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2016-11-24

Aspo Investor Event: ESL Shipping's long-term profitability is expected to improve and net sales are expected to grow

ASPO Plc STOCK EXCHANGE RELEASE November 24, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

Aspo investor EVENT: ESL Shipping's long-term profitability is expected to
improve and net sales are expected to grow
Conglomerate Aspo will host an investor event in Helsinki today on November
24, 2016, starting from 11:00 a.m. The event will start with a review of Aspo
Group, after which focus will be shifted to ESL Shipping, one of Aspo's
subsidiaries. ESL Shipping is the leading shipping company transporting dry
bulk cargo in the Baltic Sea. Its purpose is to secure raw material
transportation for the industry and energy production around the year, even
under difficult weather conditions. The company's key customer segments
include the steel, energy and mining industries. In 2015, the company
launched a significant investment in two new vessels - the first LNG-fueled
Handysize dry bulk carriers in the world.

Event's presentation material in English will be available today at 11:00 a.m.
on the company's website at www.aspo.fi. A video of the comments of Aspo's
CEO in Finnish will be available on the Aspo website on the following day.

ESL Shipping is looking for an increase in net sales and an operating profit
rate of 20-24%

ESL Shipping expects its net sales to grow and its operating profit to
increase to a level of 20-24% by 2020. In 2015, its operating profit rate was
approximately 19%. The company is looking for growth from the additional
capacity offered by its new vessels, a larger customer base and the
opportunities presented by new business areas. The company can improve its
profitability, for example, through its new energy-efficient vessels.
ESL Shipping will receive funding of at most EUR 5.9 million from the EU
Motorways of the Sea program as part of the Bothnia Bulk project it
coordinates

ESL Shipping is building two LNG-fueled Handysize dry bulk carriers of 25,600
DWT. They will be the first of their kind in the world and completed in China
during 2018. The new vessels will operate in the northern Baltic Sea,
improving the efficiency of the transportation chain and significantly
reducing the environmental load of operations. The shipping company invests a
total of approximately EUR 60 million in the new vessels. The EU supports
energy-efficiency and environmental investments in ships. ESL Shipping will
receive funding of at most EUR 5.9 million in 2016-2019, of which EUR 2.1
million will be paid in 2016. In addition to ESL Shipping, the Bothnia Bulk
project involves SSAB Europe Oy, Luleå Hamn AB, Oxelösunds Hamn AB, Raahen
Satama Oy and Raahen Voima Oy. The EU funding has been awarded from the
Connecting Europe Facility for Transport instrument.

ESL Shipping has signed vessel financing agreements of EUR 50 million
Today on November 24, 2016, ESL Shipping has signed vessel financing
agreements with OP Corporate Bank Plc to finance newbuilding projects. The
total value of the two separate agreements is EUR 50 million, and the loan
period is seven years. The repayment schedule includes a grace period of
three years and a payback profile of 12 years. The new agreements extend the
average maturity of Aspo Group's financing and, on their part, reduce the
average financing rate.

Aspo Group's financial objectives remain unchanged, target year specified
Aspo's financial objectives remain unchanged. With its current structure, the
company is looking for an operating profit of 7%, an average return on equity
of over 20% and gearing of up to 100%. Aspo specifies that its aim is to
reach these objectives by 2020.

Aspo Group's strategy will remain unchanged. The key factors of the strategy
are diversity, operating in eastern growth markets and the ability to
implement structural changes. Aspo will keep its dividend distribution policy
unchanged and, on average, will distribute at least half of the annual profit
in dividends. Aspo's Board of Directors previously announced that it will
propose a transition to a twice-a-year distribution policy to the Annual
Shareholders' Meeting to be held in spring 2017.

The guidance for 2016 specified in the January-September interim report will
remain unchanged. Aspo's operating profit will be approximately EUR 19-22
(20.6) million in 2016.

ASPO Plc

Aki Ojanen
CEO
Further information:
Aki Ojanen, CEO, Aspo Plc, tel. +358 400 106 592,aki.ojanen(a)aspo.comand
Mikki Koskinen, Managing Director ESL Shipping Ltd, tel. +358 50 351
7791,mikki.koskinen(a)eslshipping.com

Distribution:
Nasdaq Helsinki
Key Media
www.aspo.com
Aspo
is a conglomerate that owns and develops business operations in Northern
Europe and growth markets focusing on demanding B-to-B customers. Our strong
company brands - ESL Shipping, Leipurin, Telko and Kauko - aim to be the
market leaders in their sectors. They are responsible for their own
operations, customer relationships and the development of these. Together
they generate Aspo's goodwill. Aspo's Group structure and business operations
are continually developed without any predefined schedules.

ESL Shipping
is the leading carrier of dry bulk cargoes in the Baltic Sea region. The
company's main clients are the steel, energy and mining industries. Present
fleet consists of 14 vessel units, of which the company owned 13 in full and
one was leased. In 2015 the cargo volume carried was 11.1 million tons. ESL
Shipping ensures availability of raw materials for industries and energy
production throughout the year even in difficult climate conditions. Special
services include loading and unloading of large ocean carriers at sea.

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This announcement is distributed by Nasdaq Corporate Solutions on behalf of Nasdaq Corporate Solutions clients.
The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Aspo Oyj via Globenewswire

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