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SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has reported lower profits in the first three months of 2010 compared with last year, but said earnings were in line with the company's expectations and that it expects improvements in the second half.

The Montreal-based engineering and construction firm on Thursday reported first-quarter profit of $71.9-million, down from $77.5 million in the same 2009 period.

The earnings amounted to 47 cents per share, down from 51 cents per share.

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Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were, on average, expecting earnings of 55 cents per share.

Revenues totalled $1.4-billion, compared with $1.6-billion a year earlier.

"We are pleased with our first-quarter results as they are in line with our 2010 expectations," chief executive officer Pierre Duhaime said in a statement ahead of the firm's annual general meeting in Calgary. "We expect our 2010 revenues to be higher in the second half of the year compared to the corresponding period in 2009."

Mr. Duhaime cited positive developments in SNC-Lavalin's infrastructure concession investments division, after being awarded the contract to build part of Calgary's Stoney Trail Ring Road and being named preferred proponent to build the McGill University Health Centre

"We continue to expect our net income at the end of this year to be as high or higher than 2009," Mr. Duhaime said.

It shares were down $1.29 or 2.59 per cent at $48.51 at midday Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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