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Programmed lifts in full year profit

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SYDNEY, Nov 21 AAP

November 21 2012, 3:03PM

Programmed Maintenance Services has battled through deteriorating conditions to post a rise in first half profit and flagged a moderate increase for its full fiscal year.

The recruitment, property management and engineering firm said net profit for the six month to September 30 rose 6.2 per cent to $12.3 million, compared with the prior corresponding period.

Chief executive Chris Sutherland said difficult market conditions had hit the company's margins and led to a 15 per cent decline in earnings before interest and tax.

"Market conditions in the retail, manufacturing, light industrial and transport sectors have remained weak," Mr Sutherland said in a statement.

"The building and non engineering construction sector has weakened considerably since the beginning of this calendar year."

However, Mr Sutherland also said that Programmed achieved strong growth in the offshore oil and gas sector.

Programmed also achieved annualised savings of about $6 million through cutting costs.

The company maintained earnings guidance for "moderate" profit growth for the full fiscal year, from $31.2 million in its fiscal 2012.

"Our projection assumes there is no further weakening in some of the property and infrastructure and workforce divisions' major markets," Mr Sutherland said.

Mr Sutherland said Programmed's three divisions - property and infrastructure, workforce, and resources - were expected to post stronger earnings in the second half than the first half.

Programmed declared an interim dividend of five cents per share, fully franked.

At 1503

AEDT, Programmed was down 9.5 cents at $1.795.