April 28, 2009 / 2:19 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Jacobs cuts 2009 profit view; shares fall

* Q2 EPS 88 cents vs 80 cents yr-ago; meets expectations

* Cuts FY 2009 profit view on market uncertainty

* Shares down 9 percent (Adds analysts’ comments, share movement)

April 28 (Reuters) - U.S. construction services firm Jacobs Engineering Group Inc (JEC.N) posted a higher quarterly profit, but cut its 2009 earnings forecast, even as its backlog for orders grew 2.5 percent.

Shares of the company fell nearly 8 percent to $42.25 in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Jacobs slashed its earnings estimate to a range of $3.10 to $3.50 a share, from a prior forecast of $3.55 to $3.90 a share.

“While we viewed a downward revision in 2009 guidance as likely on energy markets pressure, we are slightly surprised by the extent of the cut,” Keybanc Capital Markets analyst Tahira Afzal said in a note.

Goldman Sachs analyst Joe Richie said the magnitude of the guidance cut is somewhat perplexing given an in-line earnings quarter and better-than-expected awards.

FBR Capital Markets analyst Alex Rygiel said calculated new awards were $4.5 billion during the quarter.

Jacobs, which serves the oil and gas, energy, refining, and infrastructure markets, said its backlog rose 2.5 percent to $16.6 billion at the end of the quarter.

“Our public sector business remains strong, while the heavy process business is highly uncertain,” Jacobs Chief Executive Craig Martin said in a statement.

FBR’s Rygiel said investors will remain concerned about backlog declining due to the company’s exposure to the global oil, gas and chemical markets, which represent about 55 percent of its total revenue.

For the second quarter ended March 31 2009, the company earned $109.3 million, or 88 cents per share, compared with $99.3 million , or 80 cents a share. Revenues rose about 12 percent to $2.98 billion from $2.66 billion. (Reporting by Eric Yep and Jennifer Robin Raj in Bangalore; Editing by Anshuman Daga, Anil D’Silva)

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