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Norsk Hydro Second-Quarter Net Profit 2% Higher

Norwegian oil and gas company Norsk Hydro on Tuesday reported a 2% rise in second-quarter net profit, boosted mainly by high aluminum and oil prices, and said its merger with oil giant Statoil is on track.

The Oslo-based company said its net profit for the three months ended June 30 came to 5.95 billion kroner (752.4 million euros; $1039.89 million), up from 5.83 billion in the same quarter in 2006, beating analysts' forecasts.

Revenue for the period fell to 46.53 billion kroner (5.88 billion euros; $8.13 billion) from 48.03 billion kroner in the year-ago quarter.

The aluminum operations, Norsk Hydro's core business after merging its oil and gas activities with Statoil, had its strongest first-half results ever, it said, adding the Statoil merger is expected to be completed on October 1.

In December last year, Norsk Hydro agreed to sell its oil division to Statoil and instead become a pure aluminum and power generation company.

Norsk Hydro President and Chief Executive Eivind Reiten said the result gives the company "a solid basis to grow as a global aluminum company."

He added that Hydro's restructuring program also continues to pay off.

Norsk Hydro employs about 33,000 people in 40 countries.

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