Amec engineers 71% rise in profits review to continue

Peter Mason, chief executive of Amec, is to continue his strategic review at the engineering and construction group in spite of a 71 per cent increase in profits to pounds 27.2m as the business recovers from the recession of the early Nineties.

Reporting an improvement in the UK construction industry, he added: "I can see more that needs to be done and in the coming months it will be done."

Amec's group turnover was up 13 per cent last year to pounds 2.7bn. Profit before exceptionals was 53 per cent higher at pounds 37.7m and exceptional items totalled a net charge of pounds 10.5m against pounds 8.8m in 1995. Interest charges are down slightly at pounds 7.5m but the tax charge has trebled to pounds 6m and earnings per share after exceptionals are up from 1.1p to 4.7p.

The dividend has been increased from 3p to 4p, although it is still a far cry from the 10.3p paid in 1991.

Net cash balances stand at pounds 63m following an inflow of almost pounds 50m for the second year running, thanks to net disposals of business and improvements in working capital.

Over half the profit again came from mechanical and electrical engineering, including a first-time contribution from Amec Rail, the track maintenance division bought last April. Profits from Fairclough Homes, the housing division, leapt to pounds 6.8m from under pounds 1m in 1995.

The shares rose 13.5p to 140.5p.