UPADTE 1-Norway's Aker Solutions upbeat despite oil gloom

Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:55am EST

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* Q4 EBITDA NOK 1.06 bln, in line with forecasts

* Sees 8-10 pct yr/yr offshore capex growth

OSLO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Norwegian oil services firm Aker Solutions reported fourth-quarter earnings in line with forecasts on Thursday and struck an unexpectedly upbeat tone about its outlook.

Aker Solutions, part of billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke's business empire, said it was experiencing robust demand, even as oil companies were reining in capital spending, potentially impacting some of its businesses.

"The underlying global economic outlook will support a strong market, with spending on offshore exploration and production growing 8 percent to 10 percent annually through 2017," Aker Solution said.

"Growth will be faster in the subsea market and other offshore segments such as deepwater where the company is well positioned to expand."

Aker Solutions ditched its long-term growth targets in December, saying it needed to focus on profit over growth as oil firms were reducing capital spending to save cash for bigger dividends.

Its prospects took another hit last week when Norway's Statoil, one of the firm's biggest customers, said it would cut capital spending by $5 billion over the next year, sharply reducing maintenance and modification spending, a lucrative business segment for oil services firms.

"Some areas of Aker Solutions, such as operational services for fields in production and lifecycle services on single-equipment sales, will be less affected by the constraints," it said. "The impact may be felt on larger projects through specific investment delays or concept changes."

In the fourth quarter, its earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation fell 2 percent to 1.06 billion crowns ($170 million), in line with expectations. ($1 = 6.1157 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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