UPDATE 1-Dubai's Drake and Scull Q4 net profit beats view
* Drake Q4 net profit 46 mln dirhams vs 42 mln dirhams year-ago
* Q4 revenue 1.2 bln dirhams
* Co to see more orders in Saudi, Qatar in Q1 - CFO (Adds details)
DUBAI, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Contractor Drake & Scull International reported a higher fourth-quarter profit on Thursday as the firm's projects in Saudi Arabia gained momentum.
Drake, in which Goldman Sachs Inc bought warrants worth $40 million, reported a fourth-quarter net profit of 46 million dirhams ($12.5 million), the company said in a statement on Dubai's bourse.
This compares to a net profit of 42 million dirhams reported during the same period in 2011, a spokesman told Reuters after the announcement.
The earnings beat estimates of four analysts who forecast an average quarterly net profit of 17.5 million dirhams.
Revenue for the quarter was 1.2 billion dirhams.
Drake, which specialises in mechanical, engineering and plumbing (MEP) operations, has been gradually expanding its operations outside of Dubai following a slowdown in the emirate's once-booming real estate sector.
The company attributed its fourth quarter growth to construction progress in its civil projects across Saudi, one of the contractor's key markets.
Drake's joint venture with Arabian Construction Co won a new $720 million contract in Saudi Arabia in December, one among a series of contract wins last year in the kingdom.
"We expect substantial announcements in Q1 for the civil and MEP businesses in our primary markets and particularly in Saudi Arabia and Qatar," Chief Financial Officer Osama Hamdan said in the statement.
Goldman Sachs bought warrants worth 147 million dirhams ($40 million) in Drake less than a week after helping arrange a loan facility for the contracting firm.
Drake said its total order backlog reached 9.1 billion dirhams, representing a year-on-year increase of 30 percent.