The grass isn’t always greener in the Battery, according to Belships chief executive Lars Christian Skarsgard.

The head of the Oslo-listed bulker owner came to the defence of the Oslo Stock Exchange during a Marine Money event on Thursday.

He argued a New York listing is not indicative of higher pricing amid a flight of shipowning stocks from the Norwegian capital to Wall Street.

“Come to Oslo,” Skarsgard said during a panel at the Norway Ship & Offshore Finance Forum. “List here instead.”

He said companies should look beyond net asset value and instead at total returns.

“We’ve actually done better” than US-listed competitors, Skarsgard said. “You don’t see better pricing in New York.

“Since we’re here in Oslo, I figure we should point it out.”

In recent months, several companies have either departed the Oslo exchange or taken secondary listings in the US.

GC Rieber was taken private by the family backing it, while Okeanis Eco Tankers took a primary listing in New York and Gram Car Carriers debuted on US over-the-counter markets last year.

The car carrier lessor could be taken off public markets entirely if MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company is successful in its takeover bid.

But the most aggressive moves have been made by Andreas Sohmen-Pao’s BW Group — once one of the biggest names on the exchange — which delisted BW Ideol, BW Epic Kosan and BW Energy while BW LPG and Hafnia took New York listings.

Skarsgard’s comments followed advice from Golden Ocean Group finance chief Peder Simonsen, who argued US-listed, dividend-focused companies have been outperforming when asked if Wall Street-style buyback programmes could be coming to Oslo.

The John Fredriksen-backed dry bulk player has listings in Oslo and New York.

Simonsen said 80% of his company’s volumes are traded in the US, which provides European investors liquidity.

“I think the US market provides a lot of liquidity and support right now through index funds and algorithmic funds that constantly trade the share,” he said.

“I don’t think it necessarily reflects the interest of US investors. I think the main interest is still in Europe.

“I think US listed investors are more interested in secure cash flows than understanding shipping markets and playing the shipping cycle.”

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