* 2010 revenue down 9 pct at $27.9 bln
* New bookings up 5 pct at $21.3 bln, backlog down 5 pct
* Headcount up 8 pct in 2010
(Adds quote from annual report, background, employees)
By Braden Reddall
SAN FRANCISCO, April 25 Bechtel, the largest
U.S. engineering company, posted on Monday a 9 percent drop in
revenue in 2010, while it pulled in new work awards that were
just 5 percent higher than in the depressed previous year.
Bechtel had targeted 2010 bookings growth of more than 20
percent, Chief Operating Officer Bill Dudley told Reuters last
year, but he had also warned of cutthroat competition weighing
on profit margins and had expected more challenges ahead.
The privately held company said in its latest annual report
that it "weathered rough economic waters" to generate 2010
revenue of $27.9 billion, down from $30.8 billion in 2009.
Bechtel, which does not report profits, said its backlog of
project revenue fell 5 percent to $78 billion, while it booked
$21.3 billion in new work, up 5 percent on 2009 levels.
"More than two-thirds of our new work was outside North
America, underscoring our strategy to expand into developing
and emerging nations," the company said in the annual report.
Bechtel kept hiring last year too, increasing the number of
employees in 2010 by nearly 8 percent to 52,700, having already
added 5,000 in 2009 -- which it had called an "extremely
"Continued economic uncertainty makes forecasting
difficult, but we think we're well-positioned for the future,"
the San Francisco-based company said in its latest annual
Bechtel, which manages projects from nuclear reactors and
oil refineries to government services and transport, competes
with companies such as Fluor Corp (FLR.N), Jacobs Engineering
Group Inc (JEC.N) and URS Corp URS.N.
Revenue at Fluor fell 5 percent to $20.8 billion in 2010,
mostly due to weaker spending on oil and gas projects, but
analysts expect 15 percent growth in revenue for Fluor this
year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Bechtel said its oil, gas and chemicals division "set the
pace" for the company in 2010, with more than half a dozen
liquefied natural gas projects being built or developed.
(Reporting by Braden Reddall; editing by Carol Bishopric)