* Sees 2013 EBITDA in $940-980 mln range vs $776 mln in 2012
* Dividend raised 50 pct
* Q4 EBITDA $162 mln vs $172 mln expectations
OSLO, Feb 14 Norwegian seismic explorer PGS
said it expects earnings to rise sharply this year, as
oil companies boost efforts to find offshore deposits, and
raised its dividend by 50 percent.
PGS, whose ships scan the ocean floor in search of oil and
gas, has been a major beneficiary of an offshore boom and raised
its guidance several times during 2012 on its way to recording
45 percent growth in earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).
The company said its order book continued to rise despite
weak sales in the last months of the year.
The company expects EBITDA to rise to between $940 million
and $980 million from last year's $776 million.
Its order backlog rose to $829 million at the end of the
year from $761 million just a month before.
Still, fourth-quarter earnings missed expectations, with
EBITDA of $162 million compared with a forecast $172 million,
due to weak orders, delayed start-ups and ships that were idle,
the company said.
Seismic firms are running close to capacity and analysts
said the market would easily absorb this year's 5 percent
capacity increase as new vessels are already contracted out.
PGS said it would raise its dividend to 1.65 crowns ($0.30)
a share, broadly in line with expectations.
($1 = 5.4806 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Erica Billingham)