Fluor Corp. posted third-quarter earnings Wednesday that exceeded Wall Street's expectations, due in part to sizable engineering contracts and a stock repurchase plan.
The Irvine-based engineering construction company reported net income of $62.4 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with $66.2 million, or 79 cents, a year ago. The First Call analysts' consensus was 70 cents per share for the latest quarter.
Revenues were $3.5 billion, compared with $3.7 billion a year ago.
The company bought back about 2.4 million shares in the third quarter and reduced shares outstanding by 9% to 76.5 million. That added about 6 cents per share to third-quarter earnings.
Flour's stock rose $3.88 to $44.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.
A.T. Massey, Fluor's low-sulfur coal investment, increased its operating profit to $44 million, a 13% gain over results in the same period a year ago.
"Overall, Fluor's performance is showing substantial improvement over last year's disappointing results," said Phil Carroll, chairman and chief executive.
Carroll said Fluor had been successful in shifting its focus to more attractive markets, including both North and South America, after de-emphasizing the Asian markets.
Operating margins for engineering and construction subsidiary Fluor Daniel were down slightly compared with last year because the company performed less work on larger, more complex projects that generally carry higher margins.
The backlog of orders for construction and engineering services was $13.7 billion, compared with $15.3 billion a year ago, due in part to the company's decision to be more selective in the projects it pursues.
For the first nine months, Fluor reported net earnings of $171.5 million, or $2.14 per share, compared with net earnings of $58.1 million, or 70 cents per share for the same period last year. Revenue totaled $10.2 billion, down from $10.3 billion.