Odlo is stepping up its investments in Norway with the opening of a full-fledged sales subsidiary, along with a mono-brand store due to open in the center of Oslo next month. The Swiss-based company specializing in underwear and base layers has hired Terje Andersen, Norwegian country manager at Polar, to head up Odlo's own Norwegian office and to supervise its activities in Scandinavia and Russia, from the start of next year.

Odlo has many connections with Norway, since it was established by a Norwegian entrepreneur, Odd Roar Lofterød, who then migrated to Switzerland. Last year Herkules Capital, a Norwegian private equity company, became Odlo's largest shareholder, but Lofterød's son said he intended to reinvest in the company.

Odlo had its own operations in Norway until a few years ago, when it still had a group structure encompassing the Kjus and Bjørn Dæhlie brands. However, these two brands were later spun off.

In the last years, Odlo has been sold in Norway through an exclusive distribution deal with Sport 1, one of the country's largest buying groups. Apart from Andersen, Odlo is recruiting two salespeople to start working the Norwegian market before this agreement with Sport 1 comes to an end next summer.

In all the other countries that are part of Odlo's Nordic unit, the brand is sold by distributors: International Sportswear Company in Sweden; Ditlev Sport in Denmark; Micky Björnholm in Finland; and Zao Brand House in Russia. Sales in the Nordic countries were previously supervised by Per Dybwad, another Norwegian based in Switzerland, who will become director of special projects.