Investing

flag Denmark Denmark: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Denmark | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information

 

FDI in Figures

The level of FDI in Denmark is still far below the country's potential. In addition, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, FDI inflows have slowed down sharply. According to UNCTAD's 2023 World Investment Report, FDI inflows reached USD 4.5 billion in 2022, down by 4% year-on-year. In the same year, FDI stocks totalled USD 142.5 billion, around 36.5% of the country’s GDP. Demark is traditionally a net investor; nevertheless, FDI outflows reached a mere USD 3.8 billion in 2022 (compared to USD 27.3 billion one year earlier). Investments are mostly oriented towards finance and insurance, business services, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, real estate and information and communication. FDI stocks are mostly owned by Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg and the UK. FDIs to Denmark often pass through the Netherlands and Luxembourg as transit countries; however, if taking into consideration the country that ultimately controls the investments, the USA are the largest investor (around 30% of total FDIs, according to the Bank of Denmark). According to the latest figures from the OECD, in the first half of 2023, FDI inflows to Denmark totalled almost USD 3.3 billion, up from USD 2.9 billion in the same period one year earlier.

The country's strengths include a highly skilled and multilingual workforce, a flexible labour market, ultramodern infrastructure (telecommunications, transportation, etc.) and attractive tax incentives for companies. On the other end, the internal market is small and vulnerable to external shocks, and the external debt level is high. In 2021, the "Investment Screening Act" entered into force, introducing two alternative screening procedures: a sector-specific mandatory notification (for sectors related to national security and public order) and a voluntary notification for all other sectors. As of July 1, 2023, Denmark has revised its legislation. The amendment comprises two key elements for specific sensitive sectors and activities: the implementation of a two-phase process for endorsing foreign investments and an extension of the DISA's coverage to include agreements associated with the planned Danish Energy Island in the North Sea, which is a prominent infrastructure initiative led by the Danish Government aiming to establish a new island in the North Sea to serve as a central hub for upcoming wind farms and other renewable energy ventures. Companies intending to engage in contracts associated with the construction, joint ownership, or operation of the Energy Island are required to submit an application to the Danish Business Authority (DBA) and secure prior approval from the authority. Additionally, the Minister holds the authority to stipulate that all participants in tenders related to these contracts must also seek approval from the DBA.
Overall, the Danish business environment is well developed and the country ranks 9th among the 132 economies on the Global Innovation Index 2023 and stands at the 7th position (out of 184 countries) on the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. Moreover, Denmark was once again ranked 1st in the Corruption Perception Index.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 1,6854,6814,494
FDI Stock (million USD) 155,044142,662142,569
Number of Greenfield Investments* 113157164
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 2,1982,2314,571

Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

 

FDI STOCKS BY COUNTRY AND INDUSTRY

Main Investing Countries 2022, in %
USA 20.4
Sweden 12.9
UK 11.5
Norway 7.8
Finland 6.9
France 6.8
Denmark 5.7
Main Invested Sectors 2022, in %
Financial intermediation 40.1
Business services 15.0
Manufacturing 13.2
Trade and transport 11.2
Information and communication 6.0
Utility services 5.7

Source: Nationalbankens Statbank, Latest data available.

 
Main Foreign Companies
Microsoft IT, IBM IT, Motorola Telecom, Texaco Energy, Merck, Sharp & Dohme Pharmaceuticals, Statoil (Norway); L.M. Ericsson (Sweden); Nordea (Sweden); APV (United Kingdom); Bayer (Germany), and Q8 Oil (Kuwait).
Sources of Statistics
National Bank of Denmark
Danish Statistics

Return to top

What to consider if you invest in Denmark

Strong Points

Advantages for FDI in Denmark:

  • A skilled and multilingual workforce
  • Political stability
  • Solid public finances
  • High purchasing power
  • Well-developed and good quality infrastructure, especially in telecommunications (very high rate of numeric services utilisation) 
  • Great flexibility
  • Vitality of the banking sector
  • Variety of energy resources
  • Various economic sectors are well-positioned for exports
  • A relatively low company taxation rate (22%)
  • Expatriates can benefit from a special tax regime
Weak Points

Disdvantages for FDI in Denmark:

  • Relatively high income tax rate
  • Small domestic market
  • High household indebtedness and a high price of real estate
  • High proportion of jobs dependent on the public sector
  • Lack of labour-force in certain domains
  • An economic system that is too dependent on international economic fluctuations
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Laws and regulations implemented by the Government in recent years are orientated towards more openness and are non-discriminatory. The business climate in Denmark is regarded as one of the best worldwide, as its excellent rankings by the international evaluation institutions show. The Danish Government has concentrated its efforts on the improvement of general investment conditions and on reducing structural obstacles to market access. Significant progress has been made in privatisation, de-monopolisation and competitiveness.

According to the Danish Competition Act, companies must receive permission from the EU commission for large-scale mergers and acquisitions. Denmark applies European Union law in regards to investment, and investments coming from member-states are treated the same way as Danish investments. In the eyes of investors, Denmark has the advantage of being strategically geographically situated. It is a natural doorway to Scandinavian countries and to the Baltic region.

The Danish Government has also set up an investment promotion website for the purpose of attracting potential investors.

Return to top

Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Denmark
Denmark has concluded Bilateral investment agreements with more than 50 countries. The list can be consulted on UNCTAD's website.
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
For information on major disputes over investment in Denmark, please consult UNCTAD's Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International Court of Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce
ICSID , International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Yes
 
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Denmark OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 7.0 6.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 5.0 5.3 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 8.0 7.3 9.0 5.0

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

Return to top

Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Foreigners and Danish nationals enjoy the same treatment, as there are no restrictions to foreign investmentes (except in some specific sensitive sectors).
Acquisition of Holdings

A majority holding interest in the capital of a local company is authorized. However, restrictions on FDI exist in the following sectors:

  • Aviation (products must mainly come from companies based in the EU)
  • Defence industry (IDE must be approved by the Ministery of Justice)
  • Hydrocarbons exploration (Danish State should own at least 20% of the capital)
  • Marine transport (there is a limit for the FDI coming from outside of the EU)
  • Real estate (special conditions for FDI coming from outside of the EU)
  • Financial market (need to have a subsidiary on Danish soil).
Obligation to Declare
No FDI screening is in place in Denmark, and investors do not require any previous authorization.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Invest in Denmark (for information)
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Specific authorization may be required in some sensitive sectors (such as defense, aviation, hydrocarbon, etc.).

Return to top

Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
Companies can temporarily rent a fully equipped office on various online sites: Coworker, InstantOffices, etc.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
A foreign or domestic private entity may freely establish, own, and dispose of a business enterprise in Denmark.
Risk of Expropriation
Private property is only expropriated for public purposes, in a non-discriminatory matter, with reasonable compensation, and in accordance with established principles of international law.

Return to top

Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
The Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its investment promotion agency Invest in Denmark, provides a comprehensive overview of these investment incentives.
Privileged Domains
Both the Danish Government and the EU provide a number of industrial incentives. Foreign and domestic investors in certain regional development areas may enjoy grants and have access to preferential financing.
Privileged Geographical Zones
The Danish government is trying to attract investments in the technology and knowledge-intensive sectors, as well as in the cleantech industry.
Free-trade zones
The only free port in Denmark is the Copenhagen Free Port, which is operated by the Port of Copenhagen. The Port of Copenhagen and the Port of Malmo (Sweden) merged their commercial operations, including the free port activities, in a joint company named CMP.
Investments in Greenland may be eligible for incentives.
 
 

Return to top

Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Online sales and traditional retail (textile, cosmetics, consumer goods), oil exploitation (North Sea, Greenland), sea transport, agriculture, information and communication technologies, pharmaceutical industry, renewable energy, catering, real estate, R&D, food-processing industry.
High Potential Sectors
Ecological building, medical technologies and life science, hydrocarbons' extraction machines, tourism, beverage industry, environmental technologies, design.
Privatization Programmes
There is no ongoing privatisation program at the moment.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Licitationen , Tenders & Projects from Denmark
Globaltenders , Tenders & Projects from Denmark
Tenders Info , Tenders in Denmark
DgMarket , Tenders Worldwide

Return to top

Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors

In application of the European Union regulations, Denmark does not make any difference between foreign and national investors.

Restrictions on FDI exist in the following sectors:

  • Aviation (products must mainly come from companies based in the EU)
  • Defence industry (IDE must be approved by the Ministery of Justice)
  • Hydrocarbons exploration (Danish State should own at least 20% of the capital)
  • Marine transport (there is a limit for the FDI coming from outside of the EU)
  • Real estate (special conditions for FDI coming from outside of the EU)
  • Financial market (need to have a subsidiary on Danish soil).

Return to top

Finding Assistance For Further Information

Investment Aid Agency
Invest in Denmark (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark)
Federation of Danish Investment Associations
Other Useful Resources
Danish Statistics
Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs
Your Danish Life (The Expat Magazine)
Doing Business Guides
Doing Business - Denmark (World Bank)
Mazars' Business Guide for Denmark
 
 
 
 

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: July 2024