Austria's SBO hikes dividend, confident for 2013

VIENNA, March 20 Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:24am EDT

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VIENNA, March 20 (Reuters) - Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG hiked its dividend by a quarter to 1.50 euros ($1.93) a share and gave an upbeat outlook for demand this year.

The Austrian group, which in January posted preliminary figures showing record 2012 sales and profit, said on Wednesday an increase in bookings supported its view that demand for its precision equipment would remain high.

Chief Executive Gerald Grohmann said the company was benefiting from the increasing complexity of extracting oil and gas from newly discovered fields, including ultra-deepwater wells and shale gas and oil.

"The moderate economic development in the Western industrialised nations will have only little impact on the rising global consumption of energy," Schoeller-Bleckmann (SBO) said in a statement.

"New projects for developing conventional and unconventional oil and gas fields and spending for improved oil recovery from existing oil fields will further drive demand for high-precision equipment," it added.

SBO said sales rose 25 percent to 512 million euros thanks to a sector boom, especially in the first half, while profit before tax advanced 40.7 percent to 110 million.

($1 = 0.7760 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Mark Potter)

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