Wood Group upbeat as oil explorers raise spending and markets improve

City A.M. Reporter
ENERGY services firm John Wood Group raised its interim dividend and gave an upbeat outlook on 2011, with its oil exploration customers expected to increase their spending.

Earnings before interest, tax and amortisation were $192m (£116m) in the six months to 30 June, the company said yesterday, up 25 per cent from a year ago. Sales rose 17 per cent to $2.8bn.

Wood Group, led by Allister Langlands (pictured), builds oil and gas facilities, constructs pipelines. The firm said it continued to see good momentum despite market volatility.

“The longer term fundamentals for oil and gas development and production, and gas fired power generation remain strong. Reflecting continuing confidence in our longer term outlook, we have declared a 15 per cent increase in the interim dividend,” it said.

The company, which in May said it would return $1.7bn to shareholders following the disposal of its well support unit, said it planned to pay an interim dividend of 3.9 cents.

Wood, whose customers include BP and Royal Dutch Shell, said market conditions continued to improve. Its shares closed up 4.6 per cent.