Engineering firm Bodycote International has announced two deals in the Middle East as it reported a rise in pre-tax profits to £44.2 million.
The company whose heat treating technology is used to strengthen parts for the aerospace and car industries, increased profits before exceptionals, tax and goodwill from £32 million last year.
Sales in the year to December 2004 rose by two per cent to £457.2 million after the impact of currency translation and disposals.
Bodycote, which has operations in 19 countries, numbers sites at Derby, Birmingham, Coventry, Cheltenham and West Lothian among its holdings.
In a statement, the company it said it was pleased with the current trading at the start of 2005, which is in line with company expectations.
It said: "We look forward to the rest of 2005 with a degree of confidence that we can further improve our trading performance."
In a separate statement, Bodycote said it had acquired the entire issued share capital of Nitrex-HTC and Castelli-Nitrex Obrobka Cieplna in Poland, but did not disclose the price.
Operating from four sites throughout the country, the business is the largest independent heat treatment group in Poland with annual sales of £2.5 million.
Bodycote Materials Testing Group has entered an agreement with North African Services Company in Libya for NASCO to act as Bodycote's sole agent in the Maghreb region.
It is envisaged that, initially, Bodycote's business will be mainly within the Libyan oil & gas sector.
The firm also announced that the Materials Testing division had formed a joint venture in Qatar through the acquisition of the laboratory assets of Qatar Inspection Services.
The company, which will trade from a purpose-built facility in Doha, will provide metallurgical testing, corrosion testing, building materials testing, specialist monitoring, analytical chemistry and environmental testing and monitoring services.
Bodycote raised the total dividend to 6.1p a share from 5.7p a year earlier.