May 2, 2013 / 8:31 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Fluor profit beats Street on strong energy contracts

May 2 (Reuters) - Engineering company Fluor Corp posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by contracts to build oil and natural gas facilities.

Breakneck development of shale oil and natural gas fields in the United States and elsewhere has helped Fluor and its peers, which design and construct many of the facilities used to process hydrocarbons.

Fluor’s first-quarter net profit was $166.5 million, or $1.02 per share, compared with $154.9 million, or 91 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts had expected earnings of 96 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 14 percent to $7.19 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $6.91 billion.

Fluor, the largest publicly-traded U.S. engineering group, stood by its forecast for 2013 earnings of $3.85 to $4.35 per share, saying energy projects should help offset weakness in the mining sector.

The Irving, Texas-based company’s backlog of projects fell 12 percent to $37.5 billion at the end of the first quarter primarily due to a downturn in the mining sector.

Backlog at rival KBR Inc declined in the first quarter, though KBR posted a smaller-than-expected decline in earnings as it improved profit margins.

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