Engineering services company Amec has announced a pre-tax profit of £35.7m for the six months to 30 June. This is a fall of 14% on the same period last year, despite a slight rise in turnover.
The company blamed its falling profitability on a steep reduction in industrial spending, particularly in the USA. It said this outweighed a strong performance in the oil, gas and rail maintenance businesses.

Amec chief executive Sir Peter Mason said he expected the company to achieve its full-year profit targets of £112-115m despite this setback.

He said: "The second half is expected to show a marked improvement compared with last year, and Amec should make sound progress in the year as a whole. We need very few new orders in the second half to hit our 2003 targets."

The firm's order book stands at £3.6bn, an increase of 10% on the position at end of 2002. Many of these contracts were awarded by blue-chip companies, particularly in the oil and gas, transport and infrastructure sectors. Turnover for the six months rose £200,000 on the same period last year to £2.3bn.

Amec said there are indications that major industrial clients plan to make substantial capital investments.

Finance director Stuart Siddell said: "We expect some organic growth in 2004 but cannot say how much at the moment."