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MasTec Keeps Building Higher

By Dan Caplinger – May 4, 2017 at 10:45PM

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Record backlog levels show good times ahead for the construction specialist.

When it comes to plans to increase infrastructure spending, MasTec (MTZ 0.23%) has a lot at stake. The company provides a wide array of construction services for infrastructure projects ranging from energy pipelines and utility transmission services to communications networks and industrial infrastructure.

Coming into Thursday's first-quarter financial report, MasTec investors were looking for an extensive turnaround from the tough conditions that have prevailed in recent years. MasTec didn't disappoint, giving investors record results that suggest that better times could lie ahead. Let's look more closely at MasTec and what its latest report says about its future.

MasTec oil and gas project.

Image source: MasTec.

MasTec keeps moving forward

MasTec's first-quarter results lived up to high expectations. Sales were up 19%, to $1.16 billion, which more than doubled the anticipated 9% growth rate among those following the stock. Adjusted net income soared to $48.4 million, and that resulted in adjusted earnings of $0.59 per share, topping the consensus forecast of $0.51 per share.

Looking more closely at the numbers, the recovery in the oil and gas industry once again helped power MasTec's results higher. The division saw revenue jump by more than half, and pre-tax profit climbed almost fivefold from year-ago levels. Other areas paled in comparison, with electrical transmission being the best of the rest with a 14% rise in sales that reversed a year-ago loss with a modest pre-tax profit this year.

The communications segment boosted its revenue by 9%, but pre-tax profits fell by about a fifth. The power generation and industrial division brought up the rear, seeing a pullback of more than 40% in sales and enduring a nearly three-quarters cut in its segment bottom line.

Yet the big news for MasTec came from its backlog numbers. In total, MasTec now has $5.7 billion in backlogged business, which is up 5% just since the end of 2016.

CEO Jose Mas was brief in his comments. "We are pleased with our strong first quarter results," Mas said, and "we continue to have excellent multi-year growth opportunities and momentum in numerous markets, as evidenced by our record backlog level and our increased annual guidance."

What's coming next for MasTec?

One key strategic move could help bolster MasTec's future growth. The company said that it acquired wireline and fiber deployment construction contractor SEFNCO Communications last month, which has operations in the Western U.S. and concentrates on serving operators of cable systems. In CEO Mas' words, the move should "provide a compelling platform that will benefit from growing multi-year opportunities in the wireline/fiber deployment market for cable and telecom customers." SEFNCO Communications has a reputation for excellence in its entrepreneurial management team, and the business connections that the company has should be especially valuable for MasTec going forward.

MasTec took the opportunity to increase its full-year guidance. The company now expects full-year revenue of $5.7 billion, up about $200 million from its previous prediction, and adjusted earnings of $2.45 per share would be $0.10 per share higher than its most recent guidance. For the second quarter, MasTec expects revenue of $1.5 billion to produce adjusted earnings of $0.65 per share. Those figures are both higher than the consensus forecast currently among those following MasTec stock, signaling the potential for better times ahead.

MasTec investors celebrated the positive news in the report, and the stock climbed almost 6% in after-hours trading following the announcement. Given how well the company is doing, even before the biggest potential infrastructure-related projects have even gotten announced, MasTec could enjoy even bigger success if some of the federal projects that policymakers have talked about actually become reality in the near future.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends MasTec. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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