(Adds CEO and analyst comment, share price)
LONDON, March 24 British energy services firm
Kentz achieved a double-digit percentage rise in
earnings last year, in line with expectations, bucking the trend
of rivals hit by falling profits as oil companies cut spending.
Kentz said on Monday it had proven resilient to weakness in
the sector due to a spread of business across different regions
including Africa, the Middle East and Australasia, as well as a
mix of clients from national, global and independent oil firms.
It also tends to take a more conservative approach to
project risk than some rivals, with nearly 80 percent of its
backlog consisting of cost-reimbursable contracts where the risk
lies mainly with the client.
Executives at larger peers Petrofac and SNC-Lavalin
have criticised this low-risk model as no longer
viable, but it seems to have worked well for Kentz so far.
The company had a rollercoaster year in 2013 which saw it
resist takeover approaches from two bigger rivals to later
complete an acquisition of its own, buying Valerus Field
Solutions, and expand its reach into the Americas.
"We fired on all cylinders last year ... We executed our
strategy I think flawlessly," Chief Executive Christian Brown
Kentz reported profit before tax for 2013 of $118 million,
up 12.6 percent on the previous year, from revenue of $1.66
billion. The company's shares were up 4 percent in morning
Brown said he expected strong growth this year with earnings
per share reaching $1, an increase of 47 percent from 2013.
"As we look into 2014, we think we've got a great platform
for another year of growth," Brown said, adding the integration
of Valerus Field Solutions was "working extremely well."
Analysts responded favourably to the results.
"Very positive results from Kentz, with robust 2013 results
and increased backlog and pipeline underpinning continued growth
for 2014, against a backdrop of an industry under stress,"
analysts at Numis wrote in a note to clients.
Kentz was one of the sectors best performing stocks last
year, with its share price rising over 60 percent while rivals
like Saipem, Subsea 7 and Aker Solutions
were struck by project delays and profit warnings.
(Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Silvia Antonioli
and Mark Potter)