PARIS, Feb 20 (Reuters) – French oil services group Technip posted a rising order backlog and said it planned to sharply raise its dividend, easing concerns about spending cuts by its oil company clients and boosting its shares.
The stock was up 5.8 percent at 67.92 euros by 0822 GMT, among the biggest gainers in the CAC 40 index of blue chip French stocks.
Shares in Technip, which supplies pipes, platforms and equipment to energy producers, had fallen almost 8 percent since Jan. 1, following a 19 percent decline in 2013, on fears its oil and gas majors clients would rein in exploration spending after years of large investments spurred by high oil prices.
Technip last October cut its full-year sales and margin targets for its subsea business, hit by factors including a fall in currencies such as the Brazilian real against the euro, and Chief Executive Thierry Pilenko said he saw stricter "discipline" from oil major clients in terms of capital expenditure.
Yet the company said on Thursday its order intake rose 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter to give a backlog of 16.58 billion euros, of which 8.6 billion is in its subsea business.
The group also said it would raise its 2013 dividend by 10 percent to 1.85 euros per share and reported a net cash position of 663 million euros.
Pilenko retained a relatively cautious stance, telling reporters on a conference call: "In the previous decade, majors and super majors had double-digit growth rates, and at the moment we're more on a 5 to 6 percent growth rate."
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