VIENNA, May 23 (Reuters) - Schoeller-Bleckmann (SBO) predicted rising demand for its drilling motors and circulation tools on Thursday after years of stagnation as its first-quarter core profit rose 49%.
The Austrian oilfield equipment producer said its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) increased to 20.2 million euros ($22.5 million) and sales grew 29 percent to 121.1 million euros in the January-March period.
Under-investment in recent years within the oil and gas industry had created pent-up demand that will gradually lead to the launch of new exploration and production projects and a revival of activity in the oilfield service industry, SBO said.
“The trend towards efficiency-enhancing products and measures is going on. We expect that the momentum in the international market will continue,” SBO Chief Executive Gerald Grohmann said.
SBO forecast global spending for exploration and production to rise 4% this year. However, in North America investment is expected to fall 5% after strong growth in recent years.
Schoeller-Bleckmann’s operating cash flow increased nearly fivefold to 36.8 million euros in the first quarter. Its order backlog was at 107.3 million per end-March, it said. ($1 = 0.8969 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Alexander Smith)