SOURCE: Leroy Seafood Group ASA

February 26, 2008 01:30 ET

Preliminary figures for 2007

BERGEN, NORWAY--(Marketwire - February 26, 2008) -

In 2007, Lerøy Seafood Group had consolidated operating revenues of 6,291 million, which is an increase from 5.617 million in 2006. The Group's operating profit before fair value adjustment of biomass was 387 million in 2007 against a corresponding figure of 684 million in 2006. The Group's operating margin before fair value adjustment of biomass amounted to 6.41% in 2007 compared to 13.7% in 2006. The Group's net financial items in 2007 were minus 70 million compared to minus 40 million in 2006. Profit on sale of shares in Egersund Fisk AS amounted to 25 million, and is included in net financial items in 2007. The Group's profit before tax and before fair value adjustment of biomass was 367 million compared to a corresponding figure of 758 in 2006.

Earnings per share in 2007 were NOK 5.80 compared to NOK 14.00 in 2006. The Board will recommend to the company's Ordinary General Assembly that the dividend for 2007 is set at NOK 1.80 per share. The Group's return on capital employed (ROCE) before fair value adjustment biomass was 9.85% in 2007 compared to 31.06% in 2006. The Group's financial position is solid with an accounting equity of 3,779 million, corresponding to an equity ratio of 50.34%. In the first quarter of 2007, the number of shares outstanding was increased from 42,777,368 shares to 53,577,368 shares. The Group's net interest-bearing debt per 31.12.2007 was 1,754 million compared to a corresponding figure of 1,450 million per 31.12.2006. The Group's financial position is good, and will be utilized to create increased value through organic growth, alliance building and acquisitions.

Income from affiliated companies was 36 million in 2007 compared to 129 million in 2006. The income decrease was, among other things, due to the fact that Lerøy Hydrotech AS no longer is booked as an affiliated company, and the comparison effect amounted to 44 million. In addition to this, the Group's share of fair value adjustmentof biomass for Norskott Havbruk AS was a negative value of 14 million in 2007 compared to a positive value of 9 million in 2006.

The Group aims to generate sustainable values through its activities. For this reason there are stringent requirements to risk management and long-term thinking in the development of sustainable, strategic business processes. During the past years the Group has become one of the world's leading producer of salmon and salmontrout, and has confirmed its position as a major part of the seafood distribution in Norway and Sweden, and strengthened its position as the leading exporter of seafood in Norway. The Group has, in a combination of takeovers and building alliances, made it possible to offer its key national customers a cost efficient national distribution of fresh seafood. The Group's focus on sales, distribution, and processing will be further strengthened the coming years. The Group's processing activities in Sweden and factories in France are examples of possible target areas in the future. It is the Board's belief that the Group's strategic and financial positions in conjunction with current earnings will enable the Group also in the future to be an active participant in the seafood industry's value generating structural changes regionally and globally. Lerøy Seafood Group will therefore continue to consider possible investment and merger alternatives as well as alliances which can strengthen the basis for further profitable growth and creation of sustainable values. Lerøy Seafood Group shall develop further and grow through regional development in a global perspective.

The Group's level of activity is good, and the Board believes future prospects for the Group to be favourable. Considering the international nature of the Group's activities, developments in the world economy will always have an impact on the Group's activities. So far in the first quarter of 2008, the price level of Atlantic salmon is somewhat higher than for the fourth quarter last year. The company expects more stable market conditions for Atlantic salmon in 2008 compared to 2007. This, compared to a continued productivity improvement for the Group justifies continued positive profit development.

In 2007, the Group exported, in line with its market strategy, a wide range of seafood products from Norway to a considerable number of countries. The largest markets were France, Japan, USA, and Sweden. We are also happy to see a positive development and strengthened position in our national distribution activities. Demand for the Group's products is good. The competitive situation in the international food markets requires the company to continue to seek profitable growth and customer satisfaction through cost effective and market-oriented solutions. The Board believes that the Group's strategic business development over the past few years, together with the underlying growth in productivity and market adjusted structure, provide a robust platform for earnings in the coming years.

Questions and comments may be addressed to President and CEO Ole-Eirik Lerøy, +47 55 21 36 50

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