AMEC, said yesterday it expected its pre-tax profits for 2008 would beat market expectations.
The company supplies consultancy, engineering, and project-management services to the energy, power and process industries.
It said it expected to report profits of more than the consensus City forecast of £200million. Profits in 2007 were £126.5million.
Chief executive Samir Brikho said: “2008 was another year of significant progress for AMEC. During the last quarter, we were awarded a number of milestone contracts by customers that remain focused on long-term fundamentals.
“We continue to see a strong and diverse range of attractive prospective contracts across the business and have seen only minor delays and cancellations of prospective projects. 2009 is expected to be another year of improved performance, driven both by the strength of our order book and increasing benefits from our operational excellence programme.”
He said AMEC’s net cash position – it expects to have more than £750million at the year-end – remained strong and it continued to monitor opportunities for growth “through selective acquisition”.
The company said demand for its services in the energy, power and process sectors remained strong during 2008, with its average number of employees for the year having increased by 9% to about 23,000.
It said the aggregate value of all contracts awarded in the second half of the year was close to £2billion.
AMEC, which has a strong North Sea presence through its Aberdeen offices, said that while market volatility meant reduced certainty about customer spending plans, a £3billion backlog in its natural resources and power and process divisions gave good visibility for 2009 and beyond. Its shares improved by 6.4% to 572p.