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Securities trading

On June 29 2007, the Norwegian government adopted a new Securities Trading Act and a new Stock Exchange Act, implementing the EU's Mifid, Transparency and Takeover Directives. The new acts bring about substantial changes to prevailing law. The acts will, with the exception of certain provisions, enter into force on November 1 2007 and will replace the Securities Trading Act of June 19 1997 and the Stock Exchange Act of November 17 2000.

Investment advice and the operation of multilateral trading facilities (MTF) will be introduced as investment services and will thus be subject to investment firm licensing. Marketing of financial instruments will no longer be regarded an investment service. The obligation to obtain a licence as an investment firm will be extended to services related to more financial instruments than before, for example, commodity derivatives. This licence may be granted to Norwegian private limited companies, as well as credit institutions and Norwegian public limited companies.

The application of provisions on periodical information and disclosure of shareholdings will be limited to companies resident in Norway. The provisions on periodical information will become more comprehensive. Disclosure of shareholding will be required where a person's proportion of shares and/or rights to shares of a company reaches, exceeds or falls below 15% and 25% (in addition to the present thresholds of 5%, 10%, 20%, one-third, 50%, two-thirds and 90%).

A mandatory offer obligation will be triggered by acquisition of more than one-third of the voting rights of a Norwegian company whose shares are listed on a Norwegian regulated market, with repeated obligations upon reaching thresholds of 40% and 50%. These obligations will also apply to certain foreign companies listed on Norwegian regulated markets and Norwegian companies listed on other regulated markets within the European Economic Area.

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