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Relief work boosts E&E's earnings

More work on relief projects stemming from the Gulf Coast hurricanes and the end of losses from its now-closed testing laboratory in Lancaster helped Ecology & Environment earn sharply higher profits during its first fiscal quarter.

The Lancaster-based environmental services firm's earnings soared to $746,000, or 19 cents per share, compared with $5,000, or a penny per share, a year ago, with almost a third of the increase coming from the decision to shut down the testing lab earlier this year.

An additional $1.2 million in work from relief efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina helped E&E boost its revenues by 6 percent to $20.3 million during the quarter that ended in October, up from $19.2 million the year before.

E&E said late last month that it expects to receive a total of about $5.5 million in work on a series of projects stemming from last summer's hurricanes. That work should stretch throughout the first half of next year, said Ronald L. Frank, E&E's executive vice president and chief financial officer.

The company's Walsh Environmental subsidiary also had a strong quarter, boosting its revenues by 53 percent to $3.6 million while its earnings more than tripled because of additional sales from its operations in Peru and its acquisition of Gustavson Associates.

E&E also said it is doing more work on projects related to liquid natural gas terminals, which helped offset a 65 percent drop in revenues as it wrapped up work on major contracts in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The shutdown of the Lancaster laboratory early this year also saved the company $231,000, or 6 cents per share, after taxes.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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