NORTH Sea oil & gas operations and a series of acquisitions helped multinational engineer Amec grow profits by more than a quarter last year.

The company, which has its industrial HQ in Darlington, saw revenue for 2012 rise £4.2bn, up 28 per cent on 2011, but growth is expected to be more modest this year.

Pre-tax profit also rose, from £259m to £263m, but overall profit for period was down to £217m from £232m.

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The company, which works in the oil & gas, mining, energy, environment and infrastructure markets, raised its dividend per share for the full year by 20 per cent from 30.5p to 36.5p.

Chief executive Samir Brikho said: ”Amec continued to make good progress in 2012, with earnings per share up by 14 per cent and strong operating cash flow. Oil & gas revenue was up strongly, especially in the UK North Sea and in Gulf of Mexico, with good contract wins too in the Middle East.

“Acquisitions strengthened our service offering in nuclear and broadened our footprint in Brazil and Australia. The pipeline of future opportunities remains good. 

“We continue to expect good revenue growth in the conventional oil & gas market in 2013, offsetting softening in the oil sands and mining markets.”

Amec recently moved its 500 Darlington-based workers into offices at Lingfield Point, from nearby premises at Yarm Road Industrial Estate. The new site will give Amec - one of Darlington's biggest employers - the space to expand its operations in the town.