17 February 1998
Fertiliser price fall wipes out Norsk Hydro growth

PLUMMETTING fertiliser prices wiped out profit growth last year at Norsk Hydro, Norways largest quoted industrial group.

Pre-tax profits were static at NKr10.3 billion ($1.35bn) on sales up 13% at NKr96.2bn.

The agriculture division incurred an operating loss of NKr194m in the final quarter compared with profits of NKr386m a year earlier, cleaning out earlier gains.

The withdrawal of China triggered the weakening of the world fertiliser market throughout the year. China shifted to new domestic suppliers from last Spring.

This halved world trade in the product. Expansion of western European production capacity and dumping from eastern Europe exacerbated the problem. Western European fertiliser prices fell more than 25% in the second half as a result.

  • Financial Times 17/02/98 page 26
  • The Daily Telegraph 17/02/98 page 29