Orkla ended the year well and overall 2006 was thus a period of significant profit growth. All business areas reported higher profit than last year, both for the quarter and for the full year. Orkla's Financial Investments division also created good value, with an annual return of 27.4 per cent.
Group operating profit before amortisation increased by 31 per cent in the fourth quarter, to NOK 1.7 billion. Total operating profit for the year before amortisation was NOK 5.1 billion, up from NOK 4.5 billion in 2005.
"Orkla's business areas have, almost without exception, made good progress. At the same time, we have made several important acquisitions and investments. The decision to invest almost NOK 3 billion in Elkem Solar and the acquisition of Dansk Droge (Denmark), Krupskaya (Russia), Alufinal (Czech Republic) and Royal Brinkers (Romania) are all important expansion projects. Both the Branded Consumer Goods business and the Speciality Materials business strenghtened their positions last year," says Group President and CEO Dag J. Opedal.
In the Branded Consumer Goods area, Orkla Brands strengthened its market positions and achieved underlying revenue growth of almost nine per cent in the fourth quarter. Orkla Foods reported good profit growth on the Nordic market but, as anticipated, somewhat weaker results for SladCo in comparison with the previous year.
The Speciality Materials area, which comprises Elkem, Sapa and Borregaard, had another good quarter, driven by continued strong volume growth for Sapa and high profit from financial power trading. In November, Orkla signed a letter of intent with Alcoa concerning the establishment of a new joint company based on Sapa's and Alcoa's aluminium profile businesses. Orkla will be the majority shareholder in the new company, which is expected to be established in the first half of this year.
Group earnings per share for 2006 totalled NOK 54.3, compared with NOK 28.1 in 2005. The net contribution to profit from discontinued operations (Orkla Media) amounted to NOK 19.9 per share.
Rune Helland, SVP Investor Relations, Tel: +47 22 54 44 19
Ole Kristian Lunde, SVP Corporate Communications, Tel: +47 22 54 44 31