Fluor Reports $32.6-Million Loss

Times Staff Writer

Fluor Corp. on Friday posted a $32.6-million loss for the first quarter of fiscal 1985, marking two years of almost uninterrupted quarterly declines for the Irvine-based company. The construction, engineering and natural resources giant said revenue for the period fell 13.5% to $951 million.

Fluor Chairman and Chief Executive David S. Tappan Jr. blamed the results on a drop in sales in the company's two key business segments--engineering and natural resources--and on an increase in interest costs for the period, which ended Jan. 31.

Fluor's lastest results are a sharp drop from a profit of $16.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 1984.

They reflect the fact that Fluor, like other engineering firms worldwide, continues to experience sharp declines in revenue as energy prices drop and the oil industry continues to curtail capital outlays, especially for new facilities.

The company said 25% of the latest quarterly loss was caused by an increase in interest expense. But the increase was an accounting expense only and did not involve a cash outlay.

In one bright note, Tappan said that the company received $2 billion in new engineering and construction orders in the quarter, the highest quarterly bookings in 3 1/2 years and nearly double last year's level.

But the company also said that prices for metals produced by its natural resources group declined more than 10% from a year ago. It said that lead and coal production declined because of labor disputes and that gold production declined because of lower ore grades.

Tappan reiterated the company's new strategy to redeploy its assets, including plans to sell and lease back selected real estate, expand engineering and construction activities beyond the energy industry, and sell the company's stock in several natural resource holdings.

With the exception of the first quarter of 1984, Fluor's earnings have declined for the last nine quarters.

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