Aug 22 (Reuters) - Engineering company IMI Plc reported a slight increase in first-half profit as fatter margins at its severe service business more than offset weakness in the company's fluid power unit that has been hurt by a sluggish commercial auto market.
The company, which specialises in fluid control systems such as valves and beverage dispensers, said it expects trading conditions to improve in the second half of the year as it benefits from a better sales mix and newly launched products.
For the six months ended June 30, the company reported a pretax profit of 170.1 million pounds ($266.9 million) up from 168.3 million pounds a year earlier.
Revenue for the period was flat at 1.09 billion pounds.
Revenue at the company's severe service unit, which mainly serves the energy sector, fell slightly but margins rose to 15.2 percent from 14 percent. The business also saw a strong order intake in the first half with bookings up 19 percent.
The company's fluid power business, which apart from the commercial vehicles market also caters to the rail, food and beverage and life science industries, posted a 3 percent drop in revenue.
IMI shares, which have gained 28 percent so far this year, closed at 1,409 pence on Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange.