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Ecology & Environment’s second-quarter profits nearly quadrupled, despite a 10 percent drop in revenues, as the Lancaster-based environmental services firm farmed out less of its work to subcontractors.

The earnings were E&E’s strongest in the last six quarters as the company struggled last year with the fallout from decisions by some of its customers to delay work on key U.S. energy projects, which cut into revenues and caused its profits last year to plunge by 89 percent.

E&E’s earnings rebounded somewhat during the first quarter, but the recovery gained more momentum during the quarter that ended in January, as the company reduced its operating expenses by more than the drop in its revenues.

“We are starting to see an improvement in our operations and in earnings,” said Kevin Neumaier, E&E’s president and chief executive officer. “We are seeing a number of signs of improvement in our markets.”

E&E’s profits strengthened to $1.9 million, or 45 cents per share, from $503,504, or 12 cents per share, a year ago.

The company’s revenues dipped by 10 percent to $36.2 million during the quarter that ended in January, compared with $40.2 million a year earlier. U.S. sales, which account for 60 percent of E&E’s revenues, fell by 11 percent, while foreign sales slid by 9 percent.

But E&E’s profits still strengthened because the company cut its costs even more aggressively than its drop in revenues. E&E reduced its operating expenses by 14 percent during the quarter, mainly through a $4.2 million reduction in the amount of work it farmed out to subcontractors. E&E also scaled back the operations of its Canadian subsidiary.

E&E also said it spent about $500,000 during the quarter to boost its stake in its Walsh Environmental Scientists & Engineers subsidiary by 2.2 percent, boosting its ownership stake in the Colorado-based business to 89 percent.

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