UPDATE 1-Pump-maker Weir profit rises on strong mining demand
LONDON Feb 27 (Reuters) - British engineer Weir posted a forecast-beating 12 percent rise in profits in 2012, as strong demand for its pumps from mining companies offset a weaker performance in oil and gas.
The pumps and valves maker posted full-year pretax profit of 443 million pounds ($670.37 million), ahead of the 396 million it made in 2011, and beating a consensus forecast of 434 million from a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 21 analysts.
Profit growth was underpinned by demand for Weir's products and services from mining companies, particularly from copper and gold projects in South America and Africa.
Weir's pumps are also used by shale oil and gas producers in the U.S. to force sand and chemicals into the ground to fracture the rocks, but low gas prices resulted in a decline in drilling activity in the second half of the year.
"Looking ahead into 2013, despite more challenging markets, the group will continue to deliver profitable growth," Chief Executive Keith Cochrane said in a statement on Wednesday.
The company said it will raise its full-year dividend by 15 percent to 38 pence and that a double digit increase was also planned for 2013.
Shares in Weir, which have gained 21 percent in the last three months, closed at 2,164 pence on Tuesday, valuing the firm at about 4.6 billion pounds.