It happens. Every now and then a perfectly solid company punts a quarter, for reasons that generally can't be attributed to failure on its part. If the company is inherently sound, the result can often be a buying opportunity for investors.
That may be precisely the case at Chicago Bridge & Iron
And they did. The result was a loss of $140.5 million, or $1.47 a share, compared to net income of $26.1 million, or $0.27 per share, a year ago. But back out the previously announced pre-tax charge of about $317 million, and you have an awfully nice quarter. In fact, charge aside, the per-share line would have had a $0.91 figure on it, or well more than triple last year's figure. And I'd point out that the company's shares are down more than 20% from early June.
Chicago Bridge's plight in the quarter could have befallen the likes of Matrix Services
But the real key at Chicago Bridge, as I see it, is that the company's backlog has grown by about 9% during the past year, and now sits at $7.4 billion. Projects added recently include a $400 million Canadian oil sands storage terminal, $150 million for a Canadian LNG peak shaving facility (no, not that kind of shaving), and $100 million for a refinery expansion project.
So the (temporary) damage has been done. Fools looking for new investments might want to take a look at Chicago Bridge. It's got a forward (2009) P/E of less than 12, a solid balance sheet, and -- easily most importantly -- a stellar reputation in the thriving world of energy engineering and construction.
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