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April 25 (Reuters) - U.S. engineering company KBR Inc reported on Wednesday a decline in quarterly profit and lower-than-expected revenue, while projecting steady growth in earnings through the rest of this year as its backlog of work surged by 44 percent.
KBR's first-quarter net profit fell to $91 million, or 61 cents per share, from $105 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue declined by 14 percent to $2 billion, short of the $2.2 billion that analysts had expected on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"In several of our end markets, project opportunities are beginning to accelerate which should drive stronger operating results through the balance of the year and into the future," Chief Executive Bill Utt said in a statement.
KBR's backlog grew 44 percent to $15.75 billion over the quarter, driven by the addition of the huge Ichthys liquefied natural gas project in Australia.