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Press release Orkla sells Elkem to China National Bluestar

Nachrichtenquelle: GlobeNewswire
11.01.2011, 07:00  |  3371   |   |   

Orkla ASA has signed a binding agreement with China National Bluestar (Group)
Co., Ltd (Bluestar) for the purchase and sale of Elkem. The transaction
comprises Elkem Silicon Materials, Elkem Foundry Products, Elkem Carbon and
Elkem Solar. According to the agreement, the sales price is USD 2 billion for
Elkem before closing- and capital structure adjustments. The agreement includes
the 1.5 TWh/year power contract Orkla acquired last year which will ensure that
Elkem´s smelting plants in Norway will have a secure and long-term competitive
power base. Orkla will remain the owner of the shares in Elkem Energi AS,
including its 85 % stake in AS Saudefaldene.

Bluestar is a leading China-based international chemicals and new materials
company, with 2010 sales in excess of USD 6 billion and Head Office in Beijing.
The company is 80%-owned by the Chinese state-owned company ChemChina, with the
remaining 20 % owned by the US private equity firm Blackstone Group. Since 2006
Bluestar has performed a number of international acquisitions, including Adisseo
and Rhodia´s Silicones business in France, and the Australian company Qenos.

Elkem will become an important part of Bluestar´s operations going forward. With
this transaction Bluestar will strengthen its competitiveness in the silicone
industry and broaden its footprint in adjacent markets. All of Elkem´s business
areas and technologies are important for supporting the booming Chinese economy
and will help the country in reaching its global climate targets.  Elkem Solar´s
technology for the highly energy-efficient and environment-friendly production
of solar-grade silicon reduces the risk of emitting environmentally damaging
substances and enjoys a significantly lower energy consumption than traditional
technologies. Elkem is in a worldwide leading position in this new technology.

 "It is important to secure that Elkem has a new owner able to further develop
its potential and keep its competence and resources united. In Bluestar, Elkem
will have an owner that has solid financial capacity and is well positioned in
the world´s largest market for metals and renewables. Bluestar has the best
attributes to take advantage of the potential of Elkem´s technological strength
and competence", states Bjørn M. Wiggen, President and CEO of Orkla ASA."

Helge Aasen, CEO of Elkem, comments as follows: "China is or will be the biggest
and highest-growth market for silicon metal, foundry products, solar-grade
silicon and other products offered by Elkem. I believe that by joining forces
with Bluestar Elkem will have a strong platform for promoting its technological
leadership and securing a prosperous development going forward. For Elkem, with
Bluestar as our new owner, we will achieve one of our main targets, namely a
stronger presence in Asia in general and in China in particular. This will
strengthen the position of our plants, both in Norway and in the rest of the
world. In addition, Elkem will also have the opportunity to take a leading role
in the upgrading and further development of Bluestar´s silicon-related
operations, especially in China. We look forward to working with our new
colleagues from Bluestar. "

Mr Ren Jianxin, President of Chemchina and Chairman of Bluestar, sees strong
potential for a combined Elkem-Bluestar organisation:

 "Elkem will play an active role in promoting the international and
technological management  of Bluestar´s business, further expanding Bluestar´s
silicone industry chain and improving its  global competitiveness.. Combining
Bluestar with Elkem will be of great benefit to both companies:  For Elkem, its
access to Asia, and especially China will be significantly enhanced going
forward, which is a real advantage given the size and growth of China and Asia
for most of Elkem´s products. For Bluestar, the combination with Elkem will give
them access to Elkem´s excellent management experience and industry-leading
technological know-how. We strongly believe in the huge potential for Elkem´s
new solar-grade technology with its leading energy efficiency and environmental
safety characteristics.  I am welcoming Elkem into the Bluestar family as I am
convinced that our diversity in terms of management background and technology,
industry experience, culture and regional footprint will be the source of our
combined strength.

The transaction will not involve significant changes to Elkem´s main structure
or to the operation of its existing plants. Completion of the transaction is
subject to the approval by certain Chinese and competition authorities, as well
as the approval by the Norwegian authorities. Completion is expected during the
1(st) half of 2011.

Bluestar was assisted by The Royal Bank of Scotland as financial advisor, and
Selmer and Skadden as legal advisors. Orkla was assisted by Moelis & Company as
financial advisor and Thommessen as legal advisor.

A press conference will be held at Orkla`s head office at Skøyen in Oslo, today
at 10.00 CET. The press conference will be webcasted at www.orkla.com.

Orkla ASA
Oslo, 11 January 2011

For more information please contacts:

Bjørn Wiggen, CEO Orkla ASA:  +47 22 54 45 38

Helge Aasen, CEO Elkem AS and Elkem Solar AS:  +47 22 45 01 43

Rune Helland, SVP Investor Relations, Orkla ASA:  +47 22 54 44 11

Johan Chr. Hovland, SVP Corporate Communications

and Public Affairs, Orkla ASA: +47 91 76 34 91

Robert LU, CEO Bluestar: +86 10 64 45 23 26

Yougen GE, Assistant of CEO, Bluestar: +86 10 64 45 23 00

Yuxin XI, Communication Director, Bluestar: +86 10 64 45 22 83

This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of
Thomson Reuters clients. The owner of this announcement warrants that:
(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and
other applicable laws; and
(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and
originality of the information contained therein.

Source: Orkla ASA via Thomson Reuters ONE


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