UPDATE 1-Oil and gas work boosts Fluor earnings above estimates
Aug 1 (Reuters) - Fluor Corp, the largest publicly traded U.S. engineering company, posted a higher-than-expected adjusted profit on growth in oil and gas work, for which prospects were strong, yet it trimmed its 2013 outlook partly due to mining sector weakness. In a statement along with the earnings on Thursday, Chief Executive David Seaton said early design work indicated plenty of full project awards to come in the years ahead. Second-quarter net profit was $161 million, or 98 cents per share, flat against $161 million, or 95 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Growth was offset by a $17 million charge for a court ruling on claims over work on an embassy in Haiti. Excluding that, Fluor earned $1.05 per share, above the $1.01 expected on average by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. As a result of the charge and a weaker outlook for mining work, Fluor cut the upper end of its full-year profit per share forecast by 15 cents per share, bringing the range down to $3.85 to $4.20. Analysts had been looking for $4.14, on average. The Irving, Texas-based company's backlog of projects fell by $500 million to $37 billion at the end of the second quarter. Despite the generally weaker mining outlook, Fluor announced on Wednesday a $2.9 billion contract from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold for an expansion of the Cerro Verde mine in Peru. Nearest competitor Chicago Bridge & Iron on Tuesday posted a higher-than-expected profit, but revised lower its anticipated new orders for this year. Rival KBR Inc posted a higher-than-expected earnings as the company improved profit margins.