KBR earnings helped by acquisition of Chicago firm

By Reuters
Posted Jan. 13 at 11:33 a.m.

Houston-based engineering and military contracting company KBR Inc. (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root) expects to generate less than a fifth of its 2011 revenue from U.S. military logistics, though the engineering company said that will be more than it had previously anticipated.

KBR Chief Executive Bill Utt said Thursday that the $280 million acquisition of Chicago-based Roberts & Schaefer, a bulk material handling and processing specialist in mining, power and refining, would contribute 11 cents a share to KBR’s 2011 earnings.

KBR has focused more on engineering projects for the energy and mining industries to offset the lost military work.

The company said it expects between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion of revenue from U.S. defense-related work under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program this year, implying a roughly similiar decline to what the company had expected for LOGCAP in 2010.

After booking $4.84 billion in revenue from Middle East operations for the U.S. government in 2009, KBR had forecast a 40 percent decline in U.S. military logistics revenue in 2010 as troops were pulled out of Iraq.

Analysts expect KBR to earn a total of $9.9 billion in 2011 revenue, according to the average on Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Late on Wednesday, KBR raised expectations for 2011 profits by issuing guidance of $2.05 to $2.30 per share, versus the $2.04 targeted by analysts.

But the company’s outlook for engineering and construction work generally had also improved.

“We are optimistic that we’ll see a much better award base in 2011 compared to 2010, so the general sentiment that you have picked up from others in the space, we’re similarly sharing that at a high level,” Utt said on the call.

Shares of KBR, which competes with Fluor Corp. among others, were up 1.5 percent at $30.86 in morning trading.

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