Further progress in orders from mining and oil and gas clients prompted Weir, the maker of industrial pumps, to raise revenue and profit expectations again following several previous upgrades over the past 12 months.
Promoted to the FTSE 100 index in September on the back of a share price that has more than doubled over the past year, Weir said it expected profits for the full year to come in ahead of previous expectations. Sales momentum, it reported, had continued into its third quarter to October 1.
Analysts, whose full-year profits forecasts had ranged from £264m to £280m, upgraded figures between 5 and 10 per cent after Weir said it expected at least to match the £144m interim profit over the second half of its year.
Orders levels for new mining equipment rose, a factor expected to underpin revenues into the new year.
However, Keith Cochrane, chief executive, said he was particularly pleased by a surge in demand for Weir’s repair and maintenance mining business.
After a burst of restocking among mining customers, Weir had feared that performance in the segment might stutter.
Orders at Weir’s oil and gas business also grew amid a sharp third-quarter rise in North American drilling rig counts aimed at exploiting oil and liquid-rich shale formations.
However, order input at Weir’s power and industrial business slipped 7 per cent. This was said to be a reflection of the “phasing of major nuclear orders and continued weakness in industrial markets”.
Mr Cochrane said the company had initially adopted a cautious approach as it was difficult to predict to what extent some business was being driven by restocking rather than an underlying improvement in customer demand.
“Twelve months ago, our business was down year-on-year. Now, in the immediate term, the outlook for each of our end markets is positive – but I doubt we can repeat the scale of updates we have had this year,” he said.
Shares in Weir, up 120 per cent on the year, slipped 21p to £15.37 on Monday as brokers edged up forecasts to the £288m level implied by Weir’s statement.
During the quarter Weir completed the $200m (£125m) acquisition of Malaysian Linatex, a maker of wear-resistant products to the mining industry, which edged up net debt.
Steve Medlicott, analyst at Altium, on Monday maintained a “hold” stance, arguing that while the shares had been strong performers since entering the FTSE 100, “their recent rise had already anticipated much of this good news”.
Harry Philips at Evolution lifted his earnings per share forecasts by 10 per cent to 97.9p and maintained a “buy” stance, arguing the company’s valuation still had “has much further to run”.
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