The increase in earnings was driven by a higher share of value-add business in line with Sapa’s strategy, as well as continuous internal improvements. The fourth quarter of 2015 was also negatively affected by non-operational effects.
Underlying EBIT for 2016 improved compared with 2015 driven by value-add strategy and improved cost position for Extrusion Europe and successful restructuring efforts in Building Systems and Precision Tubing. Results for Extrusion North America were stable despite operational challenges and a softening of certain markets.
Net interest-bearing debt at the end of 2016 amounted to roughly NOK 0.1 billion, down from about NOK 1.8 billion at the end of 2015.
In North America, demand for extruded products increased by 1.9 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Compared to the previous quarter, demand decreased by 8.2 percent due to seasonality. For the full year, North American demand for extruded products grew 2.1 percent over 2015. The increase was driven by higher building and construction activities and stronger automotive demand, partly offset by a weaker transportation segment.
In Europe, demand for extruded products increased by around 1.3 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Compared to the previous quarter, demand declined 7.3 percent, due to seasonality. For the full year, extruded products demand in Europe grew 1.5 percent over 2015. The increase was driven mainly by stronger automotive and transportation demand and a somewhat improved building and construction market.
Demand for extruded products is expected to seasonally improve going into the first quarter of 2017.
Developments in Q4 vs. Q3
Underlying EBIT for the fourth quarter decreased compared to the previous quarter, mainly due to seasonally lower market demand.
Key financial figures, Sapa
Key financial figures, by business area