UPDATE 2-Kentz appoints new CEO, ups 2011 guidance

Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:39am EST

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By Tom Bergin

LONDON, Jan 20 - (Reuters) - Oil industry engineering and construction provider Kentz named a new chief executive on Friday and told investors 2011 results would be slightly ahead of market expectations.

The company said chief operating officer Christian Brown would replace Chief Executive Hugh O'Donnell as of Feb. 1, who grew the group from a small Irish-based group to a $830 million international player over the past 12 years.

Brown joined Kentz last year, after a 20 year career with KBR and Foster Wheeler, as part of a rash of high level appointments. Emphasising the group's continued overseas growth ambitions, Brown will be based in Houston.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley said the leadership changes also suggested the company would "increasingly look for bolt-on acquisitions going forward".

The company's order backlog of $2.4 billion at the end of 2011 was up 50 percent from December 2010, aided by new awards, it said.

Kentz expects development to continue in Russia, Australia and Canada.

Analysts at Evolution Securities raised the company's shares to "buy" from hold.

Shares of the company, whose clients include oil giants such as Exxon Mobil, traded down 1.1 percent at 1017 GMT, in line with the drop in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index .

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