Aker Kvaerner experienced a positive first quarter with an EBITDA of NOK 376 million, reflecting an increase by 20 percent compared to the corresponding quarter last year. The previously stated target of an annualised EBITDA of NOK 1.5 billion in the first half of 2005, was achieved in the first quarter. Few major contracts were announced in the first quarter, but a steady stream of orders resulted in a satisfactory order intake and brought the order backlog to a record-high level of NOK 37.7 billion at the end of the period. Main markets are developing positively, and several important contracts have been booked early in the second quarter.
Profits in the three-month period developed as expected, taking EBITDA for the first quarter to NOK 376 million, which is an increase by 20 percent from NOK 314 million in the first quarter 2004.
Order intake in the first quarter was a comfortable NOK 9.7 billion, bringing the order backlog at the end of March to a record-high NOK 37.7 billion. Aker Kvaerner's main markets developed favourably and early-phase study work and bidding activity was high.
Cash flow from operating activities in the first quarter was negative NOK 886 million, which is in line with expectations. This reflects a NOK 1 228 million increase in net current operating assets from year-end 2004. The liquidity buffer, including undrawn credit facilities of NOK 1.6 billion, was at the end of March a comfortable NOK 4.0 billion. Repayment of debt over the last 12 months amounts to NOK 900 million, whereof NOK 300 million in the first quarter of 2005.
One of the main focus areas of Aker Kvaerner is to continuously improve operational efficiency. Various change programmes have been implemented throughout the group. Competitiveness has been strengthened resulting in a healthy and well-balanced order backlog. The overall predictability and robustness of the group are steadily improving.
The accounts of Aker Kvaerner are as from 1 January 2005 presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The most important consequences of the transition from Norwegian GAAP are described on page 4 in the report and in the enclosure "Restatement of Aker Kvaerner's accounts for 2004 on the basis of IFRS".
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