* EBITA for 2012 rises to $461 mln from $342 mln
* Sees growth in all divisions in 2013
* Growth not seen on same trajectory as last two years -CEO
* Oman 2012 loss $20 mln, at top end of guidance
* Sees more shale opportunities
* Shares rise 5 percent, Numis ups rating to 'add'
LONDON, March 5 British energy services company
John Wood Group reassured investors with a 35 percent
jump in earnings on Tuesday buoyed by a boom in U.S. shale gas
and a reassuring outlook bucking the trend of its peers.
The group, which is set to leave the FTSE 100 due to
weakness in the energy services sector, forecasts growth across
all its units in 2013 due to more spending from oil and gas
"Overall we see growth prospects in all three divisions,
when you combine that all together, you're probably looking at
an EBITA for 2013...probably around or just above 15 percent,"
Wood Group's Chief Executive Bob Keiller told journalists, which
he noted was in line with the consensus.
Oil companies are increasingly reliant on service companies
as they are forced to extract hydrocarbons from more difficult
However increased competition in the sector, particularly
from Asia, is squeezing margins and profits.
"We're certainly not expecting the trajectory from the last
two years to continue, but we do see continued growth prospects
driven by strong underlying fundamentals," he added.
A surprise profit warning in January from Saipem,
Europe's biggest company in the industry, sent shockwaves
through what was seen as a buoyant sector.
A vague outlook forecast from peer Petrofac last
week also weighed on the sector.
"(Shares in) Wood Group have been unfairly hit by both of
those things. This is an opportunity for them to say
'everything's fine'," said Sanjeev Bahl at Numis Securities,
which upgraded its recommendation to 'add' from 'hold'.
"That should be quite reassuring," he said, adding that the
group is less impacted by Asian competition and cost inflation.
The company, which designs, builds and maintains oil and gas
facilities and pipelines, said its 2012 earnings before
interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) for continuing operations
rose 35 percent to $461.1 million, meeting expectations.
Its engineering division, which posted a 36 percent rise in
EBITA and is forecast to grow by 15 percent this year, expanded
in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East during
the year, where it expects further growth this year.
An improvement on a difficult Oman project is on the cards
this year, after it confirmed that losses in Oman were $20
million in 2012, at the top end of guidance.
The Aberdeen-based group is also targeting further growth
from its shale activities after snapping up firms Mitchell's Oil
Field Services and Duval last year which give it exposure to the
oil rich shale regions in the United States.
"Given that the geology exists elsewhere in the world, I
think it's inconceivable that the shale development won't take
place in other places," added Keiller.
Shares in Wood Group, which hiked its full-year dividend by
26 percent to 17 cents, were up over 5 percent in early trading,
outperforming the wider market.