Hydro profits take a dive

After-tax profits at industrial concern Norsk Hydro for 2001 fell by nearly half from their record-high level the year before. The company blames the fall in oil prices and trouble in its light metals division.

Hydro logged after-tax net of NOK 7.89 billion, down from NOK 13.98 billion in 2000. The results nonetheless are the next best in the company's history.

Hydro also noted that its agricultural division has completed a comprehensive improvement process and achieved higher profitability.

Chief executive Eivind Reiten said the overall profits came despite "difficult market conditions for important products," and he noted the 2001 results were strong.

"However, we cannot be satisfied," Reiten said. "We still have work to do before we can offer a good enough return on the company's total capital."