31 October 2001 21:53 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Refining and petrochemicals contractor Fluor Corporation reported a net loss of $54.5m (Euro60m) for its third quarter on flat sales of $2.2bn citing losses from discontinued operations, but its chief executive said Wednesday that he is "very optimistic" about the coming year.
Aliso Viejo, California-based Fluor said its third quarter earnings from continuing operations - without some $100m in losses from discontinued operations - were $44.8m or 56 cent/share, an increase of 59% compared with the same period last year.
Despite the recorded net loss of nearly $55m for the quarter, Fluor pointed out that its financial condition "remains exceptionally strong" with minimal debt on its balance sheet and "a strong cash position of more than $400m."
Company chairman and chief executive Philip Carroll said: "As a result of slowing business conditions and tightening margins in O&M [operations & maintenance], telecommunications and mining, we are making adjustments in overhead commensurate with the current outlook." However, he said, "fourth quarter operating results will be impacted by lower-than-expected earnings from these units."
The company did not break out financial figures for its various industry-specific operations. But company spokesman Keith Karpe noted that construction of energy and chemicals process facilities worldwide account for some 62% of Fluor's business.
After tax losses of $99.3m were taken in the quarter ended 30 September for costs related to discontinuation of two businesses and consolidation of a third. Fluor has discontinued its Ameco operation, which sold and leased construction equipment, and an Ameco Web site that offered global options for heavy construction equipment. A third business, TradeMC, an Internet-based procurement business, has been folded into Fluor's own in-house procurement operations.
Fluor said its new project awards in the third quarter were a "strong" $2.9bn up from the $2.5bn awarded in the second quarter. The company said that in last year's third quarter its new projects awards totalled "an exceptionally strong" $3.3bn but noted that figure included a single $800m project in Venezuela.
Karpe quoted Fluor president and chief operating officer Alan Boeckmann, who just completed a tour of chief customers in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as saying that "Our customers are very optimistic about the coming year and will be moving forward with projects, especially those in the energy, chemicals and petroleum related businesses, domestic and international."
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