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Fourth quarter of 2015: declining metal prices, lower costs and record production in Brazil

Hydro's underlying earnings before interest and taxes fell to NOK 1.56 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to NOK 2.21 billion in the third quarter of the same year. The observed decline generally reflects the fall in aluminum and alumina prices and the continued fall in prices for premium products, which, in part, were offset by the positive currency effects in the period.

  • underlying NOK 1.56 billion for the fourth quarter and NOK 9.65 billion for 2015
  • Proposed dividend of NOK 1 per share for 2015
  • Record quarterly production of bauxite and alumina
  • Lower costs, including record alumina implicit costs
  • Lower realized alumina and aluminum prices, energy prices in the highest Nordic countries
  • Construction decision for the Karmoy technology pilot project
  • Equivalent improvements NOK 800 million across the value chain in 2015
  • Perspective of 3-4% growth in demand for primary aluminum, reasonably balanced global market

“The decision to build the technology pilot project in Karmoy was an important step for aluminum and our ambition to be an industrial leader in technology and innovation. We are investing for the future, challenging the current limits of productivity and energy efficiency, ”said President and CEO, Svein Richard Brandtzæg.

The underlying LAJIR for the Bauxite & amp; Alumina fell, compared to the third quarter, mainly because the alumina prices indexed and linked to the London Stock Exchange are lower and the higher depreciation costs, which were partly offset by higher sales volume and currency effects positive, resulting from the weaker Brazilian currency. Production in both Paragominas and Alunorte increased, reaching record levels 1) in the quarter.

"I am very satisfied with the record production of bauxite and alumina in Brazil, this record represents an important step for the Bauxite & amp; Alumina business area, after the successful completion of the improvement program“ From B to A ” last year, ”said Brandtzæg.

"Following on from several successful improvement projects in our business areas, we recently raised our ambition to NOK 2.9 billion in additional improvements by the end of 2019. This improvement work is crucial for maintaining our industrial leadership, ”said Brandtzæg.

Metal Primário's underlying LAJIR declined in the fourth quarter, due to premium products and lower realized prices. This drop was partially offset by the rise in the dollar and the fall in raw material costs, with the lower alumina price. Sales volume was somewhat seasonal this quarter.

The underlying LAJIR of Mercados de Metal fell in the fourth quarter, especially because of the negative currency effects.

Compared to the third quarter of 2015, the underlying LAJIR of the Rolled Products business area was lower this quarter because of lower seasonal sales.

In the fourth quarter, the underlying LAJIR of the Energy business area increased, in contrast to the low level of the previous quarter and lower property taxes 2).

The underlying EBITDA of the company Sapa was also lower in this period, compared to the results of the previous quarter, as a result of a seasonally lower demand.

In the fourth quarter, operating cash flow totaled NOK 4.3 billion, including a reduction in working capital of NOK 1.7 billion. The capital used for investment activities amounted to NOK 2.1 billion and Hydro's net cash position increased by NOK 1.8 billion during the period, reaching NOK 5.1 billion at the end of the quarter. At the end of 2014, Hydro's net debt was NOK 0.1 billion, which indicates that there was a positive development of NOK 5.2 billion in Hydro's liquidity during the year.

By the end of 2015, Hydro's leading global improvement programs contributed approximately NOK 4.5 billion in annual improvements compared to 2011 3) , of which around NOK 800 million was realized in 2015. For the year as a whole, the underlying LAJIR improved significantly, from NOK 5.69 billion to NOK 9.65 billion. In 2015, the Bauxite & amp; Alumina and Laminated Products registered their best EFFICIENCY, since Hydro became a full aluminum company in 2007; while Sapa's underlying results have doubled compared to the previous year. The negative effects of premium products and the low prices realized on the London Stock Exchange were offset by the positive exchange rate effects of the dollar and ongoing continuous improvement activities.

For 2015, the Board of Directors proposes the payment of NOK 1 dividend per share, demonstrating the company's commitment to provide a stable return to its shareholders, while taking into account the current situation of the market. The proposed payment represents a 100% distribution ratio for the year, also reflecting Hydro's operating performance and its strong financial position in 2015.

Profits declared before interest and taxes totaled NOK 725 million in the fourth quarter. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the stated LAJIR includes unrealized net gains from derivatives and negative foreign exchange effects of a negative amount of NOK 139 million in all. The reported profits also include costs of NOK 285 million, related to the termination of the lease agreement at Vaekeroe Park and net losses from divestments of NOK 365 million, including losses of NOK 434 million, related to the sale of the Slim laminates plant and profits of NOK 69 million, related to the sale of other assets. In addition, the reported results include net costs of NOK 53 million at Sapa (Hydro's quota after tax), including NOK 88 million related to restructuring, NOK 73 million related to unrealized gains from derivatives and NOK 38 million net foreign exchange losses.

In the previous quarter, profits declared before interest and taxes total NOK 1.63 billion, including net unrealized losses with derivatives and negative effect of NOK 520 million in total. Declared profits also include NOK 65 million costs at Sapa (Hydro's after-tax quota), including NOK 48 million in restructuring costs.

Net revenue was NOK 541 million in the fourth quarter, with net foreign exchange gains of NOK 48 million already included and resulting from marginal exchange rate effects and fluctuations in the period, in addition to a significant reduction in the group's domestic debt in dollars. In the previous quarter, net revenue represented a loss of NOK 1.34 billion, including net foreign exchange losses of NOK 3.20 billion, caused mainly by unrealized exchange losses on dollar-denominated debt, particularly in Brazil, and derivatives in contracts in euros.

For the year 2015 as a whole, profits declared before interest and taxes add up to NOK 8.25 billion, including net unrealized gains from derivatives and negative effects of metal a total of NOK 454 million negative. Declared profits also include costs of NOK 285 million, related to the termination of the lease at Vaekeroe Park and other positive effects that add up to a total of NOK 37 million. The results also include net costs of NOK 331 million at Sapa (Hydro's quota after tax), including NOK 256 million related to restructuring costs, NOK 66 million related to unrealized derivative losses, net exchange losses of NOK 23 million and other positive effects of NOK 14 million.

In the previous year, earnings declared before interest and taxes totaled NOK 5.67 billion, including unrealized net gains from derivatives and positive effects of NOK 729 million in total. In addition, reported profits included depreciation costs of NOK 207 million, net costs of NOK 512 million at Sapa, linked mainly to the restructuring and depreciation activities of fixed assets in China (Hydro's share of NOK 250 million) and other items, which amounted to a net cost of NOK 28 million.

In 2015, the company's net revenue totaled NOK 2.33 billion, with a net foreign exchange loss of NOK 4.39 million included. The net foreign exchange loss in 2015 was largely a combination of net losses on dollar-denominated debt in Brazil and derivatives in euro energy contracts. The net foreign exchange loss also includes unrealized dollar losses in Norway. In the previous year, net revenue was NOK 1.22 billion, including net foreign exchange losses of NOK 3.16 billion. In 2014, the exchange rate loss was also represented by unrealized losses on derivatives in euro energy contracts.

Observations:

1) Since Hydro acquired Vale's aluminum business in 2011.

2) As of 2015, property tax is levied in the period when it becomes an unconditional payment obligation, which in Norway is when it is billed. This new reality leads to periodic variations within the annual period, but it does not affect your overall tax level.

3) Except for Metal Primário's “300 Dollars” program, which is compared to 2009 levels.

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