Order book jumps 20% as group’s focus turns to oil, gas and engineering services.

Amec, Britain’s largest engineering-based services company, has recorded pre-tax profits for the first half of 2005 of £40.9 m, up 7.1%. It said that strong performances in the oil and gas sectors, and in engineering and technical services, were the key to its success in the six months to June 30.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Amec said that its engineering and technical services profit had risen by 22% to £36.2 m, and that oil and gas profit was £21.5 m, 9% up on the first six months of 2004. But there was a fall in Project solutions profits, down 21% to £9 m, which Amec blamed on weak UK construction results. It said that its order book currently stood at £2.9 bn, up 20%.

Chief Executive, Sir Peter Mason KBE, said: “These results reflect our strategy focussed on Oil and Gas and Technical Services, which are now the main engines of our profit growth.

Our markets are generally healthy and strong demand in oil and gas, new opportunities in nuclear and a 20% uplift in the order book give us confidence in the trading outlook. However, like most other UK companies, we expect to see a rise in pension costs, although AMEC will remain one of only a very few FTSE 250 companies to have a pension surplus.”