If you are an employee shareholder of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., you may feel like uncorking a bottle of champagne. The firm�s operating income is up sharply and the share value hit a new peak.

Strong performances by PB�s facilities operation, Asia-Pacific and construction services groups contributed to the strong performance in fiscal 2005. According the firm�s annual report, operating income climbed to $45.9 million, up from $32.1 million in 2004, and net income hit $27.2, up from $18.4 million. Revenue in 2005 was $1.45 billion, up from $1.39 billion.

When PB, which is privately held, revalued its share, the price hit $112.20, up from $97.70., a 14.8% increase.

Behind the share price increase is a sizable gain in shareholders� equity, which climbed to $140.7 million from $111.6 million in 2004. Net income added $27.2 million to shareholders� equity. But PB employees bought $15.7 million of shares through an ESOP and a retirement savings plan�a key source of capital for the company, notes Richard A. Schrader, chief financial officer.

Offsetting increases in the company�s equity were repurchases of $14 million in shares from retiring and terminating shareholders.

PB also cut down its bank debt and debt owed to third parties, from $58 million to $34 million. Schrader expects debt to rise again as the company finances more growth and invests. The company�s biggest liability is a $79.4-million obligation to the defined benefit retirement plan in place for PB�s U.K. operations.

Design firms in general are prospering and PB is still tweaking its operations. Under a reorganization plan announced in March, PB will fold six operating divisions into three (ENR 3/20 p. 15)