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E&E profits plunge 76 percent

Ecology & Environment's second-quarter profits plunged by 76 percent as the Lancaster-based environmental services firm was stung by funding and project delays.

With the delays cutting E&E's revenues by 9 percent, E&E also said it has trimmed an unspecified number of jobs, including a handful at its Lancaster headquarters, although company officials declined Wednesday to be more specific. Further staff reductions also took place at the company's offices throughout the United States and the world.

"It was not a big number," said John Mye, E&E's chief financial officer. "In our professional ranks, with the sales slippage and so forth, we felt we were somewhat overstaffed."

E&E's profits plummeted to $235,000, or 6 cents per share, from $965,000, or 24 cents per share, a year ago.

E&E's revenues fell to $31.1 million during the quarter that ended in January, down from $34.1 million a year earlier.

Most of the projects that were delayed temporarily or are encountering funding hurdles were from commercial customers who are being cautious with spending as the economy remains weak, Mye said.

"These projects are capital investments by those companies, and the schedules have slipped," he said. E&E still expects those projects to be completed.

Despite the second-quarter weakness, E&E also said the company has been aggressively pursuing new work and it expects those efforts to lead to an increase in new contracts in the coming quarters.

Mye said company officials believe E&E's staffing now is in line with its expected workload during the next two quarters. "We don't anticipate any further cutbacks at this point," he said.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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