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Hunting Raises Dividend as Higher Oil Price Boosts Investment

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Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Hunting Plc, a U.K. oil services provider, raised its 2010 dividend after higher crude prices encouraged producers to step up investment.

The London-based company lifted the 2010 payout to 12 pence a share from 10.5 pence a year earlier as sales increased 28 percent to 461.6 million pounds ($748 million). Net income declined to 21.8 million pounds from 28.7 million pounds a year earlier, it said in a statement.

Hunting, which services well bores and construction projects for companies mainly in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, said the results reflected a stronger fourth quarter as the price of Brent crude surged 40 percent. The company has 212 million pounds in cash that it will use for investment and more acquisitions following the purchase of Innova-Extel Holdings Inc. last year, Finance Director Peter Rose said by phone.

“2010 has seen Hunting benefit from increased confidence in the oil and gas industry,” Chief Executive Officer Dennis Proctor said in the statement. “In anticipation of this, during the year the group invested heavily in new facilities and commenced a number of expansion programs designed to position us to meet the growing demand for our products and services.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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