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Kentz Seeks Acquisition Targets After Net Cash Increases

Kentz Corp., an Irish oil and gas engineering company with clients including Exxon Mobil Corp., is seeking acquisitions after cash reserves increased.

“There is a strategy to acquire certain additional skills that we can offer to our clients,” Chief Financial Officer Edward Power said today in a phone interview. “We have a strong cash position that will help.”

Net cash increased 36 percent to $241 million in the first half, the Tipperary-based company said today in a statement. Kentz is bidding for $4.4 billion of projects within the next year after its portfolio backlog rose to $2.5 billion.

Kentz bought RNE Engineering and Projects (Pty) Ltd., a South African service company, for about $10 million last year. Mergers and acquisitions in the oil-field services industry will grow in the next two years, Ernst & Young LLP said yesterday.

Kentz advanced 5 percent to 400 pence by the close of London trading, the company’s biggest gain since June 19.

The margin on profit before tax rose to 7.3 percent from 5.9 percent a year earlier. Kentz sees an annual margin similar to analyst consensus of 6.3 percent to 6.5 percent, Power said.

It “turned out a little bit better than we had expected,” he said, adding the margin is set to drop in the second half.

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