UPDATE 2-Technip sees higher profit and sales in 2013
* Year revenue up 20.4 pct to 8.2 bln euros
* Sees higher profit and sales in 2013
* Expects 2013 sales of 9.1-9.5 bln euros
* Order book of 14.3 bln euros at end-2012
* Shares up 1.6 percent (Adds share price, analyst comments, details)
By Alice Cannet
PARIS, Feb 21 (Reuters) - French oil services group Technip expects profit and revenue to rise this year thanks to a record order book, it said when reporting 2012 results that met forecasts, calming investor nerves.
A profit warning from bigger Italian rival Saipem on Jan. 30 sent shockwaves through what was seen as a buoyant sector, hitting Technip shares at the time.
"Technip starts 2013 with a substantial, profitable backlog of business to execute. We believe our markets, whilst competitive and never immune to general economic conditions, remain robust and growing," it said on Thursday.
Oil companies, helped by prices above $100 per barrel , have raised exploration spending, venturing into areas requiring new techniques to get access to oil - such as the Arctic or very deep seas off west Africa.
The builder of oil rigs and refineries said sales last year rose 20 percent rise to 8.20 billion euros, beating its own 8 billion target and compared with a forecast for 8.04 billion in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll.
Technip forecast 2013 revenue would rise 11-16 percent to 9.1-9.5 billion euros ($12.2-$12.7 billion), with sales in its fast-growing subsea division of 4.3-4.6 billion and revenue in its bigger onshore/offshore business of 4.7-5.1 billion.
An operating margin of around 15 percent was expected in its subsea business, compared with 14.9 percent last year, and 6-7 percent in the onshore/offshore business, against 7 percent in 2012, it said.
Societe Generale analyst Guillaume Delaby said in a note the 2013 guidance was very strong both in terms of revenue and implied margin, adding Technip's comments should calm fears.
Aside from the outlook, the main surprise came from the record backlog, he said, which was helped by a strong fourth-quarter order intake of 2.9 billion euros.
Technip's order backlog stood at 14.3 billion euros at end-2012, up from 10.4 billion a year earlier and including 6 billion from its subsea division. Half the backlog is expected to be worked through this year.
Technip shares were up 1.6 percent at 1210 GMT, compared with a 1.8 percent lower French blue-chip CAC40 index.
Technip's 2012 current operating income reached 822 million euros, against a forecast for 794 million, giving it a margin of 10 percent. Net income reached 540 million euros, up 6.4 percent and in line with expectations.
Revenue at Technip's fast-growing subsea business rose 36 percent over the full year to 4.05 billion euros, while the unit's current operating profit grew 21 percent to 603 million.
Technip expanded its subsea unit when it bought U.S.-based Global Industries in 2011 and broadened its downstream technology and engineering offering with the purchase of Stone & Webster in May.
The company hopes to benefit from the shale gas boom which has driven petrochemical investments.
Its dividend was raised 6 percent to 1.68 euros. ($1 = 0.7479 euro) (Editing by Dan Lalor and James Regan)