UPDATE 1-Hunting sees "satisfactory" 2013 as profit rises
LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - British oil services firm Hunting posted a 55 percent jump in profits in 2012, and said it was confident of a "satisfactory" year in 2013.
Hunting on Thursday reported a full-year pretax profit from continuing operations and before amortisation and exceptional items of 123.6 million pounds ($186.1 million), compared with the 79.8 million it made the year before.
Hunting said profits were helped by activity in the Gulf of Mexico returning to levels seen before BP's oil spill in 2010.
"In North America, market sentiment is indicating that onshore drilling will show a modest increase throughout the year, with offshore drilling remaining strong, as activity in the Gulf of Mexico increases in momentum," Hunting's chief executive Dennis Proctor said in a statement.
"While the Board is mindful of the current geopolitical and economic issues which prevail, it is confident of delivering a further satisfactory year," Proctor said.
The company, which manufactures products used by oil firms to construct and maintain wells, said that an increase in active offshore drilling units in the Gulf of Mexico had helped to offset a shift in focus from gas to liquids in North America.
Oil companies are increasingly reliant on service companies as they are forced to extract hydrocarbons from more difficult environments.
Hunting said it planned to pay a final dividend of 14.0 pence, compared with 11.0 pence in 2011.