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Solid improvement in operating profit and sales

Orkla’s first-half operating profit (EBITA) ended at NOK 1,641 million, compared with NOK 567 million in the same period of 2009. All of the business areas have contributed to the profit growth. Watch the presentation webcast here:

Group sales had risen 14 percent to NOK 30.9 billion after the first six months of the year, driven especially by improved markets for Sapa and Elkem Silicon-related.

Operating profit (EBITA) reached NOK 937 million in the second quarter, compared with NOK 334 million in the same period of 2009. Sales grew 17 percent in the quarter.

“It is gratifying to see that the measures implemented in the last years are taking effect. Orkla Brands and Jotun (42.5 percent ownership) continue to deliver strong results and margin growth. Sapa has had a profit upturn driven by internal improvements and recovering markets. Elkem Silicon-related is experiencing good demand and higher prices. The Group’s two solar investments (REC (39.7 percent) and Elkem Solar) are in a ramp-up phase which is expected to show results in 2010/2011,” says President and CEO Dag J. Opedal.

Orkla Share Portfolio achieved a half-year return of 9.3 percent, compared with a return of 5.9 percent on the Morgan Stanley Nordic Index and -11.7 percent on the Oslo Stock Exchange Benchmark Index.

As long as the market price of the REC shares is lower than the capitalised value, the carrying value will be written up and down as the market price fluctuates. The market price as at 30 June was NOK 15.61. For the second quarter, this entailed an accounting write-down of NOK 3.0 billion. Orkla’s pre-tax result for the second quarter was thus NOK -1.8 billion (NOK 282 million in 2009).

Dag J. Opedal has notified the Board of Directors of Orkla ASA that he wishes to step down as President and CEO in the course of the current year. The Board has commenced the process of finding his successor, and Mr Opedal will continue in his position until the successor is in place. Mr Opedal will continue to chair the Board of Directors of REC, and will remain Orka’s representative on Jotun’s Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of Orkla ASA thanks Dag J. Opedal for his wide-ranging efforts over the past 20 years to promote the development and growth of the Group, not least as President and CEO since 2005.