Worley earnings to ebb then flow

Global contract engineering group WorleyParsons has flagged that earnings will decline in the December half, with earnings to be more skewed to the latter part of the financial year.

Global contract engineering group WorleyParsons has flagged that earnings will decline in the December half, with earnings to be more skewed to the latter part of the financial year.

The company said this followed a quiet period of order flows earlier in the year.

"The flow pattern of [contract] awards will see earnings [in the 2013-14 financial year] being more heavily biased to the second half than in recent years," chief executive Andrew Wood told shareholders at Wednesday's annual general meeting.

"That is, we expect our first half earnings to be lower than those for the prior corresponding period.

"Despite ongoing challenges ... we expect our geographic and sector diversification to provide a solid foundation to deliver increased earnings in [the financial year]."

The group has referred to the increasing seasonality of its earnings flows at recent shareholder meetings, and after warning shareholders of the soft outlook for earnings in the December half of 2013, net profit rose to $155.1 million from $151.9 million a year earlier.

The weak global economic outlook flagged on Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund - which cut its global growth forecast to 2.9 per cent from 3.1 per cent, while also trimming the forecast for 2014 - also fed through to concerns about the outlook for earnings.

Even so, WorleyParsons put acquisitions firmly on the agenda, along with pursuing organic growth, as it looks to the future.

Mr Wood said the company would take "advantage of acquisition opportunities that provide value for shareholders".

"The group is confident that its medium-term and long-term prospects remain positive based on our competitive position, our diversified operations and strong financial capacity."

Last financial year, Worley outlaid $100 million to acquire South African group TWP Holdings, along with Norwegian operator Bergen Group.

WorleyParsons shares closed 66ยข lower at $22.10 on Wednesday.

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