Amec welcomes signs of return of customer spend

INTERNATIONAL engineering firm Amec yesterday posted a 20 per cent hike in first-half profits and said it saw customer spending returning in most of its key markets.

The oil services and project management specialist unveiled first-half earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (Ebita) of 113.5 million, up from 94.5m in the same period last year.

Amec had warned in March that 2010 would be challenging, but saw momentum return in the first half after winning major contracts with BP in Azerbaijan and the US Navy. Its order book grew 8 per cent to 3.5 billion,

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Chief financial officer Ian McHoul said: "We see a story of gradual improvement to our pipeline. We are seeing projects that were delayed in the past starting to be discussed."

Shares in Amec, which have outperformed Britain's blue-chip index by almost 13 per cent in 2010, gained 5.1 per cent to close the day at 891.5p.

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