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Norsk Hydro : Fourth quarter 2015: Declining metal prices, lower costs and record production in Brazil

OSLO, Norway, Feb. 17, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hydro's underlying earnings before financial items and tax declined to NOK 1,566 million in the fourth quarter, down from NOK 2,215 million in the third quarter of 2015. The decline mainly reflected lower aluminium and alumina prices and a continued decline in realized premiums, partly offset by positive currency effects. For the full year 2015, underlying EBIT climbed to NOK 9,656 million from NOK 5,692 million in 2014, lifted by positive currency effects and supported by successful industry-leading improvement programs across Hydro.

  • Underlying EBIT of NOK 1 566 million for Q4, NOK 9 656 million for full-year 2015
  • Proposed dividend for 2015 of NOK 1 per share
  • Record high quarterly bauxite and alumina production
  • Lower costs, including record low implied alumina cost
  • Lower realized alumina and all-in aluminium prices, higher Nordic energy prices
  • Build decision for the Karmøy technology pilot
  • NOK 800 million improvements delivered across the value chain in 2015
  • 2016 global primary demand growth outlook of 3-4%, global market largely balanced

"The decision to build the Karmøy technology pilot marks an important milestone for aluminium, and our ambition to be the industry leader on technology and innovation. We are investing for the future, challenging the current boundaries of productivity and energy-efficiency," says President and CEO, Svein Richard Brandtzæg.

Underlying EBIT for Bauxite & Alumina decreased compared to third quarter primarily due to lower LME and index-linked alumina prices and higher depreciation, partly offset by higher sales volumes and positive currency effects from the weaker Brazilian Real. Production at both Paragominas and Alunorte increased, reaching record levels for the quarter.

"I am very pleased with the record bauxite and alumina production in Brazil, contributing to reaching another important milestone in the Bauxite & Alumina business area with the successful completion of the 'From B to A' improvement program," says Brandtzæg.

"Following several, successful improvement programs in our business areas, we recently raised our combined improvement ambition with an additional 2.9 billion NOK by end-2019. These efforts are vital in maintaining our industry lead," says Brandtzæg.

Underlying EBIT for Primary Metal declined in the fourth quarter due to lower realized prices and premiums. This was partly offset by a stronger US dollar and a decline in raw material costs mainly due to lower alumina costs. Sales volumes were somewhat lower mainly due to seasonality.

Underlying EBIT for Metal Markets decreased in the quarter mainly due to negative currency effects.

Compared to the third quarter of 2015, underlying EBIT for Rolled Products declined mainly due to seasonally lower sales volumes.

In the fourth quarter, underlying EBIT for Energy increased mainly due to higher prices from the low level in the previous quarter and lower property taxes.

Underlying EBIT for Sapa declined compared to the third quarter mainly due to seasonally lower demand.

Operating cash flow amounted to NOK 4.3 billion for the fourth quarter, including a working capital reduction of NOK 1.7 billion. Cash used for investment activities amounted to NOK 2.1 billion. Hydro's net cash position increased during the fourth quarter by NOK 1.8 billion to NOK 5.1 billion at the end of the quarter. At the end of 2014, Hydro had a net debt position of NOK 0.1 billion, implying a positive net cash development of NOK 5.2 billion throughout the year.

By the end of 2015, Hydro's industry-leading improvement programs contributed roughly NOK 4.5 billion of annual improvements compared to 2011 including about NOK 800 million realized in 2015. For the full year, underlying EBIT improved significantly to NOK 9,656 million from NOK 5,692 million. In 2015, Bauxite & Alumina and Rolled Products achieved the best underlying EBIT since Hydro became a pure aluminium company in 2007, while Sapa underlying results doubled compared to the previous year. Negative effects from lower realized LME prices and premiums were more than offset by positive currency effects from the stronger USD and ongoing improvement efforts.

For 2015, Hydro's Board of Directors proposes to pay a dividend of NOK 1 per share, demonstrating the company's commitment to provide a stable cash return to shareholders, and taking into account the uncertain market outlook. The proposed payment represents a 101 percent payout ratio for the year reflecting Hydro's operational performance for 2015 and strong financial position.

Reported earnings before financial items and tax amounted to NOK 725 million in the fourth quarter. In addition to the factors discussed above, reported EBIT included net unrealized derivative gains and negative metal effects of negative NOK 139 million in total. Reported earnings also included charges of NOK 285 million relating to the termination of the Vækerø Park lease contract and net losses on divestments of NOK 365 million including losses of NOK 434 million related to the sale of the Slim rolling mill and gains of NOK 69 million in total related to sale of other assets. In addition, reported earnings included a net charge of NOK 53 million for Sapa (Hydro's share net of tax), including NOK 88 million relating to restructuring charges, NOK 73 million relating to unrealized derivative gains and NOK 38 million related to net foreign exchange losses.

In the previous quarter reported earnings before financial items and tax amounted to NOK 1,630 million including net unrealized derivative losses and negative metal effects of NOK 520 million in total. Reported earnings also included a charge of NOK 65 million for Sapa (Hydro's share net of tax), including NOK 48 million relating to restructuring charges.

Net income amounted to NOK 541 million in the fourth quarter including a net foreign exchange gain of NOK 48 million mainly reflecting marginal currency fluctuations and effects for the period, as well as significantly reduced US dollar intercompany debt. In the previous quarter, net income was negative NOK 1,345 million including a net foreign exchange loss of NOK 3,205 million mainly due to unrealized currency losses on US dollar debt, in particular in Brazil, and embedded derivatives in power contracts denominated in Euro.

For the full year 2015, reported earnings before financial items and tax amounted to NOK 8,258 million including net unrealized derivative gains and negative metal effects of negative NOK 454 million in total. Reported earnings also included charges of NOK 285 million relating to the termination of the Vækerø Park lease contract and other positive effects amounting to NOK 37 million. In addition, reported earnings included a net charge of NOK 331 million for Sapa (Hydro's share net of tax), including NOK 256 million relating to restructuring charges, NOK 66 million relating to unrealized derivative losses, a net foreign exchange loss of NOK 23 million and other positive effects of NOK 14 million.

In the previous year, reported earnings before financial items and tax amounted to NOK 5,674 million including net unrealized derivative gains and positive metal effects of NOK 729 million in total. Reported earnings also included impairment charges of NOK 207 million, net charges of NOK 512 million in Sapa mainly relating to restructuring activities and impairments of fixed assets in China (Hydro's share NOK 250 million) and other items amounting to a net charge of NOK 28 million.

In 2015 net income amounted to NOK 2,333 million including a net foreign exchange loss of NOK 4,397 million. The net exchange loss in 2015 was mainly comprised of currency losses on US dollar debt in Brazil and embedded derivatives in power contracts denominated in Euro. The net foreign exchange loss also included losses on US dollar debt in Norway. In the previous year net income amounted to NOK 1,228 million including a net foreign exchange loss of NOK 3,161 million. In 2014 the net exchange loss related mainly to debt denominated in US dollars and intercompany balances denominated in Euro. In 2014 the foreign exchange loss also included unrealized losses on embedded derivatives in power contracts denominated in Euro.

Key financial information

NOK million, except per share data
Fourth quarter 2015 Third quarter 2015 %change prior quarter Fourth quarter 2014 %change prior year quarter Year 2015 Year 2014
Revenue 20374 21594 (6) % 21656 (6) % 87694 77907
Earnings before financial items and tax (EBIT) 725 1630 (56) % 2295 (68) % 8258 5674
Items excluded from underlying EBIT 841 586 44 % 591 42 % 1398 18
Underlying EBIT 1566 2215 (29) % 2886 (46) % 9656 5692
Underlying EBIT :
Bauxite & Alumina 532 628 (15) % 528 1 % 2421 (55)
Primary Metal 407 762 (47) % 1989 (80) % 4628 3937
Metal Markets 152 291 (48) % 221 (31) % 379 634
Rolled Products 204 331 (38) % 96 >100 % 1142 698
Energy 353 191 85 % 360 (2) % 1105 1197
Other and eliminations (83) 12 >(100) % (308) (73) % (19) (717)
Underlying EBIT 1566 2215 (29) % 2886 (46) % 9656 5692
Underlying EBITDA 2969 3394 (13) % 4170 (29) % 14680 10299
Net income (loss) 541 (1 345) >100 % (168) >100 % 2333 1228
Underlying net income (loss) 1296 1377 (6) % 1979 (34) % 6709 3728
Earnings per share 0.23 (0.65) >100 % (0.18) >100 % 0.99 0.39
Underlying earnings per share 0.59 0.61 (3) % 0.83 (29) % 2.98 1.55
Financial data:
Investments 2556 1316 94 % 1449 76 % 5865 3625
Adjusted net interest-bearing debt (8173) (9272) 12 % (13587) 40 % (8173) (13587)
Key Operational information

Alumina production (kmt) 1577 1498 5 % 1501 5 % 5962 5933
Primary aluminium production (kmt) 521 520 - 499 4 % 2046 1958
Realized aluminium price LME (USD/mt) 1555 1685 (8) % 1997 (22) % 1737 1850
Realized aluminium price LME (NOK/mt) 13125 13779 (5) % 13355 (2) % 13813 11624
Realized NOK/USD exchange rate 8.44 8.18 3 % 6.69 26 % 7.95 6.28
Metal products sales. total Hydro (kmt) 779 809 (4) % 769 1 % 3186 3274
Rolled Products sales volumes to external market (kmt) 229 248 (8) % 213 7 % 948 946
Power production (GWh) 2882 2839 2 % 2823 2 % 10894 10206

Investor contact
Contact Pål Kildemo
Cellular +47 97096711
E-mail Pal.Kildemo@hydro.com

Press contact
Contact Halvor Molland
Cellular +47 92979797
E-mail Halvor.Molland@hydro.com

Certain statements included within this announcement contain forward-looking information, including, without limitation, those relating to (a) forecasts, projections and estimates, (b) statements of management's plans, objectives and strategies for Hydro, such as planned expansions, investments or other projects, (c) targeted production volumes and costs, capacities or rates, startup costs, cost reductions and profit objectives, (d) various expectations about future developments in Hydro's markets, particularly prices, supply and demand and competition, (e) results of operations, (f) margins, (g) growth rates, (h) risk management, as well as (i) statements preceded by "expected", "scheduled", "targeted", "planned", "proposed", "intended" or similar statements.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, these forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and forecasts that, by their nature, involve risk and uncertainty. Various factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in a forward-looking statement or affect the extent to which a particular projection is realized. Factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to: our continued ability to reposition and restructure our upstream and downstream aluminium business; changes in availability and cost of energy and raw materials; global supply and demand for aluminium and aluminium products; world economic growth, including rates of inflation and industrial production; changes in the relative value of currencies and the value of commodity contracts; trends in Hydro's key markets and competition; and legislative, regulatory and political factors.

No assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Hydro disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

Q4 Presentation http://hugin.info/106/R/1986594/728886.pdf
Q4 Report http://hugin.info/106/R/1986594/728888.pdf

HUG#1986594

Source:Norsk Hydro