* 3rd quarter EPS 86 cents vs 97 cents expected by Wall
* Sees 2013 EPS $3.85 to $4.35, short of estimates
* Shares down 3.4 pct after hours
By Braden Reddall
Nov 1 Fluor Corp reported a decline in
its backlog on Thursday due to two mining project cancellations,
while quarterly profits and its 2013 outlook fell short of
Shares of Fluor, the largest publicly traded U.S.
engineering company, dropped 3.4 percent to $55.72 in
after-hours trading on Thursday.
The company is also still looking ahead to a long-awaited
decision on whether its nuclear venture, NuScale, will get U.S.
federal funding. Chief Executive David Seaton
said he believed it was "held up in the normal bureaucracy."
Seaton saw Fluor's overall 2013 outlook tempered by the weak
global economy and the deferral of big mining capital programs.
"The industry is just taking a deep breath in the face of
the economy that we all see," Seaton told analysts on a call,
referring to the two removed mining projects worth $2 billion.
"I wouldn't categorize them as being canceled."
The breakdown of the two projects was about two-thirds Peru
and a third Australia, Fluor said, and their removal knocked the
overall backlog down to $40.8 billion at the end of the third
quarter from $43 billion three months before.
As for the anticipated resurgence in oil and gas, Seaton
believed that would be felt more in 2014 than next year.
Fluor's third-quarter net profit was $145 million, or 86
cents per share, compared with $135 million, or 78 cents per
share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 18 percent to $7.1 billion.
Analysts had expected earnings of 97 cents per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Fluor also issued a forecast for 2013 earnings of between
$3.85 and $4.35 per share, below the average forecast of $4.40.
Part of what is cutting into earnings this year and next is
its investment in NuScale, an Oregon-based nuclear technology
developer, which saw 2012 costs rise to between 25 cents and 30
cents per share from the 15 cents to 25 cents once expected.
Fluor is awaiting a decision on whether the Department of
Energy will provide funding for NuScale. A decision on which two
companies will split a $452 million grant had been expected in
That anticipated cash influx would offset higher spending
and mean the cost of NuScale in 2013 would be about the same as
2012, Fluor Chief Financial Officer Biggs Porter said.
But Seaton insisted the delay had not fundamentally changed
"It doesn't change our opinion on the technology or its
application," he said. "Nor does it lessen the interest in
NuScale from outside parties that we would expect to bring in as