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BioMarine Loses its President

NORWAY - Helge Midttun is stepping down as President and CEO of Aker BioMarine, effective yesterday.

Kjell Inge Røkke will for the coming period take charge of leading the company, which is 82.9 per cent owned by Aker.”Helge Midttun has made a substantial contribution in building up Aker BioMarine since November 2006. Aker and Aker’s main shareholder, Kjell Inge Røkke, want to play a more significant role in the further development of the biotechnology company. We and Mr Midttun have agreed to implement a change of leadership at the company,” says Leif-Arne Langøy, CEO of Aker and chairman of Aker and Aker BioMarine.

”The timing of this change of leadership is right for me and for the company. As we have reached this conclusion, it is important that I step down immediately,” says Mr Midttun.

"Aker BioMarine has always excited me and meant a lot to me, and it still does."
Helge Midttun

Aker BioMarine has strengthened its position throughout the value chain under Mr Midttun’s leadership – from sustainable krill harvesting to selling premium products under its own brand. The company combines knowledge about deep water fishing and harvesting with marine biotechnology. Aker BioMarine has built up a strong and competent organisation to operate and expand with food supplements/ingredients in the foods, aquaculture and pharmaceutical markets.

Start-up challenges related to the transition from small-scale manufacturing to industrial production of krill oil for human consumption have been solved in the second quarter. The dietary supplement Superba™ is now being produced ahead of the official product launch in the US and other markets from the fourth quarter of 2008.

“I am proud of what we have achieved during two exciting and challenging years in Aker BioMarine. It is only natural that a new leader is taking the company into a new phase, says Mr Midttun.

Helge Midttun will, according to his contract of employment, receive his regular salary during a six-month notice period, plus one year’s salary, which amounts to NOK 4 million in total.

Kjell Inge Røkke steps in to take charge at Aker BioMarine for the coming period. Aker’s main shareholder has for many years been instrumental in developing krill harvesting. Fishermen and other industry experts at Aker’s seafood companies have through the years tried to overcome challenges related to harvesting krill in a sustainable manner at the same time as effectively producing Omega-3 bound as marine phospholipids. Mr Røkke has taken a strong personal interest in trying to solve this challenge.

”Aker BioMarine has always excited me and meant a lot to me, and it still does. I will spend a significant part of my working hours and energy on the company going forward,” says Kjell Inge Røkke.

Kjell Inge Røkke and the company have agreed on an salary of NOK 1. The difference between this amount and the former CEO’s salary – about NOK 2.5 million – will contribute to potential bonuses for the other members of Aker BioMarine’s top management, and others who make an extra effort at the company.