Aker Kvaerner Says 2004 a Year with Solid Progress
Aker Kvaerner experienced solid progress in 2004. In the fourth quarter, EBITDA continued to grow, confirming Aker Kvaerner's steady course towards its stated targets. EBITDA for the group in 2004 was NOK 1,401 million, 40 percent higher than in 2003. Main markets developed positively, and several large orders were secured by the group, resulting in a record-high order backlog.
Profits increased in the three-month period, taking EBITDA for the full year to NOK 1,401 million, a substantial increase from NOK 1,003 million in 2003.
Order intake for the fourth quarter was NOK 11.3 billion, and the order backlog at the end of December was a record high NOK 35.9 billion. Aker Kvaerner's main markets have developed favourably in 2004. Early phase study work has picked up and bidding activity is high.
Cashflow from operating activities was in 2004 NOK 1,646 million, reflecting a NOK 892 million decrease in net current operating assets. Cash and bank deposits at the end of December were a comfortable NOK 3.7 billion after a NOK 560 million repayment of debt in the last two quarters. The cash position at year-end is positively impacted by advances from customers, and will be partly off-set by corresponding outflows in the next quarters.
This positive development is the result of a general market improvement in addition to a strong focus on improving operational efficiency, and the impact of various change programmes which have been implemented throughout the Aker Kvaerner group. Competitiveness has been strengthened resulting in a healthy and well-balanced order backlog. The overall predictability and robustness of the group are improving.
Aker Kvaerner was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange on 2 April 2004. The share price increased by 24 percent between the listing date and year-end 2004, creating value for shareholders of NOK 1.7 billion during the period. The share price has further increased from NOK 161 to NOK 196 between year-end and 14 February 2005. Market capitalization per 14 February 2005 is NOK 10.8 billion.
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