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The transaction is expected to be cash neutral for Hydro, and an estimated after tax loss of NOK 250 million will be recognized in Hydro’s fourth quarter 2009 results. Hydro expects the transaction to close by the end of fourth quarter 2009 subject to clearance by relevant competition authorities and other anti-trust bodies.

”We are pleased to have found a buyer with the ambition, competence and size to further develop the automotive structures activities,” says Executive Vice President Johnny Undeli, responsible for the Extruded Products business area in Hydro.

Hydro’s automotive structures business, part of the Extruded Products business area, is a leading supplier of advanced crash management systems, roll-over bar protection systems and other structural components and assemblies, serving the majority of the global carmakers. The business has a significant part of its production at Raufoss in Norway, with other plants in China, Czech, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and the United States. Revenues amounted to NOK 2.2 billion in 2008 and the business had about 1,200 employees at the end of third quarter 2009.

The Benteler Group is internationally active with its business divisions Automotive, Steel/Tube and Distribution and was founded in 1876. Operating under the Benteler name, the business is not only one of the largest independent automotive suppliers, but also one of the most important steel tube manufacturers in Europe as well as one of the leading stock holders and processors of steel tubes and stainless steel tubes. Today, Benteler employs more than 24,000 persons at 150 locations in 35 countries.

”We’ve restructured and reduced the size of our automotive structures activities over the past years. This has improved financial results, despite the economic downturn,” says Undeli. “After having run these operations for a number of years without satisfactory earnings, we feel convinced that the new owner will concentrate fully on serving the automotive industry and that it will add the competence necessary to increase profitability and market position.”

Hydro, an integrated aluminium and energy company, will continue to be a major supplier of aluminium, as well as semi-fabricated rolled and extruded aluminium profiles, to the automotive industry after the divestment.

Press contact
Contact     Erik Brynhildsbakken
Telephone   +47 22538301
Cellular    +47 41751271

Investor contact
Contact     Stefan Solberg
Telephone   +47 22539280
Cellular    +47 91727528

Certain statements included within this announcement contain forward-looking information, including, without limitation, those relating to (a) forecasts, projections and estimates, (b) statements of management’s plans, objectives and strategies for Hydro, such as planned expansions, investments or other projects, (c) targeted production volumes and costs, capacities or rates, start-up costs, cost reductions and profit objectives, (d) various expectations about future developments in Hydro’s markets, particularly prices, supply and demand and competition, (e) results of operations, (f) margins, (g) growth rates, (h) risk management, as well as (i) statements preceded by “expected”, “scheduled”, “targeted”, “planned”, “proposed”, “intended” or similar statements.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, these forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and forecasts that, by their nature, involve risk and uncertainty.  Various factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in a forward-looking statement or affect the extent to which a particular projection is realized.  Factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to: our continued ability to reposition and restructure our upstream and downstream aluminium business; changes in availability and cost of energy and raw materials; global supply and demand for aluminium and aluminium products; world economic growth, including rates of inflation and industrial production; changes in the relative value of currencies and the value of commodity contracts; trends in Hydro’s key markets and competition; and legislative, regulatory and political factors.

No assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct.  Hydro disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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