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Foster Wheeler Halves Profit, Shares Tumble

Foster Wheeler posts a 46% decline in earnings, sending its shares tumbling in morning trading.

Construction and engineering company

Foster Wheeler


said its first-quarter profit was nearly halved, impaired by the stronger dollar, lower work volumes and a higher tax rate.

The news sent shares tumbling in early trading, down 7% to $22.40.

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During the quarter, the company earned $72.9 million, or 57 cents per share, compared with $138.5 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue declined 30% to $1.26 billion from $1.8 billion.

The company said that during the quarter it booked its largest single contract ever in terms of man-hours. The project, a new oil refinery in India, did not affect first-quarter results, as it is only now getting underway.

According to a report on on Tuesday, it is very possible that

2009 could prove to be the trough year for Foster Wheeler if the global economy continues to recover -- not 2010, as current estimates are forecasting.

Copyright 2009 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.