OIL service group Petrofac said yesterday that, despite the severe downturn in the global economic outlook, it could report excellent growth in 2008 and was well positioned for further strong growth in 2009 and beyond.
The company, which reported a 39% increase in pre-tax profits for last year, provides facility-management services internationally to the oil and gas production and processing industries.
Chief executive Ayman Asfari said Petrofac now had 4,000 staff working in and out of Aberdeen. It has 11,100 people worldwide.
He said: “The UK North Sea is extremely important to us, and accounts for most of our operations services business.
“The North Sea environment will be more challenging this year than last, as some customers cut back on discretionary spending, but we have a strong order backlog, customers’ operational spending should stay reasonably robust despite lower oil prices and we see our business as being resilient going forward.”
Mr Asfari said the company’s operated Don South-west (Petrofac 60%) and West Don (27%) fields in the UK North Sea were the main focus for the group’s energy-development business in the near-term and were expected on stream in the first half of 2009. He also noted that the group had a strong balance sheet and said there might be opportunities to invest in other development assets owned by smaller oil companies unable to get access to debt and equity markets.
He said: “We are looking to do more Don-type deals and make selective acquisitions of development assets.
“We have the cash to benefit from general weakness in the market.”
Mr Asfari added, however, that Petrofac was not involved in the bidding process for the assets of Oilexco North Sea, which went into administration in early January and is now up for sale.
The group’s order backlog, which was £2.86billion at the end of 2008 compared with £3.14billion in 2007, has increased by a further £2billion so far this year.
It also said that at the year-end it had cash in hand of £496million, up from £415million a year earlier.
The group reported pre-tax profits of £256million yesterday for 2008 compared with £184.45million the year before.
Revenue was up more than 36% year-on-year at some £2.38billion.
Petrofac has five main operational offices – in Aberdeen, Woking, Sharjah, Chennai and Mumbai – and a further 19 offices worldwide.