(Corrects paragraph 2 to show the company makes valves for drink dispensers, not the dispensers themselves)
* H1 sales up 12 pct to 1.03 bln pounds, pretax profit up 26 pct
* Not seen material change in order trends since end-June
* CEO: “Not uncomfortable” with year earnings estimates of 80p/shr
* Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S full-year earnings estimate was 78.4p
* Shares up 6.4 percent
By Adveith Nair
LONDON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - British engineer IMI shrugged off concerns of slowing industrial demand and said full-year profit should rise above market expectations, when reporting a rise in first-half earnings, pushing its shares up 6.4 percent.
IMI, which makes power-generation equipment and valves for drink dispensers, said a slowdown in industrial demand from a number of southern European markets and Britain had yet to result in changes in underlying order trends since the end of June.
“With the exception of one or two small pockets, we have not really seen any material change in current trends,” chief executive Martin Lamb told Reuters, adding the second-half was traditionally a stronger period for the company.
“The customers we talk to still remain pretty positive about their future investment plans ... order books and statement from customers give decent protection for the second half of the year at least.”
Lamb said he was “not uncomfortable” with estimates calling for full-year earnings of 80 pence per share, above the 78.4 pence forecast in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll.
“Despite the wider market worries, the current share price does not reflect the quality of IMI,” Brewin Dolphin analysts said. “Investment in low cost manufacturing has continued throughout the downturn and we expect a resilient performance were there to be another dip in the global economy.”
Birmingham-based IMI’s shares rose 6.4 percent to 835.5 pence at 0915 GMT, to be among the top gainers on Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index.
Adjusted first-half pretax profit rose 26 percent to 171 million pounds ($281 million), on sales 12 percent higher at 1.03 billion.
“IMI’s numbers are ahead of expectation and we believe it to be one of the better positioned industrials to cope with a slowdown,” Panmure Gordon analysts said.
The first-half was boosted by a strong performance at IMI’s core Fluid Power business, where sales were up 16 percent.
IMI raised its dividend 22 percent to 11 pence. ($1 = 0.610 pound) (Editing by Mike Nesbit and Dan Lalor)