Postponement arranged with Quebec Government now expired - Norsk Hydro A.S.A. Now Going Ahead with Sale of Assets and Dismantling of Bécancour Plant



    BECANCOUR, QC, Sept. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Norsk Hydro announced today that
the postponement arranged with the Québec Government has now expired. The
company is to liquidate its Bécancour assets and dismantle the plant.

    Background

    Last March, Norsk Hydro agreed, at the request of Raymond Bachand, Québec
Minister of Economic Development, to postpone the sale of the plant's assets
in order to give the minister and union representatives time to present
alternatives. Norsk Hydro offered to postpone the work until late summer. The
postponement has now expired and no purchase offer has been received. The
Bécancour plant stopped operating on March 10, 2007. The plant closure was
announced in October 2006 and employees were laid off in stages from early
March to mid-April 2007. In July 2006 the company had announced its plans to
withdraw from the magnesium industry worldwide. Hydro has already closed its
magnesium recycling unit in Porsgrunn, Norway. Plants in Bottrop, Germany and
Xi'an, China were sold over the summer.
    A company spokesperson noted that Norsk Hydro had studied several
scenarios and deployed several projects to improve the productivity of the
Bécancour plant. Despite the fact that considerable progress had been made, it
was not enough to keep up with stiffer international competition. The company
has made many efforts over the past few years to streamline the plant and keep
it running, but in the final analysis, none of the scenarios were viable. In
addition, since the plant was closed in March 2007, the value of the Canadian
dollar has reached parity with the U.S. dollar and energy costs have risen
significantly.

    Hydro is a Fortune 500 energy and aluminium supplier with
33,000 employees in nearly 40 countries.




For further information:

For further information: Ahmed Galipeau, AGC Communications, (514)
849-7000, local 226, (514) 349-7001

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NORSK HYDRO CANADA INC.

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