'05 a Solid Year, Fluor CEO Says

From Reuters

Engineering and construction group Fluor Corp. of Aliso Viejo expects new orders during 2005 to be in line with figures for 2004, its top executive said Wednesday.

"We see a very strong new order trend. 2004 was our best year ever. 2005 ... could be the same range as in 2004," Chief Executive Alan Boeckmann said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In an interview, Boeckmann said the strong order trend was continuing as capital spending by Fluor's energy clients continued with oil prices remaining near record highs.

"We see strong spending on the part of our clients in the oil and gas sector," he said, adding that this trend was likely to continue for "several years."

Mining and oil and gas are among the hottest markets at the moment, with high prices prompting large investments in those sectors.

Earlier this month Fluor announced plans to enter another growth market: the healthcare construction market.

The company said it would pursue healthcare capital projects worldwide through its infrastructure business line, a unit of its industrial and infrastructure group.

When it reported third-quarter results, Fluor raised its earnings outlook for 2005 to $2.40 to $2.60 a share from its outlook in August of $1.55 to $1.75 a share and said it saw earnings of $2.80 to $3.10 a share in 2006.

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