John Fredriksen

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John Fredriksen
Stelios meeting1989.jpg
John Fredriksen in the center, Stelios Haji-Ioannou to the far left at a meeting in 1989.
Born (1944-05-10) 10 May 1944 (age 70)
Oslo, Norway
Residence London, United Kingdom
Nationality Cypriot
Ethnicity Norwegian
Alma mater High-school dropout
Occupation Business magnate
Known for Major ownership in companies engaged in Shipping, Offshore drilling and Seafood business
Net worth Increase US$11.3 billion (2012)[1]

John Fredriksen, (born 10 May 1944) is a Norwegian-born Cypriot oil tanker and shipping tycoon, owner of the world's largest oil tanker fleet, and was Norway's richest man until he chose to abandon his Norwegian citizenship and take up a Cypriot passport.[2] Norwegian magazine Kapital listed Fredriksen in 2013 with a net worth of NOK 69,75 billion ($11.9 billion USD).[3][4] Through his investment companies Hemen Holdings and Meisha, Fredriksen controls the companies Frontline and Golar LNG from London.

He also has major interests in the offshore driller Seadrill, the fish farming company Marine Harvest, the dry bulk company Golden Ocean Group, and supply vessel company Deep Sea Supply. Fredriksen's Frontline in 2010–11 owned 9.6% of another large tanker company Overseas Shipholding Group, but divested itself of this stake during 2011.[5]

In 2012 he was included in the 50 Most Influential list of Bloomberg Markets Magazine.


Born on Oslo's east side, Etterstad, the son of a welder, Fredriksen began as a trainee in a shipbroking company. At the age of 27 he started working for himself. Fredriksen made his fortune during the Iran-Iraq wars in the 1980s when his tankers picked up oil at great risk and huge profits. As described by his biographer, "he was the lifeline to the Ayatollah." He is now the world's largest tanker owner, with more than seventy oil tankers, and major interests in oil rigs and fish farming. His fleet is dominated by costly double-hulled, environmentally safer tankers.

Back in December 2005 rumours circulated of the Fredriksen-controlled firm Seadrill bidding for Stavanger based rig company Smedvig, and since has been in a bidding war with U.S. company Noble Corporation. But it was announced in late January 2006 that Seadrill had bought more than 50 percent of Smedvig, and therefore gained control of the company (51.24 percent of the votes and 52.27 percent of the capital). Smedvig is valued at NOK 15 billion, and is Fredriksen's biggest ever deal. Noble Corp sold its stake in Smedvig to Seadrill in April 2009. Smedvig is now fully under Seadrill's control.[6]

Fredriksen has been the majority owner of Vålerenga I.F. for many years.

Bunker investigation[edit]

In 1985 the Norwegian insurance company Gard got suspicious about losses of cargo from Fredriksen's tankers. A private investigation was initiated and a system for the use of heavy oil as bunker fuel was revealed.[7] The case was turned over to the Norwegian police and in June 1986 Fredriksen's offices in Oslo were searched and several of his nearest associates, and after a while also Fredriksen, were placed in detention while the case was investigated.[8]

After several years of arguments between the various lawyers the case was settled out of court. Fredriksen had to pay a fine of 2 million NOK[9] for risking his crew's life, and in addition had to pay the insurance company Gard an amount of over 800.000 USD.[10]


His twin daughters Cecilie and Kathrine Fredriksen were named two of the world's most promising female heiresses by Forbes Magazine[11] in 2009. He collects classic Norwegian art, and reportedly turned down an offer of $200m (£180m) from Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich for his Chelsea home. He also owns houses in Oslo, Cyprus, and Marbella. In 2006, Fredriksen chose to abandon his Norwegian citizenship and is now a citizen of Cyprus.

The Sunday Times Rich List has ranked Fredriksen's wealth as £475m (2003), £1.050b (2004) and £1.887b (2005). In 2012, Fredriksen and his family were listed as the 9th richest in Britain with a combined wealth of £6.6bn.[12]

James Winchester, a veteran shipping analyst at Lazard Frères has said of him, "He's a modern-day Onassis. The tanker king. He landed squarely in the sweet spot of the tanker cycle, with the largest fleet of ships." In 2001 an article on described him as having "a tanker fleet bigger than anything Aristotle Onassis ever had."


Frederiksen is a widower and father of Cecilie and Kathrine Fredriksen.


  1. ^ Forbes |url= missing title (help). 
  2. ^ De Lange, Grete. Norway's richest man no longer (Aftenposten. 11 May 2006)
  3. ^ "Kapital 400". Retrieved 3 May. 
  4. ^ Forbes |url= missing title (help). 
  5. ^ Bjørn Haugan, Johann D. Sundberg, Lars Magne Sunnanå: Flytter for døtrene ( E24. 11 May 2006) [1]
  6. ^ Nina Berglund Smedvig now fully under Fredriksen's control Aftenposten; 3 April 2006
  7. ^ «For Oslo-advokatene ble Gisvolds reise slutten på den hemmelige etterforskningen. Man hadde nok, og dessuten var det nå bare et tidsspørsmål før Fredriksen fikk kjennskap til granskningen. Følgelig torde man ikke holde på lenger. Juristene anbefalte Gard å gå til politiet med sine mistanker.», fra Storeulv, side 106
  8. ^ «Samme morgen ble de seks arresterte fremstilt for Oslo forhørsrett. Siktelsen var grove oljetyverier og forsikringssvindel for cirka en million kroner.», fra Storeulv, side 125
  9. ^ «John Fredriksen måtte i 1990 godta en bot på to millioner kroner for å ha satt mannskapenes liv i fare ved å bruke olje fra lasten som drivstoff.», fra Storeulv, side 168
  10. ^ «Fredriksen aksepterte å betale Gard 800,000-dollar, pluss halvparten av den Marine Management-konto de hadde tatt beslag i.», fra Storeulv, side 160
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Sunday Times Rich List shows UK's wealthiest defy recession". BBC News Online. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 


  • Hauge, Odd Harald and Gunnar Stavrum. Storeulv, en uautorisert biografi om John Fredriksen. Oslo: Gyldendal, 2005. ISBN 978-82-05-35346-6. Print.

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