Amec made a surprise share issue last week to raise £95m for investment in public–private partnership work and for expansion in the oil and gas sectors.

Sir Peter Mason, its chief executive, said that this was part of the firm’s strategy for growth, acquisition and diversification in 2006.

He said: “Amec has made enormous changes in recent years and we are now embarking on an important phase of investment in our services, urban regeneration and PPP activities.”

The company has earmarked £40m for PPP projects and has identified PPP as a focus for its business.

It was appointed preferred bidder on the London Docklands Woolwich-Arsenal extension last month. It was also given preferred bidder status on a hospital project in Colchester, north Essex, earlier this month.

Amec has committed £23m to urban regeneration in the UK and £15m to acquisitions in the engineering and technical services sectors in Europe, which it said were near completion.

Amec is embarking on an important phase of our investment

Sir Peter Mason, chief executive

Its acquisition of Paragon Engineering Services, an oil and gas company in Houston, Texas, for £20m, reflects Amec’s strategy of diversifying away from construction.

Amec, advised by UBS and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, has placed 30.1 million ordinary shares to fund the expansion.

Amec said that it was in line to meet its financial expectations for this year.