The executives running Babcock & Wilcox Co. say they’re happy with how the global energy industry manufacturer performed in 2012.
Revenue and profit were up for the year. Senior managers also expect that 2013 will be a good year for the Charlotte-based company.
And they are shopping for new companies to buy, including overseas and in natural gas and alternative energy industries to diversify beyond the company’s core coal and nuclear technologies.
“2012 was a strong year for B&W,” James Ferland, president and chief executive officer, said in a call Thursday with industry analysts. “We faced challenges certainly but we grew revenue and the bottom line.”
B&W expects revenue in 2013 will grow to $3.4 billion to $3.55 billion, fueled largely by its Power Generation and Nuclear Operations segments. Adjusted earnings per share this year will be in the range of $2.25 to $2.45, said Anthony Colatrella, chief financial officer.
B&W on Wednesday reported fourth quarter and fiscal 2012 results after the stock market closed.
Shares in B&W on Thursday rose 59 cents to $27.02. Shares are up 3.4 percent, including dividends, since Jan. 1 and are up 5.6 percent from a year ago.
The company earned $39.1 million, or 33 cents per share, on revenue of $865.3 million for the fourth quarter. B&W reported losing $103.4 million, or 53 cents per share, on revenue of $800.8 million a year ago.
B&W earned $227.7 million, or $1.91 a share, on revenue of $3.29 billion in fiscal 2012. In fiscal 2011, the company earned $78.3 million, or 66 cents per share, on revenue of $2.95 billion.
Revenue at B&W’s Power Generation segment, which employs nearly 2,000 people at its Barberton campus, rose $36.9 million, or 9 percent, to $448.3 million from $411.4 million a year ago. The revenue increase was largely driven by sales for environmental projects, particularly scrubbers and particle control devices, Colatrella said.
Net operating income for Power Generation Group fell 21 percent to $45.2 million in the fourth quarter from $57.2 million last year. The drop in income came from cost overruns on one project, lower margins on environmental projects and other factors, the company said.
B&W continues to have high hopes for its mPower small modular nuclear reactor that remains under development, executives said. The company is looking for “strategic investors” in mPower, including international partners, the company said.
Ferland said that in exploring other companies to buy, B&W’s core competencies include precision manufacturing, very large projects and a focus on the power sector.
“We would tend to look in those areas, of course,” Ferland said. “We would like opportunities to grow internationally.”
Any purchase or purchases needs to generate significant value, he said.
The natural gas market is an attractive area to look at and a sector where B&W does not have a significant presence, he said. After natural gas, B&W is looking to expand some of its “solar technology plays” in the United States and in other renewable energy areas, he said.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.