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E&E sees profits tumble by 97%; Project delays cited by company

Ecology & Environment's third-quarter profits plunged by 97 percent to a little more than break-even as project delays cut into the Lancaster-based environmental services company's sales.

E&E said its profits plummeted to $55,941, or a penny per share, during the quarter that ended in April, compared with $1.43 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

E&E executives blamed the drop on delays caused primarily by scheduling issues and said the company still is expected to perform the work.

"Delays in projects, primarily in the United States, hurt earnings substantially," said Kevin Neumaier, E&E's president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "These were delays in schedule, rather than cancellations, and we expect to see those projects resume going forward."

Those delays caused the company's revenues to drop by 12 percent to $36 million, compared with $41.1 million a year ago. Much of the decline was due to lower revenues from the U.S. energy industry, where the company had completed a major project, E&E said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company's U.S. sales, which account for about 60 percent of E&E's overall revenues, fell by a quarter to $21.9 million.

At the same time, revenues from E&E's foreign operations strengthened by 18 percent to $14.1 million, as sales jumped by more than 50 percent at its Brazilian subsidiary and by more than two-thirds at its Chilean subsidiary.