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Scots engineer ups profit forecast after end-of-year boost

Scots engineer ups profit forecast after end-of-year boost
Scottish engineer Weir Group said yesterday it was increasing its full-year profit forecast again after performing well in the fourth quarter and enjoying positive currency effects, notably from the strengthening US dollar against the pound.

Scottish engineer Weir Group said yesterday it was increasing its full-year profit forecast again after performing well in the fourth quarter and enjoying positive currency effects, notably from the strengthening US dollar against the pound.

The Glasgow-based company, which makes pumps and valves for moving minerals, oil and seawater, said it expected profits from continuing operations before tax, amortisation and one-off items to increase to about £174million in the year to December 26.

Weir had previously raised its full-year profit estimate by 2.8% to about £170million in October. In 2007, it made pre-tax profits of £120.2million, up 56% on the year before.

It said it had grown input, revenue and profits in the fourth quarter of 2008.

It added that net debt at the year-end was expected to be lower than the half-year figure of £261.7million, thanks to operating cash-flow generation and the proceeds from the sale of businesses.

Weir said £625million of committed revolving-credit facilities, expiring in 2011, was in place and provided the necessary financial headroom to support its continuing development.

The group was entering 2009 in a good position and was ready to respond to market challenges as they developed during the year, it said.

Wellstream Holdings, which makes flexible risers and flowlines for the oil and gas industry, said yesterday that it had continued to perform strongly, with 2008 revenue more than 35% ahead of the previous year.

It said its anticipated result for the year would be broadly in line with expectations, adding that the fundamentals of its sector remained attractive and its outlook for 2009 was for continued growth.

Throughput in manufacturing increased by more than 25% in 2008 compared to the year before, and further expansion of manufacturing was planned to be available by the end of March, the company said.

Wellstream said its most noteworthy project award in 2008 had been a four-year framework agreement with Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, worth more than £600million. The most recent contracts awarded under the agreement are worth £90million and cover the supply of flexible risers and flowlines for the Cachalote and Barracuda projects.

Wellstream said it had seen strong earnings growth during 2008 and had a robust balance sheet and order book.

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