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ECOLOGY & ENVIRONMENT POSTS 27% EARNINGS GAIN

Ecology & Environment Inc. said Tuesday that its profits rose 27 percent during the first quarter as the Lancaster-based company continued to diversify its customer base beyond the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The environmental services firm reported that its net income rose to $1.51 million, or 38 cents a share, from $1.19 million, or 30 cents a share, a year ago.

In addition, E&E's net revenues increased by 25 percent to $20.95 million during the quarter ended Oct. 27, compared with $16.75 million a year earlier.

The improved earnings helped push E&E's stock up 7/8 to 14 5/8 .

Ronald L. Frank, the company's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said E&E's profits rose almost in tandem with its revenues because the firm was able to maintain its operating margins.

Most of the increase in revenues was because the company was able to expand its investigation and remediation services with private-sector clients and government agencies other than the EPA, Frank said.

Frank said he expects the company's revenues will continue to grow as E&E increases its private-sector market share and provides services to more government agencies.

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