By Denver Business Journal

The Shaw Power Group has reported a gross loss of $6 million in its fiscal first quarter as the result of a $63.4 million Colorado jury verdict against the group in November in a case involving work on an Xcel Energy plant near Pueblo.

Parent company Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE: SHAW) of Baton Rouge, La., announced in mid-November it would take an after-tax charge of $38.7 million against earnings as a result of the ruling.

⿿I want to be very clear that we strongly disagree with the overall outcome, and we⿿re contesting the award,⿝ Shaw CEO Jim Bernhard told analysts in a conference call Thursday evening.

CFO Brian Ferraioli noted that the jury returned a mixed verdict in the case, which involved claims and counterclaims over Shawâ¿¿s work on Xcel Energyâ¿¿s Comanche coal-fired power plant, completed in May.

Shaw took the charge for the part of the verdict it lost. But it has not yet booked gains on the $40 million the jury ordered Xcel to pay Shaw for delay and disruption costs.

Ferraioli told analysts that the company had asked the court to set aside the juryâ¿¿s finding against Shaw. The case may go to the Colorado Court of Appeals, he said.

At the time of the verdict, an Xcel spokesman was quoted as saying that the Minneapolis-based utility (NYSE: XEL) â¿¿is extremely pleased with the juryâ¿¿s verdict.

Shawâ¿¿s Power Group, based in Charlotte, N.C., comprises essentially Shawâ¿¿s power division and its plant services division. The power division, which took the hit from the jury verdict, reported a $29 million loss for the quarter on $505 million in revenue. That compares with $33 million in gross profit on revenue of $580 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

Ferraioli said without the jury verdict, the power division would have reported $34.4 million in gross profit on $567 million in revenue. That would have been roughly the same as in fiscal 2010.

The quarter ended Nov. 30.

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