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Wood Group Oil Services Profit Jumps 43%, Raises Dividend

March 5 (Bloomberg) -- John Wood Group Plc, a U.K. oil services provider active in Africa and the Middle East, said profit climbed 43 percent last year as demand rose.

Profit before tax and exceptional items climbed to $362.7 million from $254.1 million a year earlier, the Aberdeen, Scotland-based company said today in a statement. It raised the dividend 26 percent to 17 cents a share and said market conditions are “expected to remain favorable.”

Brent crude prices have more than doubled since the start of 2009 and remain above $100 a barrel, bolstering demand for services to help extract more oil from the ground. The company, which operates in 50 countries, said the pace of expansion may slow this year after lifting earnings before interest, taxes and amortization by 35 percent in 2012.

“We’re probably looking at EBITA growth of around 15 percent this year,” said Chief Executive Officer Bob Keiller on a conference call. “We’re not expecting the trajectory of the last two years to continue, but we do see strong growth prospects driven by strong fundamentals.”

Wood Group shares rose 7.9 percent in London, the most in two years, to 818 pence, giving the company a market value of 3.1 billion pounds ($4.7 billion).

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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