Glasgow & West Scotland

Weir Group 'can double profits'

Glasgow-based engineering company Weir Group has said it can double its profits over the next five years.

The company's chief executive, Keith Cochrane, told investors and analysts that its figures for the start of this year are already ahead of expectations.

Pre-tax profits for the first half of this year are now on track to exceed the previous forecast of £140m by £20m.

Profits for the second half of the year are also expected to be "significantly ahead" of previous expectations.

Weir believes the BP Deepwater crisis, which has affected the whole offshore oil sector, could bring increased orders for SPM, its subsidiary in Texas, which manufactures safety equipment.

The multi-national company has three divisions across equipment for mining, oil and gas and power stations, and employs 9,000 people worldwide.

Nuclear power

The sharp reduction in equipment sales with the worldwide recession is being followed by the backlog in customers' equipment upgrades now being made up, according to Weir.

There is also healthy demand for spare parts and servicing.

The company is also optimistic about the expansion of nuclear power, for which Weir manufactures valves.

Orders for the first five months of this year are up by 16%, and while they have fallen in the power sector, they are up by most in mining.

Keith Cochrane told analysts the prospects for sales into the nuclear power industry are for 31% growth in the next four years.

Upstream oil and gas is scheduled to grow 9% in the next three years, and mining by 7%.

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