Despite reporting record revenue in all three of its segments in 2017, Aegion posted a net loss for the year.
The Chesterfield-based pipeline and infrastructure company announced $1.36 billion in 2017 revenue in its earnings report released Wednesday, up 11 percent from last year. But increased expenses took a hit on the company’s bottom line for 2017, resulting in a net loss of $69.5 million, or $2.08 per diluted share, after the company posted a profit of $29.5 million, or 84 cents per share, in 2016.
The company’s income after certain non-GAAP pre-tax adjustments for restructuring, impairment, acquisitions and divestitures and tax reform was $34.8 million.
Aegion CEO Charles Gordon predicted a bounce back for next year.
“Looking forward, we feel confident in the decisive actions we have taken to return troubled businesses to profitability in 2018,” he said. “These efforts, combined with ongoing market strength and our backlog position, drive our favorable outlook for adjusted diluted earnings per share improvement of more than 30 percent in 2018.”
A 20 percent increase in new orders, as well as the successful completion of a major large deepwater pipe coating and insulation project, led to 2017’s revenue growth. The backlog as of Dec. 31, 2017 was $689 million, up 16 percent from the previous year.
Despite predicted growth by that metric, Gordon said in a conference call that even more increased orders in 2018 may be too much to hope for. He predicted a more modest order growth in the low-to-mid single digits for 2018.
A major wild card for Aegion in 2018 is the prospect of a federal infrastructure bill. President Donald Trump has called for such a bill to the tune of a combined $1.5 trillion pushed by $200 billion in federal funding to encourage state, local and private funding.
“We follow it, obviously, and we think an infrastructure bill would benefit us if it’s put together properly,” Gordon said. “But I would hate to hazard a guess at what that final bill might look like.”