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Fluor Net Income Plummets 59%

Times Staff Writer

Engineering and construction firm Fluor Corp. reported lower first-quarter sales and net income Tuesday as special charges offset higher operating profits at most of the firm’s businesses.

Net income at the Aliso Viejo-based company sank 59% to $16.9 million, or 21 cents a share. That compares with net profit of $41.2 million, or 51 cents, for the year-ago period.

Sales from continuing operations dropped 16% to $2.1 billion from $2.5 billion in 2002’s first quarter.

Fluor Chairman and Chief Executive Alan Boeckmann said the quarterly results were driven by “solid operating performance,” particularly in the firm’s unit that builds power plants. That business recorded 64% higher profit despite revenue that plummeted 80% in the first quarter because of a downturn in new construction.

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The company’s net earnings were hurt by a $10.4-million charge for an accounting change as well as a $13.5-million write-down on the value of Fluor’s only remaining construction equipment dealership.

Fluor’s ongoing businesses posted first-quarter operating profit of $40.9 million, or 51 cents a share, up from $36.2 million, or 45 cents, in the same period last year. On average, analysts expected operating earnings of 50 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.

The company recently won two contracts for reconstruction work in Iraq.

Fluor stock rose 26 cents to $35.40 in New York Stock Exchange trading Tuesday. The company released its earnings report after the market closed.

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