* Order intake better than expected
* Dividend increase more than forecast
* Sees 8-10 pct yr/yr offshore capex growth
* Q4 core profit at 1.06 bln crowns meets forecasts
(Adds CEO, shares, analyst)
By Balazs Koranyi and Henrik Stolen
OSLO, Feb 13 Norwegian oil services firm Aker
Solutions reported surprisingly strong order intake
numbers on Thursday and defied oil sector gloom with an upbeat
outlook, sending its shares 10 percent higher.
Aker Solutions, part of billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke's
business empire, said demand was robust and tendering activity
high, despite oil companies reining in capital spending this
year in particular, potentially affect parts of its businesses.
Oil companies are trying to save cash for shareholder
returns and some of the biggest offshore players such as Statoil
, Shell and Chevron are expected to
tighten keep back the most cash.
"So far we see robust demand for most products and
services," Chief Executive Oeyvind Eriksen said. "Our order
intake gives us confidence in the medium term outlook."
"We also see high tender activity in key markets. We're
bidding for a number of projects in basically all business
segments," he said.
Its shares, some of the worst performers in the European
sector recently, jumped as high as 109 crowns in heavy
trade and were 9 percent ahead at 106.9 crowns at 1023 GMT. The
stock had lost 23 percent over the past 12 months before
Thursday's surge, underperforming the sector's 2 percent rise
and the broader European markets' 15 percent gain.
The firm said it will pay a dividend of 4.10 crowns a share,
above the market's expectation for 3.78 crowns.
"The order intake during the quarter was better than
expected at 12.9 billion crowns versus a consensus of 10.7
billion crowns," UBS said.
"Aker Solutions is still positive longer term with
exploration and production growth expected at 8-10 percent
annually and sees 'fast growth' in subsea spending," it said.
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
Analysts have been especially downbeat about the firm since
last week when Norway's Statoil, one of its 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.
Eriksen said the firm was seeing some project delays but it
has also won major tenders, including one from Statoil for the
Johan Sverdrup field and there was still plenty of activity
aside from that.
"We're bidding for a number of projects in basically all
business segments," he said. "There are still some big fish to
be caught like (Shell's) Ormen Lange subsea gas compression."
In the fourth quarter, its earning before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 2 percent to 1.06
billion crowns ($170 million), in line with expectations.
($1 = 6.1157 Norwegian krones)
(Editing by Louise Ireland)