Weir Group spree set to go on

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ENGINEERING giant Weir Group is expected to confirm its acquisition spree when the Glasgow-based FTSE 100 firm unveils its first-half results on Tuesday.

Weir notched up a hat-trick of deals in April to expand its presence in the rock-crushing sector, extending the size of its potential market by some £750 million.

Rae Ellingham, an analyst at Charles Stanley, said: “We expect to see acquisition activity continue as Weir continues to both expand its market presence and its capacity for supply.

“The group will also potentially benefit from the recent announcement of a reduction in tax payable on shale gas production in the UK, with the government keen to see exploration and production occurring.”

Weir has already warned the City that it expects revenues to be lower during the first-half of the year, but that it forecasts a stronger end to the year.

Analysts predict that first-half operating profits will drop by 10.3 per cent to £222m following £6.5m of one-off costs relating to the closure of two small manufacturing facilities, the sale of legacy fluids businesses and lower margins on new pump orders.

Yet the interim dividend is still expected to rise by 10 per cent to 8.8p.

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