Energy services-focused engineer predicts stronger performance for next half-year as revenue stays steady at £1.26bn

Engineering giant Amec has posted a 4% slide in first-half profit but said it expected a stronger performance in the next six months.

In a statement to the stock market, the firm, which is focused on the oil, gas and energy services industries, said pre-tax profit slipped to £88.4m in the six months to 30 June, down from £92.3m in the same period last year. Revenue stayed broadly flat at £1.26bn.

However, earnings before deduction of interest, tax and amortisation expenses leaped by 25% to £94.5m, up from £75.9m in 2008. The group's order book stood at £3.2bn, compared with £2.5bn in June last year and £3.3bn in December.

Chief executive Samir Brikho, who radically reshaped the business three years ago to focus on the energy sectors, said: “These results, achieved in a challenging trading environment, are further evidence of our improved competitive position and internal efficiency.

“Our investment in developing relationships with key customers continues to result in new contract awards and the quality of our backlog has never been better.”

He added that the firm had £700m on the balance sheet and planned to make further acquisitions on top of the five made so far this year, which together cost £74m. It is also on track to meet its group margin target for 2010 of 8.5%, Brikho said.