Aker ASA: Fourth-quarter results 2014 - Net Asset Value of NOK 17.7 billion
The net asset value of Aker ASA and holding companies (Aker) declined to NOK 17.7 billion in the fourth quarter, while the cash holdings increased by NOK 1.2 billion to NOK 2.9 billion (NOK 3.2 billion including liquid funds).
"From previous downturns, we have learned how important it is to be financially prepared to pursue new investment opportunities that tend to materialise at times like this," said Eriksen. "In my six years as Aker CEO, I have not seen better opportunities to create shareholder value than now."
The value of Aker's Industrial Holdings was reduced by NOK 4.4 billion in the fourth quarter to NOK 17.4 billion. Aker's Financial Investments portfolio amounted to NOK 7.6 billion, on par with levels as of 30 September 2014. The value-adjusted equity ratio was 71 per cent, prior to dividend allocation, down from 76 per cent as of 30 September 2014.
The Aker share declined 22 per cent in the fourth quarter. This compares to 5 per cent and 40 per cent declines in the Oslo Stock Exchange's benchmark index ("OSEBX") and the oil price, respectively.
The Aker board's proposal to the general meeting is to declare a dividend of NOK 10 per share for the fiscal year 2014. In light of the current market environment and the investment opportunities ahead, it is proposed that half of the dividend (NOK 5 per share) will be with optional settlement with new Aker shares as "scrip dividend", benefitting from a 10 per cent discount to the prevailing share price.
"While preserving Aker's financial capacity, we are offering our shareholders a choice between an attractive cash only dividend or the opportunity to reinvest half of the dividend in Aker shares at a discount," said Eriksen. "Kjell Inge Røkke and I have decided to choose the partial settlement by shares."
"In order to adapt to the current realities, we will take measures to cut operational costs," said Eriksen, and highlighted:
· Actions are about to be taken to reduce our operational expenses
· Executive salaries and board remunerations will not be adjusted this year. Other salaries will not be adjusted above inflation.
· Bonus payments will be reduced compared to previous years.
"The oil and gas industry is characterised by fluctuations in activity levels, which again impact the pricing of oil-sensitive shares, including Aker. Although we cannot ignore the external factors putting pressure on the oil and gas industry, we still believe that oil and gas have to form part of the longer term solution," said Aker President and CEO Øyvind Eriksen. "In Aker, we continue to build great companies throughout market cycles. That's why we continue to consider the current market turmoil as an opportunity, just as much as a threat."
The full report and presentation can be downloaded from www.akerasa.com .
Net asset value (NAV) is Aker ASA's core performance indicator. Aker is an investment company with a majority of listed companies in its portfolio. Therefore, NAV is a more relevant indicator of the development of Aker's underlying value than the company's consolidated accounts.
For further information, please contact:
Atle Kigen, Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +47 24 13 00 08
Mobile: +47 907 84 878
Lars Kristian Kildahl, Head of Investor Relations
Phone: +47 24 13 00 61
Mobile: +47 916 30 061
This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.