Orkla reports good third quarter operating performance

Orkla's Industry division achieved strong profit growth, and all businesses have reported better results than last year, both for the third quarter and overall for the year to date. Orkla's Financial Investments division has also achieved good growth in value with a return of 14 % on the investment portfolio so far this year, thereby outperforming the Oslo Stock Exchange and Morgan Stanley's Nordic index.

Orkla's operating profit before amortisation increased 15 % in the third quarter to NOK 1.2 billion. Aggregate operating profit so far this year totals NOK 3.4 billion, up from NOK 3.2 billion last year.
"In terms of profit this has been a good quarter for Orkla, with progress in virtually every area. We are also pleased about the decision to invest in Elkem Solar. This will be an exciting  project for Elkem and for Orkla," says Group President and CEO Dag J. Opedal.
The Branded Consumer Goods division reported both sales and profit growth on the Nordic market, while certain markets outside the Nordic region are still challenging. Restructuring and improvement projects, coupled with continuing good markets for Sapa in Europe, contributed to strong profit growth for the Speciality Materials division, which comprises Elkem, Sapa and Borregaard.
The sale of Orkla Media to the Mecom Group was completed as planned, and the gain on the sale totalled NOK 4 billion.
At the end of the third quarter, Orkla's earnings per share were NOK 41.9, compared with NOK 20.2 at the same time last year. Net contribution to profit from divested business (Orkla Media) amounts to NOK 20.0 per share.
Ref.:     Rune Helland                    VP, Investor Relations                                Tel.:+47-22544419
            Ole Kristian Lunde            SVP, Corporate Communications               Tel.:+47-2254 4431
Date:    31 October 2006