AECOM Technology Corp., Los Angeles, gave investors some positive news in its first-quarter 2010 earnings announcement, released on Feb. 9, reporting revenue up 2%, to $1.5 billion, for the three months ending Dec. 31, 2009, compared to the same period a year earlier. Backlog jumped 11% in the quarter to $10 billion, and net income increased 12%, to $46 million, over last year.
Through a steady stream of acquisitions, the firm has broadened its reach and made results less sensitive to a falloff in one sector of the economy or world. The company acknowledged that first-quarter operating income decreased 5% year-over-year because of a onetime charge of $8.2 million linked to layoff and severance costs in the U.K. as well as the expense of launching a global branding initiative. But the design firm says it is “on track” to meet earnings targets in 2010.
CEO John M. Dionisio reported “particularly solid” markets in North America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. He said the firm is pursuing nearly $15 billion in new U.S. government work and has benefited in its transportation and facilities businesses from the federal stimulus.The company said its new-contract wins exceeded $750 million in January alone.
AECOM did note decreased results in its professional technical services unit, which includes planning, architecture, consulting, engineering and construction management for institutional, commercial and government clients. The firm reported first quarter revenue for the unit down 2%, to $120 million, over the 2009 first quarter, and operating income off 3%, to $76 million. But its management support services unit, which serves federal agencies, made up the gap with revenue up 24% and operating income rising 34%, the firm reported.
At least one stock watcher also was upbeat. “Growth in backlog will start to accelerate even more in the second half of the fiscal year when you will start seeing stimulus dollars flow in a more meaningful way,” says Andrea Wirth, analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co., Milwaukee.