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Free of Its Coal Unit, Fluor Reports Earnings Slightly Up

November 22, 2000|From Times Staff Writer

Worldwide engineering and construction giant Fluor Corp. said Tuesday that it earned $34.1 million, or 45 cents a share, for its fiscal fourth quarter--excluding one-time charges and the money-losing results of the mining unit it plans to spin off soon.

In last year's final quarter, the Aliso Viejo company earned $33.6 million, or 44 cents a share, excluding one-time charges. Revenue for the quarter ended Oct. 31 fell to $2.3 billion from $2.6 billion.

The spin-off of its A.T. Massey Coal unit, announced in June, cheered Wall Street investors who thought the mining business didn't fit with Fluor's main business lines and was a drag on earnings.

But they weren't so happy last month when Fluor said fourth-quarter earnings would miss analysts' forecasts of 64 cents a share. Analysts reduced their average estimate to 46 cents.

Fluor also decided to sell or shut down the dealership operations of its AMECO heavy equipment business, resulting in one-time charges.

In releasing its financial results, Fluor said it treated Massey as a discontinued operation with its own quarterly loss of $4.6 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with net earnings of $22.9 million, or 30 cents a share in 1999.

However, as a consolidated operation including the charges and Massey results, Fluor posted a quarterly loss of $12.7 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with last year's final quarter net income of $75.8 million, or $1 a share.

Fluor said that new awards for the year increased 42% to $9.6 billion from $6.8 billion last year. As a result, consolidated backlog grew 10% to $10 billion from $9.1 billion last year, the first positive change in backlog in three years.

For the year, Fluor posted consolidated net income of $123.9 million, or $1.65 a share, an increase over earnings of $104.2 million, or $1.38 a share, for the previous year. Annual revenue fell to $10 billion from $11.3 billion.

The company said last month that it expects 2001 earnings above $2 a share for the "new" Fluor, which retains the company's core construction business, and $1 a share for the Massey unit.

Fluor's directors on Monday set Nov. 30 as the record date for the proposed spin-off distribution of "new" Fluor Corp. and the "new" Massey Energy Co.

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