12:17 GMT18 January 2021
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    According to Norwegian "Hotel King" Petter Stordalen, bankruptcies don't come at the beginning of crises. Therefore, a wave of bankruptcies never seen in history is to ensue in 2021, he predicted.

    Norwegian billionaire and hotel owner Petter Stordalen has argued that the world will see a historic wave of bankruptcies in 2021.

    "It has been pitch black in November, and it will be like that until you loosen up", Stordalen said during Norges Bank's Financial Day, as quoted by the online newspaper Nettavisen. "On a normal day in November, we may have a turnover of NOK 50 million [$5.55 million], while we have a turnover of NOK 10 million now [$1.1 million], Stordalen added, describing the situation as "too damn bad".

    So far, the bankruptcy figures have been low, but they will not necessarily remain so, Stordalen warned, envisaging a "wave of bankruptcies".

    "Everyone who has been around some crises knows from experience that bankruptcies don't come at the beginning of the crisis", Stordalen said. "We will not see a wave of bankruptcies on this side of the New Year, but in 2021, if nothing happens with the industry support scheme. Then we will see a wave of bankruptcies we have never seen before in history", he added.

    Stordalen also argued that in addition to furloughs and layoffs, the coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on companies.

    "The party is over, many are damn tired of working from home. They're tired of not being able to show up and meet people, and it's naive to think you can build companies through Google hangouts", Stordalen said.

    The billionaire is nevertheless optimistic about a vaccine.

    "If there is anything I have 'push notifications' on, it is vaccine news. What is happening is next to a miracle compared to what was said a few months ago", Stordalen said about vaccine production. He believes that the vaccination of vulnerable groups will start in the first quarter of next year.

    Petter Stordalen, 58, is a Norwegian billionaire, hotel and property developer and self-proclaimed environmentalist. He has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion, stemming from investments in hotels, shopping malls, and property. Through Strawberry, a corporate group made up of ten companies in real estate, finance, hotels, and art, Stordalen owns the hotel empire Nordic Choice Hotels that consists of over 200 hotels and employs 17,000 people.

    In the later stages of his career, Stordalen has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavours, mostly through his ex-wife, doctor, and environmentalist Gunhild Stordalen. In recent years, Stordalen has donated large amounts of money to various environmental charities focusing on climate change and scientific research programmes.

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    Tags:
    COVID-19, coronavirus, bankruptcy, Scandinavia, Norway
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