Aker Kvaerner Posts Q1 Earnings, Announces Operational Changes

Aker Kvaerner on Wednesday said that its first quarter 2007 consolidated revenues amounted to NOK 14,147 million, a 34-percent increase compared to NOK 10,547 million for the same period in 2006.

EBITDA in the first quarter of 2007 was NOK 856 million, compared to NOK 649 million in the first quarter of 2006, up 32 percent. The EBITDA margin was 6.1 percent. EBITDA for the first quarter last year was impacted by a one-time sales gain of NOK 87 million from the divestment of Aker Kværner Power & Automation Systems.

Net financial expenses for the first quarter of 2007 were NOK 14 million, a reduction from NOK 84 million last year. This significant improvement reflects a favorable financial position after the refinancing of the company in December 2006 and the divestment of Pulping & Power.

Fluctuations in the fair value of hedging transactions represented an accounting gain under financial items of NOK 40 million in the first quarter. Reported EBITDA was negatively affected by NOK 6 million in the same period.

The profit after financial items for the first quarter 2007 was NOK 798 million, an improvement of 25 percent compared to the first quarter 2006 with a profit of NOK 637 million. The tax expense for the first quarter was NOK 248 million, which is 31 percent of profit before tax. Net profit for the first quarter was NOK 550 million giving earnings per share of NOK 2.01.

Cash flow from operating activities was negative NOK 1 561 million in the first quarter of 2007, reflecting a NOK 2 489 million increase in net current operating assets. Negative net current operating assets of NOK 2 172 million have reversed and the balance at quarter end was NOK 317 million. This is mainly due to a reduction in prepayments on contracts.

Cash and bank deposits at the end of the first quarter were reduced to NOK 3.4 billion. Undrawn committed long-term bank revolving credit facilities amounted to NOK 6.2 billion, representing a total liquidity buffer of NOK 9.6 billion. In addition, NOK 2 379 million is pledged for the defeased loan of EUR 260 million.

Long-term interest bearing debt remained at NOK 2.1 billion at the end of the first quarter 2007. Net interest bearing receivables is positive at NOK 1.9 billion.

Order intake in the first quarter was NOK 17.3 billion up 34 percent compared with the same period last year. At the end of March the order backlog was NOK 62.8 billion, an increase of 24 percent from end of first quarter 2006 and a 5 percent increase from end of 2006. The growth represents both new contracts and a strong growth in existing contracts.

The equity ratio at the end of the first quarter was 19.9 percent, a reduction from 25.8 percent at year end 2006 as a dividend of NOK 2 201 million was booked as debt after the approval by the Annual General Meeting held in the first quarter.

During the first quarter Aker Kvaerner announced a buy-back of 483 000 own shares. In connection with the Annual General Meeting held 29 March, it was decided to split the shares 1 to 5 and to further cancel 1 146 170 of the own new shares. After the split and cancellation of shares, Aker Kværner currently holds 1 268 830 of the company's 274 000 000 outstanding shares, or 0.463 percent. The shares were traded ex dividends and based on the split from 30 March.

Aker Kvaerner optimizes its operations

To further strengthen its offering and become more transparent to the market, Aker Kvaerner is optimizing its operations by transforming its existing six business areas into five global business areas. By better combining those specialized units that work within the same market segments, we can strengthen the capacity and our offering of services and solutions to all markets. It will also enable more effective use of our total resources. The change supports the company's stated objective for further profitable growth.

For reporting purposes the main consequence of the organizational changes is the transfer of the India based engineering business, Aker Kvaerner Powergas, from Field Development to Process & Construction. Other changes are the transfer of the subsurface activity in MMO to Products & Technologies, and the Malaysia-based engineering business transfer from Field Development to Subsea.