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AKVA group ASA: 4Q - Positive underlying development

The positive development in the Americas region continues with a quarterly revenue of 127 MNOK,

AKVA group completed fourth quarter with strong growth in revenue and EBITDA. Order intake came out at 557 MNOK (561 MNOK). The revenue in fourth quarter of 2017 ended at 557 MNOK (449 MNOK) with an EBITDA of 60 MNOK (24 MNOK). Fourth quarter EBITDA margin was 10.8% (5.3%). The Net Profit increased to 27 MNOK compared to -8 MNOK in Q4 2016.

Akvagroup Asa

Cage Based Technology (CBT)
In 2017, we have experienced increased revenue and margins in the cage based segment compared to 2016, with the Norwegian market as the main driver to the growth. The acquisitions of AD Offshore and Sperre, done in 2016, is contributing to the growth in revenue and EBITDA.

The positive development in the Americas region continues with a quarterly revenue of 127 MNOK, up from 62 MNOK last year. All our entities in Americas has a stronger quarter than last year in terms of revenue, and order intake ended at a very strong 138 MNOK compared to 66 MNOK in Q4 last year. For EME (Europe & Middle East), we experienced a strong quarter with an order intake of 139 MNOK, including material contracts in Scotland, Russia and Turkey. Our operation in Turkey, Greece, Spain and Middle East delivers according to plan in Q4 2017.
 

Software (SW)
Stronger margins in the Icelandic business in Q4 contributed to an increase in EBITDA margins in the quarter, both compared to previous quarter this year, but also compared to last year. As noted in a stock notice the 19. January, we are currently conducting a strategic evaluation of Wise ehf in order to realize the potential of the business going forward. No conclusions have yet been made.


Land Based Technology (LBT)
Land Based segment experienced increased revenue and EBITDA in the quarter, ending Q4 with an EBITDA margin of 10.8%. The revenue increases as projects in the order book are being delivered. In addition there are several good project opportunities in both Norway, Scotland and Chile for Q1 and Q2 2018.
 

Balance sheet
The balance sheet remains strong. Working capital as a percentage of 12 months rolling revenue is 8.4% (2.2%). The twelve months average working capital is 6.5%. Cash and unused credit facilities amounted to 420 MNOK at the end of Q4 (256 MNOK). Total assets and total equity amounted to 1,663 MNOK (1,376 MNOK) and 500 MNOK (435 MNOK) respectively, resulting in an equity ratio of 30 % (32 %) at the end of Q4.
 

Atlantis Subsea Farming AS
In partnership with the companies Sinkaberg-Hansen AS and Egersund Net AS, AKVA group ASA established Atlantis Subsea Farming AS on February 1st, 2016 with the purpose of developing submersible fish-farming facilities for salmon on an industrial scale.  Atlantis Subsea Farming AS applied for six development licenses to enable large-scale development and testing of the new technology and operational concept.

The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries did inform the company that the concept has progressed another step in the process to be awarded development licenses. The Directorate will go ahead with processing the application limited to 2 licenses, but have rejected the application in terms of the other 4 permits applied for. On May 9th, 2017 the company appealed the decision for 2 of the 4 rejected licenses. On June 16th 2017 the Directorate forwarded the appeal to the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, for their final decision. On December 18th 2017, the Ministry rejected the appeal. The decision is final and cannot be appealed. On February 22nd The Directorate announced that the Company has been granted one license.
 

Dividend
A dividend of NOK 0.75 per share will be paid out in Q1 2018. Total dividend pay out in Q1 2018 will be 19.4 MNOK. The dividend is in accordance to AKVA group's current dividend policy. For further details on dividend please read the full fourth quarter report and/or a separate stock notice regarding dividend.
 

Order Backlog
We have experienced a very strong quarter for new orders in Europe & Middle East as well as in the Americas. The order intake in Q4 2017 was 557 MNOK (561 MNOK). The order backlog at the end of Q4 2017 was 1,381 MNOK (998 MNOK). MNOK 537 of total order backlog at end of Q4 is related to land based technology.
 

Outlook
Following a significant increase in order intake and order backlog in 2017, the outlook for AKVA group is positive for 2018.

The activity in the Nordic cage based segment as well as within services continue to be good. Services and after sales are having high priority in our strategy.

The market conditions in Chile is expected to remain favourable and we have implemented improvements in the operations and product portfolio, which further strengthen our competitive position and presence in that market. The salmon farming industry expects growth in eastern Canada and Iceland and AKVA group has a good position to take part of the growth in these markets.

The strategy to focus the "Non-Salmon" activities around the Mediterranean Sea, has yielded good results in 2017. We will continue to develop and invest in these markets going forward.
The Land Based organization is re-organized during 2017 and is at the beginning of 2018 in even better shape to compete in this segment, where we see increased demand and investments from our customers.

The positive financial development has strengthened the Group, and during 2017 we have also carried out an extensive strategy process, focusing of all aspects of the business to further improve our cost position, product offerings and ability to deliver sustainable aquaculture solutions to our customers.
 


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