Hydro Pronova/Spilka Group

September 27, 2007, 21:02 CEST

Oslo (Sep. 24, 2002):
Composite Reinforcement Systems AS (CRS), a subsidiary of Hydro Pronova, has established cooperation- and ownership agreements with Vello Nordic AS, a subsidiary of the Spilka Group, which ensures the further development of CRS towards commercial production of reinforcement systems for concrete strutures made of Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRP).

In the first ongoing phase, CRS will continue the work for alternative concrete reinforcement which was developed during the Eureka project EUROCRETE, a project in which Hydro took part. The aim has been to develop FRP reinforcement systems which could solve the problems connected to corrosion of steel reinforcement in concrete structures. The corrosion problems have become an increasing, international problem for both land based and marine installations. It has been estimated that 25% of Europe's bridges, made in concrete, suffer from corrosion damage, and 240.000 bridge installations in the U.S.A. require mahjr maintenance work for the same reason.

The total investment so far for technology development is in the order of 60 MNOK, of which 45 MNOK was used in the EUROCRETE project and 15 MNOK has been invested by Hydro/CRS to further develop the production methods for commercial scale production.

Reinforcement systems based on glass- and carbon fibre have characteristics which make them well suited for a number of applications where conventional steel reinforcement do not represent a good solution. The advantages of CRS are most apparent in applications where corrosion, electromagnetic- or thermal conditions make steel reinforcement less suitable. In addition, weight will be reduced through less concrete cover of the reinforcement bars. The FRP rebars from CRS are now used in slabs by Hydro Aluminium in their new smelter at Sunndalsøra.

The main challenge so far, has been to manufacture the composite rebars at a cost sufficiently low to represent a real challenge to the traditional steel reinforcement products. The cooperation agreement
with Vello Nordic gives CRS access to know-how on production technology and the production capacity necessary to succeed. The agreements with Vello Nordic will secure new equity to provide the financial basis for the implementation of the development plans. A long term supply agreement har been made with Veollo Nordic to supply the FRP reinforcement bars.

Bjørn Ringvold, MD of CRS, says there is a large potential for the products, provided CRS can meet its production efficiency targets. The company's goal is to achieve a 1 % share of the North-European
market for special reinforcement products in 5 years. This will amount to revenues of around 200 MNOK/year. CRS is already talking to several large, potential customers to make extensive trials and establish additional product documentation. CRS will make intensified efforts to further the development of the national and european standards and the best practice for design, for the use of this type of reinforcement.

CRS aim to be a leading supplier of FRP reinforcement products and systems based on protected and patented production methods, product design, material know-how and application competence.

Hydro Pronova A.S, fully owned by Norsk Hydro, is developing business projects with advanced technology and a global potential, in the periphery of Hydro's three core business ares, Agri, Aluminium and Oil/Energy.

The Spilka Group is based in Ålesund and is engaged in several companies making composites and other industrial products. The Group had revenues of 265 MNOK in 2001. The Spilka Group is also the largest shareholder in Hexagon. a composite based registered company. Vello Nordic is specializing in the production of pultruded bars from glass- and carbon fibres. The company had revenues of approx. 15 MNOK in 2001.

For more information, please contact :
Bjørn Ringvold, Managing Director, Composite Reinforcement Systems A.S, phone No.: +47 22 53 87 88, mobile : +47 91 76 70 71

Arne Roger Hole, Technical Director, Composite Reinforcement Systems A.S, phone No.: +47 22 53 78 71, mobile : +47 99 55 31 35

Knut Stafset, Managing Director, Vello Nordic A.S, phone No.: +47 70 24 47 70, mobile : +47 92 05 18 66