Weir maintains guidance despite first quarter dip in orders

LONDON Wed May 1, 2013 3:09am EDT

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LONDON May 1 (Reuters) - British engineer Weir said first quarter performance was hit by fewer orders in its oil and gas division, but maintained its forecast for full-year low single digit revenue growth.

The fall in orders on the oil and gas side was partially offset by the contribution of recent acquisitions, the pumps and valves maker said on Wednesday.

Overall order input in oil and gas for the 13 weeks to end-March was down 14 percent compared to the same period last year, with original equipment orders sliding 32 percent.

The oil services sector has shown recent strain, with Norway's Aker Solutions posting a profit warning on Monday, leading to its stock plunging 20 percent.

Weir's shares, which have gained 15 percent this year so far, traded down 1 percent in early trade, underperforming the FTSE100 index, up 0.2 percent.

Weir said the upstream oil and gas market remained challenging, with average U.S. rig count, an important market for the company, 12 percent lower year on year.

The engineer also announced that its chairman, Robert Smith, would step down at the end of the year to be replaced by Charles Berry, who will serve as deputy chairman until then.

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