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Why Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V.'s Shares Fell 13.6% Last Month

By Travis Hoium – Mar 10, 2016 at 3:40PM

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An unexpected loss in the fourth quarter didn't help Chicago Bridge & Iron last month.

What: Shares of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (CBI) dropped 13.6% in February after getting bad news about a major project and reporting earnings. 

So what: The first hit came when the Department of Energy proposed scrapping a project in South Carolina that would dispose of weapons-grade plutonium. Chicago Bridge & Iron is working with France's Areva SA to build a plant at the site, which could potentially be a big loss.  

An earnings release during the month didn't help, either. Revenue for the fourth quarter fell slightly and the company swung to a loss of $65.7 million, or $0.63 per share. New awards also fell slightly to $3.26 billion in the quarter as energy spending dropped. 

Now what: While foreign currency translation is also hurting results, the real problem is the decline in energy prices. And that's the biggest concern for investors in 2016. Very few large projects will be awarded this year, and while Chicago Bridge & Iron may have enough backlog to remain profitable, there's a lot of uncertainty for investors over when spending will pick up again. This lack of clarity was enough to sink the stock last month, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it struggle if contract awards don't pick up in the energy sector later this year. 

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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