Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. reported a significantly smaller first quarter loss compared to a year ago and said one of its business segments has returned to profitability.

The Barberton company on Thursday said it lost $49.8 million, or 29 cents per share, on revenue of $231.9 million. That compares to a loss of $120.4 million, or $2.73 a share, on revenue of $253.2 million for the quarter a year ago.

The revenue decrease was primarily the result of several European project contracts nearing completion in the quarter, the company said.

"Our performance in the first quarter of 2019 reflects the impact of the strategic actions we have taken over the past several months. Combined with the settlements we reached in March 2019 and our additional financing, we have momentum on our path to profitability," Kenneth Young, chief executive officer, said in a news release.

B&W’s primary business involves making coal-fired boilers and related pollution-control equipment and systems for electric power plants.

B&W’s SPIG cooling system segment showed a $3.7 million profit in the quarter compared to a $2.8 million loss a year ago. The Babcock & Wilcox segment reported $188.6 million in revenue, up 18.5 percent from $159.1 million a year ago.

“We are also making progress on our cost-savings initiatives,” Young said. “We expect to see improvement each quarter as our cost-savings initiatives continue to impact bottom-line results and as we minimize [European] contract losses under the terms of the settlements we achieved in March 2019.”

Shares of B&W closed up less than half a penny, or 1 percent, to 48 cents on Thursday. Over the past 52 weeks, shares have ranged from a low of 19 cents to a high of $3.

B&W executives plan to discuss the first quarter results with industry analysts in a conference call at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The public can listen in via webcast by going to www.babcock.com

Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. recently successfully refinanced agreements with creditors and also eliminated liabilities from money-losing European projects last month.

Besides the problems it has had with major European projects, B&W has been hurt by a shift in the U.S. electric power industry away from coal to cheaper and cleaner fracked natural gas.

It is also poised to make other changes, some of which require shareholder approval, that the company previously announced to address shortfalls.

Young was hired as CEO last November, coming from the Barberton company's second-largest shareholder and creditor, California investment firm B. Riley Financial.

Last year, B&W lost $725.3 million, or $5.70 a share, on revenue of $1.06 billion.

B&W also remains on track to move from its long-time Barberton campus to new headquarters in Akron’s East End offices, the redeveloped former Goodyear headquarters building, by the end of the year.