In the future, Hydro's shares will be listed in Oslo and in London, following planned delistings from the stock exchanges in Paris, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Dusseldorf.
U.S. investors hold about 15% of the Hydro stock, while only 5% of the total shares are held through the American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program. As only about 3% of the worldwide trading volume in the Hydro stock in the past 12 months occurred in the United States, the Board has not found sufficient grounds for a continued U.S. listing and registration. Internationalization of capital markets and the introduction of International Financial Reporting Standards as the primary financial reporting standards in Europe have also significantly reduced the need for and benefit of multiple stock-exchange listings.
In addition, Hydro no longer bears any outstanding SEC registered debt, as all registered notes and StatoilHydro ASA as part of the merger of Hydro's previous oil and gas business with Statoil assumed debentures.
Hydro Chief Financial Officer John O. Ottestad said: "As a focused aluminium company, we are committed to reducing the complexity of our operations. The delisting and deregistration will enable us to simplify financial reporting processes, while maintaining the same high-quality financial reporting and disclosures. Corporate governance will not be affected, as important governance bodies such as the Board Audit Committee will remain, in addition to an adequate level of internal controls. We will also maintain the same strong focus on serving our significant U.S. investor base as we have had in the past."
Following the delisting and deregistration, Hydro will continue to be subject to the rules of the Oslo Stock Exchange and other Norwegian and European Union financial market regulations.
The delisting and deregistration will not impact the ongoing investigations into Hydro's previous petroleum engagement in Libya, and Hydro will continue to cooperate fully with relevant authorities on this matter.
Hydro will provide written notice to the NYSE of its intention to delist. It intends to file a Form 25 with the SEC during November 2007 to effect the delisting. The delisting is expected to be effective 10 days after this filing, at which time Hydro intends to file Forms 15F with the SEC to deregister and terminate its reporting obligations under the Exchange Act. Deregistration will be effective 90 days after the filing of the Forms 15F, unless they are earlier withdrawn by Hydro or denied by the SEC.
Hydro reserves the right to delay the filing of Forms 15F and 25 or to withdraw them for any reason prior to effectiveness.
Hydro intends to maintain its ADR facility as a Level 1 program. This means Hydro's American Depositary Shares (ADSs) will be traded on the US over-the-counter market. Accordingly, Hydro has not arranged for the listing of its ADSs or ordinary shares on another national securities exchange in the US or for the quotation of its ADSs or ordinary shares in a quotation system in the US.
Hydro plans to continue publishing its annual report and other documents and communications in accordance with Exchange Act Rule 12g3-2(b) on its website www.hydro.com.
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