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E&E’s profits more than double in first quarter

Ecology & Environment’s profits more than doubled during its first quarter as the Lancaster environmental services firm continued to cut costs.

The profit was E&E’s first in three quarters as the savings from the company’s cost reduction efforts outpaced a 4 percent decline in its revenues.

E&E said it earned $1.1 million, or 20 cents per share, during the quarter that ended in early November, up from $515,114, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company’s sales slipped by 4 percent to $33.2 million from $34.7 million as E&E did less work for clients in government and in the commercial, asbestos, inspection and mining sectors within the United States. E&E also did less energy-related work in Brazil, which offset higher volumes from the energy sector in Peru and the United States, along with rising sales from the U.S. military.

Excluding the money that E&E paid to subcontractors, the company’s revenues fell by 5 percent to $28.4 million from $29.9 million.

With its direct revenues dropping, the company has been steadily cutting costs, reducing its work force by a quarter during the past two years, including a 16 percent reduction during the fiscal year that ended in July. The company trimmed its staff by another 3 percent during the first quarter, E&E said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Those staff cuts helped E&E slash its administrative and indirect operating expenses by 14 percent during the first quarter. Overall expenses fell by 7 percent as the company has continued to focus on managing its cost structure.

E&E’s U.S. sales, which account for almost two-thirds of the company’s total revenues, fell by 7 percent, while foreign sales were roughly flat.