Bad weather helped to wash away several millions of dollars in profits at MYR Group Inc. during the second quarter, stymying the big electrical contractor's work on a pair of key projects in the Midwest.
Consolidated gross profit fell to 7.7%, or $27.5 million, in the second quarter, down from 12%, or $31.4 million, in the second quarter last year, according to quarterly numbers released by the company.
MYR (NASDAQ:MYRG) took $2.8 million in charges on the midwestern projects, one of which was hit with "approximately 50 days of rain in this last quarter … as we attempted to finish it up," Rick Swartz, MYR's chief executive officer, told stock analysts, according to a transcript of the call published by Seeking Alpha.
The rainout lowered productivity, required extensive work to repair damaged roads and triggered "costs associated with right-of-way requirements," according to the company's second-quarter earnings release.
Both projects were for long-term clients of Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based MYR.
"The weather towards the end of the project—that last six months, really, and especially towards the end of this quarter—kind of put the brakes [on] the whole project and made us incur that additional cost," Swartz said.
"The weather was huge," he added.
Construction on both Midwest projects is now complete, with MYR having hired a consultant to hammer out settlements with a few landowners, said Tod Cooper, MYR's senior vice president and chief operating officer.
MYR also took a $2.6-million charge on a transmission and distribution project in Canada, due to a series of delays that were beyond the company's control, MYR contends.
Pending Claims and Change Orders
While MYR is now on track to complete its work on the Canada project by the end of September, the company still has issues to sort out, including pending claims and change orders, Cooper noted.
"We are prepared to take those to the next level if we cannot settle with the client," he said.
MYR also opened new offices in a bid to grow, which took a toll on short-term profits, Swartz said.
MYR's backlog has jumped 33.1%, to $632.5 million, from the second quarter, up from $475 million in the same period in 2016.
Looking forward, Swartz said the company expects to gain momentum in the "back half of 2017," due to a "healthy backlog, a steady bidding climate in both our T&D and C&I market segments, and a variety of viable project opportunities in new and existing markets."