OSLO Jan 5 (Reuters) - Norwegian conglomerate Orkla saw slow demand for its Sapa unit's aluminum profiles towards the end of last year and it now looks like 2012 has started roughly in line with the start of 2011, its chief executive said.
"The business in aluminum profiles in Sapa is very strongly affected by the economic development in the world, and there the markets are weak in southern Europe and in North America even though the latter has stabilised somewhat," Chief Executive Bjoern Wiggen told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference on Thursday.
"The development towards the end of last year was that everybody wanted to take down their inventories and perhaps run on somewhat long stoppages in connection with the Christmas holidays, so we are very keen to see how the year will start, and there it looks like we are on level with last year."
Wiggen added that there was not a "considerable" downturn in general, but that there were some weak markets, especially in southern Europe.
"The end of the year was, as expected, fairly bad," he said.