ALS expects first-half underlying profit to increase by up to 25 per cent thanks to strong demand for its analysis and testing services.

Chairman Bruce Phillips says the company’s environmental, food, pharmaceutical, geochemistry and engineering businesses are performing well, while profit from its asset care business remains flat, amid challenging conditions.

Mr Phillips told the group’s annual general meeting that ALS expects underlying profit after tax in the range of $85 million to $90 million for the six months to September 30, up from $71.9 million a year earlier, pushing its share price up 9.3 per cent to $8.14 at 1223 AEST.

The testing, inspection and certification industry experienced “quite variable operating conditions” over the past financial year as ALS pushed ahead with its five-year strategic plan, Mr Phillips said.

ALS appointed Raj Nara as chief executive in July 2017, strengthened its management team, established a major operational hub in Houston, Texas and made three international acquisitions in the food, pharmaceutical and engineering sectors.

The Queensland-based company also reviewed its asset care business, including a possible sale, but has decided to keep it and grow its international operations.

In the financial year to March 31, the industrial asset care business was hurt by weaker than expected activity in the oil and gas sector.

Mr Nara said the company benefited from global economic conditions, particularly in mining sector.

In May, ALS reported a 21 per cent jump in full-year underlying profit to $142.2 million from $117.4 million a year earlier.