Christian Ringnes, Eiendomsspar AS/Victoria Eiendom AS

Christian Ringnes

Saving Property

Editors’ Note

Christian Ringnes has served in his current post since 1984. He serves as the Chairman of Oslo Flaggfabrikk, as well as of Dermanor AS. He has also served as the Chairman of Pandox AB since 2004. He has been a Director of Schibsted ASA since May 2005. Ringnes earned an M.B.A. from École des Hautes Études Commerciales, University of Lausanne in 1978 and an M.B.A from Harvard Business School in 1981. As a hobby, Ringnes has compiled the world’s largest collection of miniature bottles, and on the basis of this collection, he founded “The Mini Bottle Gallery” in Oslo in 2003.

Company Brief

Eiendomsspar AS (eiendomsspar.no) is a Norway-based real estate company engaged in the acquisition, ownership, and development of primarily office, retail, and hotel real estate in Oslo and in other parts of Northern Europe. The company’s real estate portfolio consists of hotels, restaurants, offices, shops, warehouses, apartments, and parking lots.

How have you achieved all you have at such a young age?

At 59, I’ve had some time to accomplish what I have. I was lucky: Oil was found in Norway. I have been in the real estate industry since I left Harvard Business School in the early ’80s, and it has been a very good place to be.

So I have wanted to give something back to society. I’m trying to do that now, to the great pleasure of my children.

Which is your main company?

Eiendomsspar, which means saving property, and this is exactly what we do. We have the ownership of 128 hotels spread in Northern Europe and that means there are almost 25,000 guests every night that come to support us a little bit.

So most of the income is from hotels?

About half. The rest is in office buildings, shops, etc.

What are you going to do next?

I’m going to finish the sculpture park. It’s a $70-million project and includes art from around the world from top-class names. Some of it is classic and old, and some has been commissioned just for the park (ekebergparken.com). This is a new attraction in Oslo.

At the restaurant you own in Oslo, you have sculptures around the entrance, including a Rodin.

Absolutely, and a Dali. We have 32 world-renowned fine artists and some Norwegians who are very popular here.

Do you choose the sculptures yourself?

No. They’re selected by an art committee, which is composed of artists, representatives from the Art Department of the City of Oslo, and by my foundation.

What investment would you recommend to someone interested in Norway?

The oil business is strong and not nearing an end at all – there is a lot of exploration going on at deeper sea levels, so the oil service industry is doing well. We have a lot of American companies here already doing exploration, service, drilling – everything.

Every dollar that is earned onshore becomes $100 offshore. But you can basically be in almost anything as long as you have the expertise.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you during this gathering of wealth and success?

I have become the world’s largest collector of miniature bottles. So I have a 25,000-square-foot museum in Oslo, filled with miniature bottles in different installations. I have about 53,500 different bottles.•