Engineering and heavy construction company Fluor ( FLR) posted a fourth-quarter profit rise late Wednesday, attributable to a favorable tax audit settlement and robust sales.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Aliso Viejo, Calif., company said profit rose to $65.1 million, or 74 cents a share, compared with $47.9 million, or 57 cents, in the year-ago period.

Included in the quarter was a roughly $9 million tax credit, which compares with a $22.7 million expense in the same quarter of 2004.

Revenue spiked 45% to $4 billion, compared with $2.7 billion a year ago, reflecting substantial growth in all business segments.

The numbers beat those of Thomson First Call analysts who, on average, sought earnings of 70 cents on $3.21 billion in sales.

According to the company, operating profits for the fourth quarter declined by 10% to $104.6 million, from $116.8 million a year ago.

That included a $20 million loss provision on a transportation project and a $19 million provision for expatriate taxes in foreign jurisdictions.

Strong growth in oil and gas, global services and government markets was offset by an operating loss in industrial and infrastructure areas, as well as the expatriate cost issue.

The company forecast full-year profit between $2.80 and $3.10 a share, within the range of Street estimates of $3.08.

In a separate announcement, Fluor said it will begin construction of a 200-megawatt, coal-fired power plant in Nevada for Newmont Mining ( NEM)).

Fluor shares were recently down $1.22 to $86.59 after closing the regular session up $1.51 to $87.81.