"Good future prospects for Hydro and Agri"
Norsk Hydro's management and the management of the Agri operation take a very positive view of the board's decision to prepare for the listing of Agri on the stock exchange.
"Both the conclusion and the timing are right. Agri is on target after a major turnaround operation. It is now ready to take advantage of development opportunities in the industry, and will have greater financial flexibility as a listed company," underlines both President and CEO Eivind Reiten and senior executive vice president Thorleif Enger. The new company will be led by Enger, who has been manager of Agri since 1999.
"We see major opportunities for both these business areas. We have significant growth in oil and gas production, and we are creating one of the world's leading aluminium companies. Hydro will continue to build on established strategies in these business areas, on the basis of competitive advantages and the company's core expertise," says Eivind Reiten.
"We shall continue to cultivate the qualities that characterize Hydro, namely commercial and technological innovation, first-class project execution and operations, active portfolio management and capital discipline with focus on the bottom line."
Listing in the first half of 2004
Preparations for the public listing start immediately. A project organization made up of several tens of people will work full time on the spin-off. The target is for Agri to be listed on the Oslo stock exchange in the first half year of 2004. The Agri operation plans to hold its own capital markets day in November, where it will present plans for the new company.
"Hydro has been an excellent owner, but now the time is right - both for Hydro and for the fertilizer operation - to set up Agri as a separate company. The decision opens up great opportunities for Agri and for the rest of the organization. We will establish a new company, with a new name, new identity and separate stock, which will form a excellent starting point for forming our own future," says Thorleif Enger.