Hydro's Preliminary Result for 2002


OSLO, Norway, Feb. 10, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Norsk Hydro (NYSE:NHY):

 Preliminary results 2002
 Consolidated Results (U.S. GAAP)

                       Fourth quarter     Year
                        2002  2002    2001     2002    2002     2001
 Million, except per     NOK EUR(1)     NOK      NOK   EUR(1)    NOK
  share data
 Operating revenues   39,635 5,448   34,670  162,936  22,396  152,835

 Operating income      6,139   844    2,832   19,984   2,747   21,083
 Non-consolidated        484    67      265       33       5      566
 Interest income and
  other financial        334    46      788    1,418     194    2,847
 Other income, net         --    --     (19)     219      30      578
 Earnings before
  interest expense      6,957   957   3,866   21,654   2,976   25,074
   and taxes (EBIT)
 Interest expense
  and foreign             223    31  (1,036)     517      71   (3,609)
 Income before taxes
  and minority          7,180   988   2,830   22,171   3,047   21,465
 Income tax expense    (3,769) (518) (1,703) (13,318) (1,830) (13,750)
 Minority interest        (28)   (4)     17       15       2      177
 Net income             3,383   466   1,144    8,868   1,219    7,892
 Earnings per share     13.10  1.80    4.40    34.40    4.70    30.50
  (in NOK and Euro)

 Financial data
 EBITDA -- million     10,598 1,457   7,297   35,801   4,921   37,757
 Investments --         6,037   830   6,284   45,804   6,296   16,328
  interest-bearing       0.44  0.44    0.27     0.44    0.44     0.27

 (1) Presentation in EURO is a convenience translation based on the
     exchange rate at December 31, 2002, which was 7.2754

 (2) Net interest-bearing debt divided by shareholders' equity plus
     minority interest.

Norsk Hydro's net income in 2002 was NOK 8,868 million (NOK 34.40 per share) compared with NOK 7,892 million (NOK 30.50 per share) in 2001.

The improvement compared to the prior year was primarily due to a significant increase in oil and gas production, more extensive aluminium operations following the acquisition of VAW in the first quarter, unrealised gains in connection with energy contracts together with unrealised gains associated with the company's debt. Lower oil and gas prices, difficult market conditions for Hydro Aluminium, and the strengthening of the Norwegian kroner negatively impacted the results.

In the fourth quarter, Hydro's net income was NOK 3,383 million (NOK 13.10 per share), compared with NOK 1,144 million (NOK 4.40 per share) for the corresponding period in 2001.

The Board proposes to the Annual General Assembly a dividend of NOK 10.50 per share for 2002, compared with NOK 10 per share in 2001.

"Hydro has achieved a return on capital in 2002 which is consistent with established targets for the year. The debt/equity ratio remains strong despite significant acquisitions, which reflects a strong cash flow throughout the year. Productivity has improved in all our business areas, particularly in the oil and gas segment, where a significant production increase has made an important contribution to the company's profitability," said President and CEO, Eivind Reiten.

"Market conditions for our aluminium operations have been difficult, while the high price of oil is a strong positive factor. There is considerable uncertainty associated with international economic development in the future. This implies a large degree of uncertainty with regards to price development for Hydro's main products. We will continue to emphasize efforts to improve Hydro's competitiveness and maintain the company's financial strengths," said Reiten.

In the fourth quarter Hydro's oil and gas production was 540,000 barrels oil equivalents (boe) per day. Production in 2002 averaged 480,000 boe per day, an increase of some 14 percent from 2001. Average production for 2003 was estimated at 510,000 boe per day. Hydro's access to new oil and gas reserves, including the purchase and sale of field licences, comprised 187 percent of its annual production. The reserve replacement ratio was 98 percent, excluding purchases and sales of licenses. Exploration results in 2002 were disappointing and NOK 3.4 billion were expensed for the year.

Aluminium operations expanded significantly in 2002 through the acquisition of the companies VAW and Technal, both of which were fully integrated parts of Hydro's business operations during the year. Efforts to realize synergies after the integration and other improvement programs continue according to plan. Market conditions for metal and value added products have been difficult. The strong Norwegian kroner have contributed significantly to a weakened competitive position for Norwegian production units. This, in combination with low aluminium prices, has resulted in weak results for these Norwegian units.

Hydro Agri has maintained its level of earnings from the previous year, despite a weak fertilizer market during most of the year, and the negative effect of changes in exchange rates and higher raw material costs. Market shares have increased in Europe and sales volume outside of Europe has increased to a level greater than sales in the European market.

During 2002, KFK divested substantial parts of its operations. In addition, Hydro signed an agreement for the sale of the Flexible Packaging unit. In total, Hydro has entered into contracts for divestments of over NOK 6 billion out of its total target for 2002-2003 of NOK 10 billion. The provision for current and deferred taxes for 2002 amounted to NOK 13,318 million, approximately 60 percent of pre-tax income.

 Fourth quarter 2002

               Operating      inv.,     Other   Depreciation   EBITDA
 NOK million     income    Interest &   income       and
                 (loss)    selected             amortization

 Hydro Oil and    5,527       132        --        2,371        8,030
 Hydro Aluminium    230       385        --          701        1,316
 Hydro Agri         209       122        --          314          645
 Other Activities    20        66        --          247          333
 Corporate and      153       113        --            8          274
 Total            6,139       818        --        3,641       10,598

 Year 2002
               Operating     inv.,      Other   Depreciation   EBITDA
 NOK million    income     Interest &   income      and 
                (loss)     selected             amortization
 Hydro Oil and   16,090       304        77        9,012       25,483
 Hydro Aluminium  1,698       (90)       --        2,726        4,334
 Hydro Agri       2,207       292       166        1,280        3,945
 Other Activities    13       (81)       --        1,112        1,044
 Corporate and      (24)    1,026       (24)          17          995
 Total           19,984     1,451       219       14,147       35,801

Further information about Norsk Hydro ASA and the company's preliminary results 2002 are available on the Internet: www.hydro.com

For full 4th Quarter Report with tables, follow this link: http://reports.huginonline.com/890958/113143.pdf

For 4th Quarter Presentation, follow this link: http://reports.huginonline.com/890960/113144.pdf

Certain statements in this press release are or may constitute "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements that are not in the nature of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking statements and may contain identifying words such as "believes", "anticipates", "plans", "expects" and similar expressions. These forward looking statements are based on Hydro's current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about the company and the industries in which it engages in business. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. For a detailed description of factors that could cause Hydro's actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such statements, please refer to its annual report on Form 20-F for the year-ended December 31, 2001 and subsequent filings on Form 6-K with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Contact Data