Kentz posts leap in first half takings

IRISH engineering firm Kentz posted a leap in profits yesterday, driven by its construction and technical support services units, and rewarded shareholders with an increase in dividend after its promotion from AIM to London’s main market in July.

Kentz said pre-tax profits for the year to June were $37.7m (£23.1m), compared with $25.2m a year ago, and revenue rose 48 per cent to $643.5m.

The oil and gas services company, whose clients include Chevron , Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil, also raised its interim dividend by 67 per cent to 5 cents per share.

The group won a contract along with its joint-venture partner Chicago Bridge & Iron Co last month worth $2.3bn to develop the Gorgon gas project in Australia.

Kentz said its order intake to the end of July stood at $1.56bn compared with $1.27bn in the full year of 2010, leaving its backlog at July-end at $2.39bn.

Hugh O’Donnell, chief executive, said the backlog “continues to strengthen” as the company continues to win new contracts in Australia and the Middle East.

The company, based in Tipperary, was floated on the Alternative Investment Market in 2008 by the Malaysian investment group Peremba.

Shares closed up 3.8 per cent last night at 433p.