The company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions or updates to any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.And now I'll turn the call over to John Prosser, CFO of Jacobs, who will discuss financial results. John W. Prosser Thank you, Patty, and welcome, everyone. I will go over the financial highlights briefly and then I'll turn it over to Craig Martin, our CEO, to go through the business overview and our going forward strategies. Going to Slide 4, just a recap of the third quarter financial highlights. We did report diluted EPS of $0.76. This was in line with expectations, I believe. Included in the $0.76 was about $0.01 that related to some favorable tax activity in the quarter. While we've been bringing our tax rate down a little bit over the last couple of years, we had an extra benefit this quarter that's just a onetime event. But even at the $0.75, it's still right in line with what the expectation for the quarter was, I believe. Net earnings were $97.9 million. Backlog increased nicely to $15.6 billion. That's up from $15.1 billion last quarter and represents, if you look over the trailing 12, a book-to-bill of 1.15. So a 15% growth is a nice trend in the backlog, so a 15% growth in the book-to-bill. We continue to have a strong balance sheet. The net cash position was $386 million. Total cash was just under $900 million and we're maintaining our guidance from last quarter at the range of $2.80 to $3 for the fiscal year '12. Turning to Slide 5, this just tracks the earnings over the last few years. More importantly, we show the 10-year compounded growth rate for each of those years. And as we talked a lot, our target and our expectations is that we should be able to grow over the long term our bottom line 15%. And if you look at those bars even through this downturn, we're still right there at that 15% growth rate.
Turning to Slide 6. Backlog growth, nice growth from a year ago, did have a tick up in field services as well as strong growth in the professional services. For the quarter, we were up, as I said, about 3.3% and hope for the year it's over 11% growth so -- and still strong growth in the professional services.So with that, I will turn it over to Craig for a review of the quarter. Craig L. Martin Thank you, John. Beginning now on Slide 7, just a quick review of our growth strategy. It doesn't change. It hasn't changed. We continue to be committed to our business model of being relationship-based, being local to our clients and diverse in the markets, both domestic -- our multi-domestic strategy and through the focus on multiple markets. We're going to continue to leverage our cash position for strategic acquisitions and I'll talk more about all of those things later in the discussion. The thing I want to focus on here is our ability to continue to drive down costs. We had an excellent quarter from a cost control point of view. As you know, we were very disappointed about cost control last quarter but we have recovered nicely and feel pretty good about our ability to continue to control costs going forward. That puts us in an excellent cost position just at the time when margins broadly are improving. We're seeing nice improvement in margins in the private sector. The public sector continues to be more price-sensitive than ever, although that's good for us. But of course, the margins have always been stronger in the public sector and they continue to be good margins going forward. So overall, I think our cost position is a positive in terms of our outlook. Turning now to Slide #8, this is our relationship model. We've showed this to you in different forms at different times, trying to help make it clear how the process works. But it really is a function of long-term relationships creating value, which creates repurchase loyalty, creates a stable business for us that we can then grow, reinvest in the business and have this sort of virtuous circle of continuous improvement. It is different than many of our competitors, most of whom follow a big events kind of model, many of whom have a substantial portion of their business in the lump sum turnkey arena. As you know by now, I'm sure that's just not the Jacobs way. This model continues to work well for us. Repeat business last quarter was 91.3%, consistent with what we do pretty much every quarter. And we continue to get a significant part of our business north of 75% to 80% from preferred relationships with our customers. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com