


Kristian Sarastuen


During the COVID-19 crisis, BCW has held a number of insightful seminars on the art of communicating during crises, highlighting the need to truly connect to people. In today’s digital world, how can companies leverage communication to build personal connections with customers, stakeholders, and the general public?

As we emerge from this crisis, the way we communicate will forever be changed. We are seeing businesses shifting into recovery mode, which will require not just rebuilding but, in many cases, a transformation and very likely a digital one as well. At the customer level, people will fundamentally think, feel, and behave differently. We are seeing an uptake in ecommerce, increasing adoption of new technology, and a merger between physical and virtual interactions. We need to study consumer attitudes and behaviors to understand what is temporary and what will last – and how this will impact the way brands interact with them. With stakeholders, companies need to communicate their long-term visions and strategies effectively while forecasting business and societal realities in the short-term. In light of that, overall brand narrative and messaging may require calibration when it comes to engaging with the general public. At BCW, we are working closely with our clients to navigate the NOW and prepare for the NEXT. Rich insights, creativity and strategic communications will be essential to moving people and that is exactly what we do.

Through your work with the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet), BCW has built up considerable knowledge about the barriers Norway’s municipalities face when working with environmental initiatives. Given the critical importance of corporate sustainability in today’s global business environment, what can companies learn from these insights? How can they better communicate on sustainability?

Sustainability has for some time now been a top priority for boards and leadership teams. Now the analytics, investors, and financial teams are starting to get sustainability into their key assessments. I would say that companies that, within their scope, are not able to deliver on sustainability will have an uncertain future. 

In 2018, a team of experts at BCW and I read through the sustainability reports of the 100 largest companies listed on the Norwegian stock exchange. Our findings and recommendations are clear: Be honest, concrete and report on progress – or the lack of progress. Showing how sustainability has become an integrated part of the overall business strategy and clearly linked to core business is much more valuable than just a lot of words and reference to the UN SDGs. The key leadership team within the company should also be fully committed. Again, action speaks so much louder than words. For most companies and organizations, it is of vital importance to attract young talent. For the most part, these talented young individuals want to work for a company that is making a positive change. They are well trained – they can see through nice words to find proof of real action. So in short: Showcase action – and do not oversell.

Describe your dream vacation in the US. Where would you go and why?

I can clearly see myself on a remote ranch somewhere in California or Montana, maybe near the Rocky Mountains, living a calm cowboy-esque life riding in the forest, relaxing by the campfire, and fishing, while learning more about the US, its history, and its traditions.

I also really, really want to experience a space launch, hopefully witness the first liftoff with a manned journey to Mars. It will clearly be US know-how that can pull off such a great undertaking and it will define a new chapter in our history.

BCW’s COVID-19 webinars continue tommorow with the Teams live event BCW Nexus: A Modern Approach to Public Affairs – Through & Beyond COVID-19 at 15:00 CEST.

Click here for more information and registration.

Pressemelding: Norsk selskap inngår F-35 avtale

Det norske selskapet Kitron AS har inngått en avtale med Northrop Grumman om produksjon av elektronikkmoduler til F-35 kampfly. Modulene er en del av flyets svært avanserte kommunikasjon-, navigasjon- og identifiseringsavionikk. Avtalen har en verdi på mer enn 170 millioner kroner, og har leveranser ut i 2021.

– Dette er svært gledelig og viser at norsk forsvarsindustri er konkurransedyktig i et internasjonalt marked, sier forsvarsminister Frank Bakke-Jensen.

Les hele pressemelding HER.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Hans Christian Heg was an abolitionist who died trying to end slavery. What to know about the man whose statue was toppled in Madison.

MADISON – During chaos at the Wisconsin State Capitol Tuesday night, protesters tore down two statues that have stood in front of the statehouse for decades — including one memorializing a Wisconsin abolitionist who died trying to end slavery during the Civil War.  

In other cities, statues of Confederate soldiers and symbols have been destroyed by those protesting racial injustice. But in Madison, the statue of famed abolitionist Col. Hans Christian Heg was torn down and thrown into Madison’s Lake Monona late Tuesday night. It had stood in front of the Capitol since 1925.

Read entire article HERE.

Thommessen leads the Norwegian M&A league table. What is next for M&A?

Thommessen has been involved in more Norwegian M&A transactions in 2020 than any other law firm according to Mergermarket. The market remains sluggish, and in this update, we are offering our thoughts on M&A deal activity ahead, as well as the potential impact of the current environment on M&A negotiations and deal-making.

M&A in the Time of Covid-19

The outbreak of Covid-19 has weighed heavily on the level of M&A activity. Deal-making is hampered by lack of risk appetite fuelled by difficulties in valuing businesses in times of operational disruption and uncertainty of new waves and restrictions. A buyer may struggle to become comfortable with its own valuation of the target, and it may be difficult to get the seller to agree to the purchase price that eventually is proposed. Further, even if the two parties should have a meeting of minds, the buyer may run into difficulties if the transaction relies on third-party financing since a lender may have its own views and reservations on the valuation.

Read entire article HERE.

World Oil: TechnipFMC lands three subsea construction projects offshore Norway

Equinor has awarded two contracts and issued a letter of intent to TechnipFMC for pipelaying and subsea installation for three projects on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

The projects in scope are Breidablikk and the Gas Import System for the Snorre Expansion Project, for which contracts have been awarded, and Askeladd Vest, for which a letter of intent has been issued. The Breidablikk contract has subsea installation as an option.

The total value of the three assignments, including the option, is about NOK 1.8 billion.

“We are pleased to award TechnipFMC new large assignments within pipelaying and subsea installation on the NCS. Giving three assignments to the same supplier enables efficiency gains and cost savings. It will also allow for a coordinated follow-up of the total delivery during the implementation phase. This creates value for all parties”, says Peggy Krantz-Underland, Equinor’s chief procurement officer.

Read entire article HERE.

Bloomberg: Norges Bank Governor Says Force of Economic Rebound ‘Surprising’

The governor of Norway’s central bank says he’s been surprised by the strength of the economic rebound in his country, as he signals an end to crisis interest rates roughly a year earlier than expected.

“The consumption of services is rising markedly, and consumption of goods has maintained itself all along and is growing now,” Governor Oystein Olsen said in a phone interview in Oslo. “The entire picture is a bit of a positive surprise for us.”

Norges Bank kept its benchmark deposit rate at a record low of zero on Thursday, as expected, after delivering three cuts earlier in the year to steer the richest Nordic economy through the Covid-19 crisis.

Read entire article HERE.

Business Standard: Trump move to ban H-1B visa will hurt job creation, warns business chamber

Opposing the Trump administration’s “sweeping attempt” to restrict legal immigration, the Chamber of Commerce on Monday (local time) said suspending work visas to secure high-skilled jobs for Americans in a bid to revive the coronavirus-battered would not help the country and would rather only slow down growth and reduce in US markets.

“Today’s proclamation is a severe and sweeping attempt to restrict legal immigration. Putting up a ‘not welcome’ sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers won’t help our country, it will hold us back. Restrictive changes to our nation’s immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth, and reduce job creation,” US Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said in a statement.

Read entire article HERE.

Reuters: Norway must keep strict border controls to avoid new infections – PM

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway, which has some of the strictest travel restrictions in Europe, must maintain tight control of its borders to avoid importing COVID-19 cases from abroad, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Friday.

Fears of an early second wave of infections in Europe are growing as the continent lifts travel restrictions ahead of the summer holidays.

“There is still a danger of new infections … Cases of infection coming from abroad is the biggest danger today,” Solberg told parliament. “So it is important to keep control.”

Read entire article HERE.

NPR: Trump Expected To Suspend H-1B, Other Visas Until End Of Year

President Trump is expected to sign an order to suspend H-1B, L-1 and other temporary work visas through the end of the year, according to the multiple sources familiar with the plan.

The new order — which is expected to come with broad exceptions — comes as the administration continues to wrestle with high unemployment among American workers because of the coronavirus pandemic and tries to kick-start the economic recovery.

The order would target H-1B visas, which are designed for certain skilled workers such as those employed in the tech industry, as well as L-1 visas, which are meant for executives who work for large corporations.

Read entire article HERE.

Bloomberg: Norway to Rein In Wind Power After Raging Opposition From Locals

Norway is set to tighten rules for building wind turbines, caving in to massive protests from locals.

A government proposal on Friday to slow down the development of onshore wind power comes after increasing local resistance mirrors sentiment in other European countries. Norway already decided to scrap a plan for a new permission framework last year.

Norway, which has already developed a massive hydropower network, faces an increased need for clean energy for the electrification of everything from transportation to oil platforms.

Read entire article HERE.