AMEC said yesterday trading for the year to date had been towards the top end of expectations.
The company, which provides consultancy, engineering and project management services to the world’s natural resources, nuclear, clean energy, water and environmental sectors, said its margin on group earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation was expected to be around 9% for the year to December 31, while its order book stood at £3.1billion, up from £3billion at October 31, 2009.
It added that it had a strong balance sheet with net cash at the end of October of around £680million, saying it would continue to prioritise selective value-enhancing acquisitions.
AMEC chief executive Samir Brikho said: “AMEC remains on track to deliver another year of improved performance in 2010.
“We expect to deliver a margin which reflects improvements in operational efficiencies, supported by organic growth in our core sectors, despite continuing customer margin pressure.”
The company said there had been continued organic growth in each of its three divisions – natural resources, which has its headquarters in Aberdeen and is the largest division, power and process and earth and environmental.
The average number of employees was 22,200 in the period January to October, up almost 900 on a year earlier. About 1,000 are employed in Aberdeen out of the natural resources worldwide workforce of 9,700.
AMEC said year-to-date trading in natural resources was strong, with the order book at October 31 £1.6billion, up from £1.5billion a year earlier.
Current projects include front-end engineering and design for modifications to the Curlew floating production vessel in the central North Sea on behalf of Maersk, while AMEC has been selected by BP as one of only two global providers of engineering and project management services for BP’s onshore facilities developments around the world.
AMEC has already been one of three global providers of BP’s equivalent global offshore services since 2008.
In power and process, AMEC said performance reflected the strategic refocusing of the division into core sectors and a high-value, low-execution risk business model. The order book at October 31 was £1.2billion, flat on a year earlier.
In the earth and environmental division the order book at October 31 was £260million, marginally down from £270million a year before.
AMEC said improving market sentiment and recovery in key customers’ capital expenditure were expected to continue to support the group’s overall performance.
It said its chairman, Jock Green-Armytage, had announced that he intended to retire at the annual meeting on May 5, 2011. The search for his successor has begun. Mr Green-Armytage first joined the AMEC board in 1996 and became chairman in 2004.