UPDATE 1-SNC-Lavalin results miss estimates as old projects weigh

Thu Mar 6, 2014 10:56am EST

* Forecasts 2014 EPS of C$2.25 to C$2.50 vs analyst view of C$2.67

* Raises dividend by 4 pct to 24 Canadian cents a share

* 4th-qtr EPS of 61 Canadian cents a share vs year-ago 62 Canadian cts

* 4th-qtr revenue of C$2.12 billion vs C$2.42 billion

* Shares down 4 percent in Toronto (Adds details on fourth-quarter results, 2014 forecast, dividend, stock price)

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, March 6 (Reuters) - Canada's SNC-Lavalin Group Inc reported marginally lower fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday and forecast earnings for 2014 below expectations, with both the results and the forecast hurt by unprofitable older projects and a softening commodity market.

Shares of the Montreal-based company, which is working to move past a far-reaching corruption scandal that brought down senior executives, fell 4 percent to C$46.45 in Toronto on Thursday morning.

SNC, one of the world's largest construction and engineering companies, also announced a 4 percent dividend increase to 24 Canadian cents a share, payable on April 3, to shareholders of record on March 20.

The company said it was expecting earnings between C$2.25 and C$2.50 a share for 2014. Analysts on average were anticipating full-year earnings of C$2.67 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Challenging legacy projects continue to negatively impact the company's earnings in 2014," Chief Executive Robert Card said in a statement, adding that the company was making progress.

"We are well positioned to ... improve earnings in 2015."

The company's 2014 forecast mirrors challenges in 2013. Last year, its infrastructure and environment division and its oil and gas unit struggled, while a soft commodities market dented its mining and metallurgy results. Charges tied to a reorganization of its European operations also affected profit.

During the fourth quarter, SNC said losses at its engineering and construction (E&C), and operations and maintenance (O&M) units offset concession investment gains.

Net earnings dipped to C$92.6 million, or 61 Canadian cents a share, compared with C$94 million or 62 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue was C$2.12 billion, down from C$2.42 billion a year ago.

Analysts had expected earnings of 64 Canadian cents a share and revenue of C$2.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income from its infrastructure concession investments business, which includes managing the 407 express toll highway that parallels the northern boundary of Canada's largest city, increased to C$123.8 million, higher than the C$70.4 million it earned in the same quarter in 2012.

The increase was attributed to a C$36.2 million gain on a partial asset sale and higher net income from its Alberta-based utility subsidiary, AltaLink. Gains were limited by a lower dividend from Highway 407.

The company reported a net loss of C$31.3 million from its E&C and O&M segments, a reversal from the C$23.5 million earned during the year-ago quarter.

Infrastructure and environment suffered an operating loss due to a revision in cost forecasts for certain unprofitable fixed-price contracts under the previous management.

The loss, combined with declines in mining and metallurgy, offset gains in its oil and gas division. The company also recorded charges totaling C$55.2 million during the quarter primarily related to the reorganization in Europe. (Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Matthew Lewis)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.