15 Apr 2004

Norske Skog: Improvement measures will be followed by future growth

Norske Skog aims to continue its expansion and retain its position as one of the world's leading suppliers of publication paper.
 
At the annual general meeting in Oslo today, chief executive Jan Oksum made it particularly clear that the group will develop and reinforce its positions in Asian growth markets.
 
Norske Skog ranks today as a global supplier and is thereby better placed than its competitors to serve markets from mills with the lowest costs delivered to customers.
 
Paper mills with good long-term competitiveness will be given priority in terms of investment and development.
 
Mr Oksum also reported on the Hebei project in China. This involves the construction of a new newsprint mill near Beijing, a region with some 100 million inhabitants, by the PanAsia joint venture owned 50 per cent by Norske Skog.
 
Due to provide an annual capacity of 330 000 tonnes, this facility is scheduled to become operational in the second half of 2005.
 
Chinese demand for newsprint has risen sharply in recent years, and the market is expected to continue expanding by almost eight per cent annually until 2010.
 
However, the principal focus at Norske Skog in 2004 will be to complete the Improvement 2003 programme. This is due to enhance results by NOK 2 billion compared with 2002.
 
Chairman Lars Wilhelm Gr°holt noted that even though results for 2003 were weak, Norske Skog's margins are good by comparison with its competitors.
 
"We have initiated the measures needed to ensure that we can deliver good results in the future to shareholders, employees and other stakeholder," he said.

Oxen°en, 15 April 2004

The Corporate News is published by Norske Skog Corporate Communications.
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Email: hanne.aaberg@norskeskog.com