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A steep drop in work on energy-related projects caused Ecology & Environment to lose $946,000 during the fourth quarter, the Lancaster-based environmental services firm said today.

The loss stemmed from a 17 percent decline in the company’s revenues that was caused mainly by a slump in the amount of work that E&E did on energy industry projects in the United States, the company said.

“We had disappointing earnings that came with project delays and lower revenue from U.S. operations,” said Kevin Neumaier, E&E’s president and chief executive officer.

The fourth quarter loss capped a difficult fiscal year for E&E, which saw its profits tumble by 89 percent to $774,000 as the company’s revenues weakened by 8 percent to $155 million. Because of that weakness, E&E did not pay any bonuses to its employees during the fiscal year and reduced its contribution to workers’ 401(k) accounts.

Still, Neumaier said he views the weakness during the fiscal year that ended in July as “a bump in the road.” Neumaier said he sees “a number of signs of improvement” during the current fiscal year.

During the fourth quarter, E&E’s loss equaled 23 cents per share, which was a significant reversal from the $1.9 million, or 45 cents per share, that the company earned a year earlier. The company’s pre-tax profits tumbled by 97 percent to $100,000, E&E said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company’s total revenues fell by 17 percent to $36.9 million during the quarter that ended in July, down from $44.2 million a year earlier. Excluding subcontracts, E&E’s revenues fell by 17 percent to $29.3 million from $35.3 million as the company wrapped up work on a major project that was a significant contributor to sales during the previous year.

While E&E said its sales softened in its state and local government markets, its international operations were a bright spot, with Brazilian sales jumping by 47 percent to $4.4 million and revenues from its Chilean subsidiary spiking by 42 percent to $3.4 million.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com