Aker ASA: Second quarter and half-year results 2020 – Net Asset Value of NOK 34.3 billion. Unlocks growth opportunities in renewable energy and green technology industries
The Net Asset Value (“NAV”) of Aker ASA and holding companies (“Aker”) increased by 10.1 billion in the second quarter 2020 to NOK 34.3 billion, representing a quarterly value growth of 42 per cent. In light of the current market reality and outlook, Aker is taking an active role to unlock new growth opportunities for its core businesses, while simultaneously pivoting to position itself for a renewable energy transition.
The Aker share price increased by 48.7 per cent to NOK 350.40 in the second quarter, outperforming the Oslo Stock Exchange benchmark index at 12.5 per cent. For the first half of the year, the share price has seen a decline of 35.5 per cent, compared to 14.6 per cent for the reference index. In the same period, the NAV has declined 31.4 per cent, weighed down by the impact of Covid-19 and decline in global oil demand and activity.
Prior to dividend allocation, the per-share NAV amounted to NOK 461 as per 30 June 2020, compared to NOK 325 and NOK 673, as per 31 March 2020 and 31 December 2019, respectively.
“Despite large parts of the world being in lockdown, the first half year has been nothing short of transformative for the Aker group. We are taking an active role to protect shareholder value, seizing opportunities for our core businesses, while simultaneously pivoting for renewable energy industries and green technologies of the future,” says Øyvind Eriksen, President & CEO of Aker ASA.
Aker today announces the establishment of Aker Horizons, a group wholly owned by Aker, dedicated to develop and operate companies in growing renewable energy and low-carbon technology segments.
“At a time when renewables have developed from niche technologies to global industries, Aker’s ambitions exceed the announced spin-offs in Aker Solutions. We are charging ahead and taking steps to meet future needs and opportunities. By establishing Aker Horizons, we take an active role to position ourselves in a broader and rapidly growing renewable energy industry. We will continue to capitalise on the industrial expertise in the group, including experience with deployment of industrial software and digitalisation, and supplier capabilities retained in the future merged Aker Solutions and Kvaerner,” says Eriksen.
Reference is made to the 17 July 2020 stock exchange announcement by Aker Solutions ASA (“Aker Solutions”) regarding the decision to spin off Aker Solutions’ offshore wind and CCUS platform into two separate entities, and the subsequent merger between Aker Solutions and Kværner ASA (“Kvaerner”) to form an optimised supplier company. The spin-off companies, Aker Offshore Wind and Aker Carbon Capture, will form the basis for Aker Horizons’ portfolio of industrial segments, organised in separate companies, but closely connected through a shared functional team in Aker Horizons. Aker Horizons will work to ensure activities are optimised across entire value chains, capitalise on internal expertise, and effectively engage with leading partners and alliances, including the future merged Aker Solutions and Kvaerner.
The spin-off companies will continue to build on the expertise developed in Aker Solutions. For Aker Offshore Wind, this includes expertise within floating design, jacket design, project execution and maintenance, while Aker Carbon Capture will build on proven and leading capture technology and projects developed over 20 years. Aker will guarantee the capitalisation of the spin-offs through two private placements to be carried out for each of the companies to secure sufficient funding for their next phase of development. It is then contemplated to admit shares in the companies to trading on Merkur Market, operated by the Oslo Stock Exchange. The intention is to distribute Aker Solutions’ shares in Aker Offshore Wind and Aker Carbon Capture to the shareholders as dividend. Aker maintains the role as majority shareholder and will be a driving force in the companies’ continued development.
The Norwegian government supports the spin-off transactions and has reserved the right to participate in the private placements through Aker Kvaerner Holding (“AKH”). Aker has also reached an agreement with the government to subsequently dissolve AKH, whereby its indirect ownership in Aker Solutions, Kvaerner and Akastor ASA via AKH is converted into corresponding direct ownership stakes in the said companies. The dissolution of AKH is subject to parliamentary approval the coming autumn.
In order to position Aker Horizons within onshore wind, Aker has made a conditional offer to acquire at least 90 per cent of outstanding shares in onshore wind developer, NBT AS (“NBT”) at a price of NOK 70 per share, implying an equity value of NOK 3.1 billion. The transaction is subject to several conditions, including a due diligence process, parliamentary approval of a new tariff regime in Ukraine, and financing of the Zophia project, which is among Europe’s largest onshore windfarm developments. In conjunction with the conditional offer, Aker has increased its existing ownership in NBT from 8.3 per cent to 12.8 per cent for a consideration of NOK 122 million. In addition, Aker has provided NBT a secured financial facility of NOK 178 million for immediate pipeline growth.
“Covid-19 has amplified and accelerated trends and transitions that will only strengthen moving forward, including new software solutions for asset-heavy industries, more renewable energy, as well as a rapidly developing global healthcare system. For Aker, this only means that our vigilance continues. By developing Cognite, establishing Aker Horizons, and listing Aker BioMarine, Aker has actively positioned itself towards all the three said global trends during the first half of the year,” says Eriksen.
“In parallel, we continue our effort to develop and produce oil and gas at the lowest cost and emissions possible, as the world will demand oil and gas products for the foreseeable future, and we still believe in the value proposition to shareholders. I think we may look back at this time of a pandemic and its widespread repercussions and see that it triggered fundamental changes to our portfolio of industrial activities more swiftly than envisioned before the pandemic and, as a result, created an even more prosperous Aker.”
In response to the effects of Covid-19 and collapse in oil prices, Aker’s Board of Directors previously recommended amending the initial dividend proposal for 2019. The Board has now reached a decision to distribute a cash dividend to shareholders of NOK 11.75 per share. The dividend is based on the 2019 annual accounts, and Aker maintains its aim of semi-annual dividend assessments. The next dividend assessment is expected to be made by the Board in the fourth quarter of this year.
The total value of Aker’s Industrial Holdings portfolio increased by NOK 9.2 billion in the second quarter to NOK 38.2 billion. For the first half of the year, the portfolio has decreased by NOK 16.0 billion. The value of Aker’s Financial Investments portfolio stood at NOK 7.5 billion at the end of the second quarter, compared to NOK 8.7 billion at 31 March 2019 and NOK 7.7 billion at year-end 2019.
Aker’s liquidity reserves, including undrawn credit facilities, stood at NOK 5.9 billion as per 30 June 2020.
The value-adjusted equity ratio for the second quarter was 75 per cent, prior to dividend allocation, compared to 64 per cent at the end of the first quarter and 81 per cent at year-end 2019.
The full report and presentation can be downloaded from www.akerasa.com
Net Asset Value (NAV) is Aker ASA’s core performance indicator. Aker is an investment company with a majority of listed companies in its portfolio. Therefore, NAV is a more relevant indicator of the development of Aker’s underlying value than the company’s consolidated accounts.
For further information, please contact:
Torbjørn Kjus, Chief Economist & Head of Investor Relations
Phone: +47 94 14 77 30
Atle Kigen, Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +47 90 78 48 78
This information is subject of the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.