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Orkla Profit Soars 60% in Second-Quarter

Norwegian conglomerate Orkla said Thursday net profit rose 60% due to strong growth in almost all of its business areas.

The Oslo-based group said net income for the April through June quarter was 2.74 billion kroner ($472 million), compared with 1.7 billion kroner in the same period a year earlier. The result followed a 66 percent increase in net profits for the first quarter of this year.

"All in all, the group's second quarter results are good, and most business areas have reported growth. At the same time, we are not satisfied with Orkla Foods' results this time. Wide-ranging programs have therefore been implemented with the aim of returning the company during 2008 to the level of profitability it has achieved in the past," said Orkla Chief Executive Dag J. Opedal.

The group, which has interests in energy and financial investment products, said revenue for the latest quarter was 14.0 billion kroner, compared with 12.9 billion kroner a year earlier.

The group's aluminum products division led the growth, more than doubling operating profit in the quarter, due mainly to strong markets in Scandinavia and northern Europe.

Orkla is one of Norway's largest companies, with about 27,000 employees.