Gas industry demand aids profits at IMI

The engineering giant IMI reported a better-than-expected 19 per cent increase in 2011 profits to £363m, and said it was on track for further growth this year, as strength in emerging markets and the US offsets weakness in Europe.

The company, which makes valves for drink dispensers and generating equipment, enjoyed growth at its severe service division, which does work on power stations and oil rigs and in other tough environments. Sales there rose 27 per cent to £572m last year, mainly thanks to strong demand for valves in the liquefied natural gas industry. The dividend rises 15 per cent to 30p.