Profitable Weir ready for more

A PUMP and valves maker whose rapid growth has propelled it into the FTSE 100 Index has forecast another big improvement in annual profits.

Weir’s exposure to fast-growing markets such as mining and power and industrial systems has boosted its order book at a time when its other core sector of upstream oil and gas is facing challenging conditions.

The Glasgow-based firm’s half-year results showed a 27 per cent rise in profits to £226m yesterday, prompting it to forecast between £440m and £460m this year, compared with just under £400m in 2011.

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Weir, which employs 14,000 staff and works for customers such as BP, BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence, burst into the FTSE 100 Index in 2010 after a strong run for its shares.

With the group hoping to double 2009 profits by 2014, Weir said revenues and profits from its minerals division were ahead of expectations this year.

It reported a good pipeline of new project opportunities and despite signs of customer caution over project timings in Australia it said economic uncertainty and lower commodity prices have not impacted previously approved projects or production levels.

The Yorkshire Post reported last month how Weir won planning permission to expand capacity at its foundry at Todmorden.

The £5m project will take output to 13,000 tonnes a year from 2,500. The foundry makes products for an international customer base in countries as far flung as Chile, Finland and Canada.

The project will be complete by January 2013.