* Q4 operating profit $120 mln vs forecast $111 mln
* Offers dividend of NOK 8.50 per share, in line with
* To buy back shares for $30 million this year
OSLO, Feb 6 Seismic surveyor TGS-Nopec
posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat forecasts on Thursday,
in contrast to recent profit warnings from other companies in
The firm, which maps the seabed to search for oil and gas
deposits, offered a dividend of 8.50 Norwegian crowns ($1.36)per
share for 2013, in line with expectations, and said it would buy
back shares for $30 million this year.
Late last year, rivals Petroleum Geo-Services, CGG
and Dolphin warned of lower earnings due to
falling demand from oil companies, which are reigning in capital
spending to protect margins and dividends.
TGS-Nopec's fourth-quarter operating profit rose to $120
million from $118 million at the same time last year, above the
$111 million forecast in a Reuters poll of ten analysts.
"We increased our dividend from 8 to 8.5. That gives us a
dividend yield close to 5.5 pct," Chief Financial Officer
Kristian Johansen said. "We also introduced a share buyback
programme and our intension is to cancel all these shares so
that we can return even more to our shareholders."
"Customer interest in new projects is confirmed by our
record backlog at the end of Q4," Chief Executive Robert Hobbs
said in a statement.
($1 = 6.2428 Norwegian krones)
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Erica Billingham)