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Aker Solutions Slumps Most in Four Years on Margins: Oslo Mover

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Aker Solutions ASA fell the most in almost four years in Oslo after saying profit margins shrank.

The company, controlled by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke, slumped as much as 13 percent, the biggest drop since April 2009. Aker Solutions, based at Lysaker, posted a fourth-quarter adjusted margin on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 8.9 percent, from 10 percent in the previous three months and 9 percent a year earlier.

Margins were “well below our estimate,” SEB AB said in an e-mail to clients. While subsea and drilling-technology units performed mostly as expected, “the other business segments had fairly large negative deviations,” the investment bank said.

“There were too many negative factors, suggesting it will be challenging to reach our 2013 margin assumption,” said SEB, which cut its recommendation on the stock to hold from buy and lowered its price estimate to 115 kroner from 136 kroner.

Aker slid 11 percent to 107 kroner by 3:47 p.m. in Oslo. More than 5 million shares have traded so far, or six times the three-month daily average. The margins were “disappointing,” Goeran Andreassen, an RS Platou Markets analyst, said by e-mail.

With established oil fields maturing and new finds becoming more difficult to develop, Aker Solutions is betting on growing demand for the drilling and subsea services it offers.

Explorers off Norway, spurred by the biggest finds since the late 1970s, are seen increasing investment in the country’s oil and gas industry by 15 percent to a record 207.8 billion kroner ($37.5 billion) next year, Statistics Norway says.

Aker Solutions plans to double sales by 2017 and is seeking to boost its Ebitda margin to 15 percent from about 10 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alastair Reed in Oslo at areed12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at cwienberg@bloomberg.net

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