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E&E profits tumble 93% on South American softness

A South American slump is taking a big toll on Ecology & Environment.

The Lancaster-based environmental services firm’s third-quarter profits tumbled by 93 percent as a combination of low energy prices and soft economies from Brazil and Peru to Chile cut into E&E’s sales.

The company’s profits fell to $134,721, or 4 cents per share, from $1.9 million, or 42 cents per share, during the quarter that ended in April.

Part of the drop in profits stemmed from a 17 percent drop in E&E’s revenues, which fell to $25.2 million from $30.4 million.

Sales in the United States, which account for about three-quarters of E&E’s overall revenues, fell by 13 percent as the company did more work on government projects, where revenues tend to be lower than they are on individual commercial projects.

Foreign sales slid by 27 percent as low energy prices hurt revenues at E&E’s operations in Brazil and Peru, offsetting improved sales from its Chilean subsidiary.