Jacobs raises 2011 earnings guidance

By Helen Wright25 January 2011

Jacobs Engineering Group has raised its earnings forecast for 2011 on the back of its December acquisition of a number of operations from Aker Solutions. The company said it expected to earn US$ 2.40 to US$ 2.85 per share for the fiscal year, up from previous estimates of US$ 2.30 to US$ 2.80.

The US$ 675 million cash acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter.

But despite the positive forecast, the year got off to a weak start for Jacobs. The company reported a US$ 6.6 million drop in first quarter earnings to US$ 65.8million, while revenues slipped to US$ 2.4 billion from US$ 2.5 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The drop in earnings was attributed to after-tax costs of US$ 5.5 million for due diligence charges relating to the company's acquisition activities.

And Jacobs' order backlog also fell year-on-year. The total stood at US$ 13 billion at 31 December, 2010, down from US$ 14.9 billion at the same point in 2009.

Jacobs president and CEO Craig Martin said, "While the earnings for the quarter weren't as strong as we would like, there is much to be positive about in the first quarter and our prospects are strengthening in a number of markets."

Under the Jacobs accounting method, the first quarter of fiscal 2011 is the three-months ended 31 December 2010.

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