UPDATE 1-Aker Solutions weighed down by order delays, cancellations

Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:45am EDT

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* Q2 EBITDA NOK 946 mln vs 1.01 bln expectations

* Order backlog shrinks Q/Q

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OSLO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Offshore engineering firm Aker Solutions reported earnings short of expectations and said its order backlog and capacity utilisation fell as clients delayed or cancelled projects.

Its overall market remained strong, particularly for subsea work, as oil firms race to drill from Angola to Australia, but there was a major uncertainty over the pace of the market's expansion, the company said on Tuesday.

"Oil companies delayed some projects, causing uncertainty about the timing of contract awards to oil-services providers," the Oslo-based firm said in a statement.

"Second-quarter earnings were hurt by low capacity utilisation in the engineering business as new orders waned," it said. "The results were also impacted by two idle vessels."

Aker Solutions, which has struggled with problems executing some contracts and the cancellation of a rig project by Statoil , said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 30 percent to 946 million crowns ($156.68 million), trailing expectations for 1.01 billion.

But its subsea business, a problem area in the past but now one of the fastest growing, reported a quarterly EBITDA of 361 million crowns, ahead of market expectations for 337 million.

The company's shares, down 10.6 percent over the past years, have been weighed down by concerns over several projects, particularly the Statoil rig cancellation which resulted in a one-off 375 million crown cost.

The stock has become one of the cheapest major oil services firm and trades at around 9.5 times its expected 2014 earnings, well below the 11.5 average of its peers, analysts said. ($1 = 6.0378 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by David Cowell)

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