Engineer Amec gets boost from American pick-up

Shares in Amec, the engineering group, jumped 6 per cent after it said conditions had improved in its North American markets.

The company, one of the few UK-listed engineers with a major international presence, also stands to gain work in Iraq. With its US partner Fluor, Amec has bid for $2bn of work to rehabilitate Iraq's oil fields. The outcome of this tender, which has been delayed three times, is now expected to be announced next month.

In a trading update yesterday, the group was most positive about its North American business, which provides about a quarter of turnover, as clients are expected to start spending on infrastructure again.

"In North America, evidence suggests that the decline in investment in Amec's industrial markets witnessed over the past two years has been halted. Enquiry levels have increased and there has been some resumption of project activity in the mining, forest industry and food and beverage sectors," the company said. "Amec expects to benefit from a number of major contract awards anticipated in its end markets in the first quarter of 2004."

However, it warned that conditions in the US commercial building market "have remained difficult", with its Construction Management division failing to break even in the second half of 2003. Performance in the Earth and Environmental business improved in the second half, "reflecting recovery in US defence spending". Overall, the group said it had met expectations for last year.

Sir Peter Mason, the chief executive, said: "I am pleased with Amec's performance in 2003, with sound progress having been achieved despite challenging conditions in some of our markets.We see improving prospects in our North American industrial markets and are well positioned to benefit when our clients resume major capital investment programmes."

The company said it remained "well positioned" in oil and gas, transport and infrastructure, even though, in the UK, rail maintenance contracts are being taken back in house by Network Rail.

Arbuthnot, the broker, said: "The company is confident for 2004 based on the level of interest in projects but commitments are not yet made so some caution is needed."

Amec shares closed up 14.75p at 267p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral