A major engineering firm said half-year profits jumped 49% after two significant deals reinforced its "world leading" market positions.
Aberdeen-based Wood Group, which employs 35,000 people in the oil and gas and power generation sectors, described the first half of 2011 as a "period of exciting change" following the £600 million acquisition of production facilities business PSN and the disposal of its well support arm to General Electric.
It said market conditions had continued to improve, with exploration and production spending in the oil and gas sector forecast to increase in 2011 and 2012 – despite the recent volatility in financial and commodity markets.
Half-year profits from continuing operations rose to £62.1 million, while the company reflected its confidence in the outlook by boosting its half-year dividend by 15%.
Wood's production arm generated 54% of its revenues from the North Sea last year, but the addition of PSN in areas such as North America, the Caspian and Russia reduced Wood's dependence on the UK and offered higher margin work.
PSN operated as a division of US oil services firm Halliburton until a buy-out by its management in a deal backed by Bank of Scotland in 2006.
Despite the international expansion of the business, Wood said it continued to see good levels of activity in the North Sea, particularly through long-term contracts with BP, Shell and Talisman.
The division, which provides field support to oil and gas producing assets, saw underlying earnings grow by a third in the half-year to £39.5 million. In engineering services, including subsea and pipeline work, earnings were up 25% to £44 million.
The sale of Wood Group's well support arm, which makes electric submersible pumps used to maximise oil production, raised £1.75 billion, with more than half of the proceeds going to shareholders.
Chairman Sir Ian Wood said: "The first half of 2011 has been a period of exciting change for the group as we completed our strategic repositioning to focus on world leading positions in engineering, production facilities support and gas turbine services."