Oil pump jack, Cisco, Texas
Weir Group specialises in the manufacture of pumps and valves for the oil industry Reuters

Engineering firm Weir Group said it remained upbeat about the chances of a recovery in the commodity market this year as it posted a sharp slump in profits for 2016.

Profit before tax fell 22% year-on-year to £170m ($212m) in the 12 months to 31 December period, while revenue slid 2% to £1.85bn.

Weir Group, which manufactures equipment used in the mining and energy industries, said it was encouraged by signs of recovery in the mining and oil and gas markets towards the end of last year.

The Glasgow-based company reported a 10% order growth in the fourth quarter and said it expected higher sales and earnings in 2017.

Chief executive Jon Stanton said: "Following a challenging and prolonged downturn, the group returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 as our main markets showed signs of improvement and we benefited from our on-going investment in new technology and long-term customer relationships.

"In recent months I have been encouraged by macro commodity trends and the signs in our mining and oil and gas markets that point to a cyclical upturn.

"Our new strategic priorities will strengthen our capabilities and enable us to fully capture opportunities presented by improving markets, although there is a range of views about the precise shape of the recovery in 2017."