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OSLO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The oil service market continues to show signs of recovery, Norway’s Aker Solutions said on Friday as the company reported a higher than expected order intake for the fourth quarter, while profits were in line with forecasts.
Order intake for the October-December period amounted to 5.3 billion Norwegian crowns, while analysts in a Reuters poll on average had predicted an intake of 4.9 billion.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), excluding one-offs, rose to 495 million Norwegian crowns ($57.6 million) from 482 million a year ago, while analysts on average had expected 493 million.
“In 2018, we saw a record number of studies and front-end engineering work for larger and more complex projects than previous years - a positive sign of more work to come,” the firm controlled by billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke said in a statement.
Aker Solutions reiterated expectations for 2019 revenue to rise slightly from 2018, as well as continued high tendering activity with an underlying 2019 EBITDA margin seen remaining around the 2018 level.
The total backlog of outstanding work stood at 35.1 billion crowns, more than the 34.5 billion crowns expected by analysts in the Reuters poll.
Oil service firms such as Aker Solutions were hit by the plunge in crude prices from 2014-2016 when oil firms cut spending on new developments, and have since seen a gradual increase in orders. ($1 = 8.5994 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik)