KBR posts 3Q loss as acquisition loses value

HOUSTON -- Engineering company and contractor KBR Inc. said Wednesday that it lost money in the third quarter as it wrote down the value of a 2010 acquisition.

KBR bought Chicago-based Roberts & Schaefer in December 2010 for $280 million. KBR said Wednesday that Roberts & Schaefer's value was hurt by a reduction in the business of handling solid fuel materials in North America as shale gas took off.

It booked a charge of $178 million, or $1.20 per share, to account for the drop in the value of the brand. That dragged KBR to a quarterly loss of $81 million, or 55 cents per share, compared with net income of $185 million, or $1.22 per share, a year earlier, when the company was helped by big one-time tax gains.

Excluding the charge, KBR said it would have earned 65 cents per share. That matched the forecast of analysts, who usually exclude one-time charges and gains, according to FactSet.

Revenue declined 17 percent to $1.99 billion. Analysts expected $2.30 billion.

The Houston company maintained its forecast for full-year earnings of $2.60 to $2.80 per share, excluding the goodwill write-down. Analysts are expecting $2.68 per share, on average.

KBR shares fell 20 cents to close at $29.53.