The decision is a result of the major changes Hydro has gone through over the last 10-15 years, going from a conglomerate operating in several business sectors to a pure aluminium company with its own significant electric power production.

Fertilizer production, which played such an important role in Hydro's history, went over to Yara when it was spun off from Hydro in 2004. The petrochemical business was sold to Ineos in 2008, while magnesium production was wound down in 2001 in the face of severe competition from China.

"For many years Hydro has made a major effort to develop the industrial park and encourage the creation of new businesses in Grenland. As a result, there are now around 80 companies here at Herøya with a total of 2500 employees," says executive vice president Eivind Kallevik in Hydro.

He notes that there are only about 75 Hydro employees left in Herøya. Most of them work on operating and developing the industry park itself, and in the research centre.

"The decision to sell is therefore a natural consequence of developments in Hydro and at Herøya Industripark in recent years," he says.

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(Photo: Hydro/Tom Riis)