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FMC Technologies Up as Orders Climb: Houston Mover

FMC Technologies Inc., the largest U.S. provider of subsea gear to the oil and natural gas industry, climbed the most in more than six months after beating expectations for orders last quarter and forecasting another record year.

FMC Technologies rose 5 percent to $50.46 at the close in New York, the biggest gain for the Houston-based company since July 26, 2012.

The company reported orders of $1.38 billion for subsea equipment in the fourth quarter, according to a statement released yesterday. That was higher than the $1.05 billion estimated by Brian Uhlmer, an analyst at Global Hunter Securities in Houston.

“The subsea orders were substantially above what anybody was expecting,” Uhlmer, who rates the shares a buy and doesn’t own any, said today in a telephone interview. “The expectation for orders in 2013 to be above 2012 means your 2014 numbers are going to be pretty well taken care of.”

Subsea orders are expected to increase this year compared to the $4.6 billion booked in 2012, Chief Executive Officer John Gremp told analysts and investors today on a conference call. Orders awarded to the total industry may grow 30 to 40 percent this year as large oil exploration projects off the coasts of West Africa and Brazil and in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico lead to development work on the sea floor, he said.

FMC Technologies expects the operating profit margin for its largest unit, subsea technologies, to grow to 13 percent this year, Chief Financial Officer Maryann Seaman said on the call. The company reported a margin of 11.3 percent for 2012, according to the statement.

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