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Nordkalk Corporation: Profit improved, net sales increased

Stock Exchange Release Published 29/01/2003

Financial Year 2002

  • operating profit rose to 35.2 EUR (2001:24.1) million (+46%)
  • net sales increased to EUR 252.0 (215.9) million (+17%)
  • Finnish investor group to become Nordkalk´s new owner

Nordkalk Group

Nordkalk´s sales increased compared to the previous year. The trend was positive in all three customer segments – industry, agriculture and environmental management – but the biggest increase took place within industry. Especially sales to the paper industry increased as the subsidiary Suomen Karbonaatti Oy brought into use new capacity for the production of paper pigment in Lappeenranta, Finland. Sales to the steel and building material industry increased slightly.

Compared to year 2001, sales to the agricultural sector increased, as well as

sales of environmental products for flue gas cleaning, water treatment and liming of lakes and waterways.

Consolidated net sales and operating profit

Consolidated net sales increased to 252.0 EUR (215.9) million, which is an increase of 17 per cent.

Consolidated operating profit grew by 46 per cent to EUR 35.2 (24.1) million, which is 14.0 (11.2) per cent of net sales.

Depreciation according to plan amounted to EUR 22.2 (21.2) million.

Profit after financial items was EUR 20.0 (18.0) million, representing 7.9 (8.3) per cent of net sales. The entry of EUR 6.9 million in the financial items is the additional return for the years 1999-2002 on the capital loan which Nordkalk issued in 1999.

Return on capital employed was 15.3 (11.0) percent.

Total assets were EUR 300.7 (Dec. 31, 2001:297.2) million. The equity to total assets ratio was 71.1 (70.8) per cent including the outstanding convertible capital loan.

Investments

Total investment during the period amounted to EUR 29.4 (33.0) million.

In June Nordkalk AB acquired from Hydro Agri AB a production plant in Landskrona in Southern Sweden. The plant includes grinding and storage facilities for production and handling of limestone-based products. Nordkalk had operated previously at Landskrona in co-operation with Hydro Agri AB. The acquisition strengthens Nordkalk’s position in Southern Sweden and enables it to provide the surrounding markets with all types of limestone-based products.

Nordkalk´s subsidiary Suomen Karbonaatti Oy started a further expansion of capacity for processing paper pigment products in Lappeenranta, Finland. The investment of EUR 16.5 million strengthens the company´s position as Finland’s largest producer of coating pigments for paper and cardboard. The investment will be brought into use in the first half of 2003 and the production capacity will be raised by about 30 per cent.

Change of ownership

On December 3, 2002 an agreement was signed, by which Partek will sell the entire share capital of Nordkalk Corporation to NK-Holding Oy Ab. The owner of NK-Holding is a Finnish investor group, which comprises Ahlström Capital Oy (27,8 %), the funds managed by CapMan (27,8 %) and a group of mainly institutional investors including Stiftelsen för Åbo Akademi, Veritas Group, Alandia-Group and Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland.

The sale of Nordkalk was preceded by an international bidding competition.

In accordance with the agreement, the acquisition price is EUR 270 million. Nordkalk's EUR 100 million Going Public Bond and the company's interest-bearing net debt will be deducted from the acquisition price. The transaction is subject to competition authority approval and it is expected to be finalized in the beginning of 2003.

When the transaction is finalized, a right will arise for the holders of the Nordkalk 1999 Going Public Bond to request redemption of the bonds according to the terms of the loan.

Shares

Partek Corporation, which is part of KONE Corporation, owns 100 per cent of Nordkalk Corporation’s shares. Once the transaction has been approved, all the shares will be transfered to NK-Holding Oy Ab.

Personnel

The total number of employees in Nordkalk Group was 1,311 (1,308) at the end of the year.

The average number of employees in 2001 was 1,341 (1,433).

A new programme, called 55+ , was initiated during the year. The programme aims to improve the older employees´ chances to keep working until retirement. Another goal is to keep the professional knowledge in the company and to transfer it to the younger employees.

Research and Development

Total R&D expenditure increased to EUR 4.5 (3.9) million, which represents 1.8 (1.8) per cent of net sales. During the past year the focus of the R&D activities remained on products for industrial processes, e.g. in paper and building material industry. Another important group for R&D is made up of environmental uses.

In the field of geology, prospecting of new stone reserves is continuously going on. During the past year a lot of work was done in order to standardize the quality routines of quarrying, and special focus was on Poland.

Environment and quality

All production plants in Finland and all operations in Sweden have been certified according to the ISO 14001 environmental standard. In Poland and Estonia environmental audits are organized at regular basis.

Board of Directors, President and Auditors

Members of the Board of Directors :


Kari Heinistömember, chairman since May 23, 2002
Carl-Gustaf Bergströmmember
Patrick Enckellmember
Christer Sundströmmember and President of Nordkalk Corporation
Christoffer Taxellchairman, resigned the board on May 22, 2002

Auditors were Solveig Törnroos-Huhtamäki, APA, and KPMG Wideri Oy Ab, with Juha-Pekka Mylén, APA, as main responsible auditor.

Board's proposal for the distribution of profits

Profit available for distribution for the Nordkalk parent company is EUR 31.4 million and EUR 9.8 million for the Nordkalk Group. The board proposes that no dividend be paid and that the year’s profit is left in retained earnings in the balance sheet.

Prospects for year 2003

Total sales of Nordkalk are expected to continue to increase during 2003.

Pargas, January 29, 2003

The Board of Directors

Unaudited

Nordkalk Corporation

Nordkalk is the leading producer of high quality limestone-based products in Northern Europe. The products are used mainly in the steel, pulp and paper industries as well as in environmental care and agriculture. The product brand is Nordkalk.