A dynamic year for Orkla

In the fourth quarter of 2005 Orkla's ordinary profit before tax totalled NOK 1.7 billion. For the full year, Group operating revenues amounted to NOK 55.3 billion, while ordinary pre-tax profit totalled NOK 7.2 billion. The Branded Consumer Goods business was strengthened by expansion in the Nordic region and Russia. The results for Speciality Materials were good in the energy sector, but the market situation for Borregaard's chemicals business and for Sapa was challenging.

Operating revenues for 2005 were up 72 per cent. Major acquisitions, such as Sapa, Elkem, the Chips Group, SladCo, Collett Pharma and Panda boosted revenues by approximately NOK 25 billion, while restructuring and disposals at Borregaard reduced revenues by around NOK 1.8 billion.
"We have a dynamic year behind us in which we have taken over many large companies. This has significantly increased both our earnings and our profit. At the same time, we continue to implement comprehensive efficiency improvement programmes in order to strengthen the competitiveness of both the Branded Consumer Goods area and Speciality Materials," says Group President and CEO Dag J. Opedal.
Orkla Finans achieved good growth and increased its profit. The Financial Investments division otherwise realised portfolio gains of NOK 422 million in the fourth quarter. At the end of December the return on the investment portfolio was 34 %, while the net asset value increased by more than NOK 650 million in the fourth quarter.
Earnings per share were up NOK 3.8 compared with the fourth quarter of 2004 and amounted to 28.1 for the full year, an increase of 91 per cent[1].
The Board of Directors proposes an ordinary dividend of NOK 7.50 per share, up from NOK 4.50 per share in 2004.

[1] Adjusted for the Carlsberg transaction.
4. quarter 2005: