* H1 adj. pretax profit up 1 pct at 170.1 mln stg
* Sees better trading conditions for rest of the year
* Raises interim dividend to 12.8 pence from 11.8 pence
* Shares hit life high
(Adds CEO comments, updates share movement)
Aug 22 IMI Plc forecast an improvement
in trading for the second half of the year as the engineering
company takes on higher-margin contracts at its severe service
business while its fluid power unit also returns to growth.
Shares in the company rose as much as 6.5 percent to a life
high of 1501 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday
IMI, which specialises in fluid control systems such as
valves and beverage dispensers, said a greater contribution from
recently launched products would also bolster trading in the
"An improving sales mix in the second half, particularly
within the severe service business, is supportive of good
overall margin growth," Chief Executive Martin Lamb said.
"We are definitively taking more advanced technology
contracts at higher margins and we continue to ship out and take
out of the order book a number of lower-margin projects that
were booked two or three years ago."
The company also forecast a return to growth in the second
half for its fluid power business, which has so far held back
results due to a downturn in the commercial vehicles market.
Lamb said truck manufacturers were gearing up for higher
production runs in the second half with sales of current truck
models expected to pick up ahead of more stringent Euro VI
emissions rules that are set to kick in next year.
IMI would also benefit from the new emissions rules as the
Euro VI-compliant trucks would be fitted with its products.
"So the commercial vehicle business looks a good deal more
positive in the second half of this year, at the same time we've
got other new products that are being launched that will support
a return to growth in the fluid power business in the second
half year-on-year," he added.
The fluid power business, which also caters to the rail,
food and beverage and life science industries, and the severe
service business, which mainly serves the energy market, are
IMI's largest divisions.
For the six months ended June 30, IMI reported a pretax
profit of 170.1 million pounds ($266.9 million) up marginally
from 168.3 million pounds a year earlier. Revenue for the period
was flat at 1.09 billion pounds.
IMI shares, which have gained 28 percent so far this year,
were up 5 percent at 1,481 pence at 0921 GMT.
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya