LONDON Feb 13 British engineering firm Amec
proposed a higher than expected dividend on Thursday
after posting a 3 percent rise in full-year core profit and a
record-breaking order book.
The company also said it had firmed up its $3 billion
acquisition of rival Foster Wheeler, the first sizeable
deal in the sector in years which its chief executive said could
trigger a wave of consolidation.
Amec, which provides services and equipment for the oil and
gas, mining, nuclear and renewable energy sectors, proposed a
2013 dividend of 42 pence a share, up 15 percent on the previous
year and five percent higher than analyst expectations.
Amec's shares were up 5 percent at 0938 GMT, outperforming
the wider market.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
(EBITDA) rose 3 percent to 343 million pounds ($569 million)
last year, and the firm's order book reached a record 4.1
"Amec acquiring Foster Wheeler is going to be a start of
something to happen in the industry," said Amec chief executive
Samir Brikho, predicting a phase of consolidation in the oil and
gas sector that has seen a drought in deals in recent years.
Amec's 680 million pound bid for British peer Kentz was
rejected by Kentz's board last August.
The engineering firm said it had been hit by weak prices and
demand in Britain's power market, with its UK conventional power
segment posting a loss before tax of 10 million pounds.
The company said on Thursday it had decided to discontinue
this part of the business and would instead focus on more
complex sectors such as nuclear and renewable energy.
Amec's contract, with U.S.-based URS and France's Areva, to
decommission a nuclear power plant at Sellafield in northwest
England came under attack earlier this week as an influential
parliamentary committee criticised it for cost overruns and
"We are up for the challenge, we have changed a number of
people in the team," Brikho told journalists of the Sellafield
contract, which was renewed for five years last October.