Orkla achieved operating profit (EBIT adj.) of NOK 1,443 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 10%. Branded Consumer Goods posted an improvement of 15% in operating profit.
Operating revenues for Branded Consumer Goods rose 9% to NOK 10,587 million, while organic growth in turnover was 2.8%.
"With a strong fourth quarter, we delivered in line with our strategic and financial targets for 2017. All the business areas in Branded Consumer Goods achieved organic growth and improved operating profit in the fourth quarter. The improvement was driven by both volume growth and price increases, as well as cost savings," says Orkla President and CEO Peter A. Ruzicka.
Orkla strengthened its Branded Consumer Goods business as a result of several transactions in the fourth quarter. An agreement was signed to acquire Health and Sport Nutrition Group (HSNG), which runs the Gymgrossisten and Bodystore e-commerce portals. Orkla Foods purchased Agrimex, a Czech frozen vegetable producer, while Orkla Food Ingredients completed its purchase of Norwegian ingredients supplier Arne B. Corneliussen.
In January this year, Orkla Care increased its equity interest in the joint venture company, Anza Verimex NV, in the Netherlands to 50%, and took over 50% of the painting tools business of the Belgian company, PGZ International B.V. On 1 February, Orkla Foods Sverige acquired the Danish company Struer Brød A/S, thereby strengthening its position in the Nordic breakfast cereal market. Orkla continued its efforts to optimise its product portfolio, among other things through Orkla Foods Danmark's sale of K-Salat to Stryhns A/S.
Hydro Power posted substantially higher operating profit. EBIT (adj.) amounted to NOK 103 million, compared with NOK 31 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. The profit increase is chiefly due to significantly higher production volume.
Operating result from associates amounted to NOK -78 million, compared with NOK -29 million in the corresponding quarter of 2016. The fourth quarter is a seasonally weak quarter for Jotun. Profit performance is still affected by higher raw material prices and weak markets in the shipbuilding and offshore sectors.
Orkla's profit before tax for continuing operations increased by 13%, amounting to NOK 1,309 million in the fourth quarter.
Earnings per share from continuing operations amounted to NOK 0.96 in the fourth quarter, up 5% from the fourth quarter of 2016.
For the full year, Orkla's operating revenues rose 5% to NOK 39,561 million. Operating profit (EBIT adj.) increased by 8% in 2017, to NOK 4,635 million. At year end, the Group had 18,178 employees.
Orkla's Board of Directors intends to propose a dividend of NOK 2.60 per share for the 2017 financial year.
Oslo, 8 February 2018
Group Director Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs
Mob.: +47 928 45 828
SVP Investor Relations
Mob.: +47 983 66 334
An Excel spreadsheet with key figures may be found at www.orkla.com. This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.