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Thursday, Dec 8, 2022
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Collections Concern Tutor Perini Investors

A drop in share price during the second quarter negatively impacted the earnings of general contractor Tutor Perini Corp. The Sylmar construction firm took a goodwill impairment charge of $380 million after performing an interim review on June 1. Chief Executive Ron Tutor said during an Aug. 8 conference call with analysts that he did not like having to deal with an impairment charge but that it didn’t make him feel less confident about the company’s future. “I would reiterate that goodwill impairment charge was strictly driven by the dramatic downturn in our stock price,” Tutor said. “That impairment charge once again has no effect on our cash flows, our financial strength or our ability to execute our existing working backlog or compete for future opportunities.” The stock price was at a high of $20.23 on May 6 and three weeks later had lost 25 percent of its value and closed at $15.09. Shares closed at $16.88 on Oct. 23. For the second quarter, the company reported on Aug. 8 an adjusted net income of $9 million (18 cents a share) for the period ending June 30 compared with adjusted net income of $24.9 million (49 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue was flat at $1.1 billion. Current projects for the company include the California high speed rail project in the Central Valley; the Metro Purple Line extension beneath Wilshire Boulevard; the $1.4 billion terminal one at Newark Airport in New Jersey; and the $800 million Minneapolis Southwest Light Rail project. Brent Thielman, a senior research analyst who follows Tutor Perini for D.A Davidson Cos., said that even though the San Fernando Valley company is getting all these big contracts, its share price has gone in the opposite direction. Primary concerns have been about legacy projects, how the weather has affected certain projects and the timing of when the big jobs ramp up, Thielman said. “There is also continued concern in their ability to collect cash in respect to some of these projects and outstanding unbilled receivables,” he added. Tutor addressed the issue of unbilled receivables in the Aug. 8 conference call with analysts. He said that in the past month and a half five cases had been settled in which the company could collect $125 million; that the company was in “serious negotiations” on nine individual issues totaling $257 million; and was in arbitration or litigation on another eight cases that would be settled by March 31 of next year. “We remain confident that we will collect the moneys due us,” Tutor said during the call. “In the meantime, we will continue to focus on the growth ahead of us that becomes more obvious by the day while, at the same time, never losing sight of the criticality of our unbilled collections.” Tutor also addressed some of the other issues that Thielman said were of concern, notably the delays from weather on the Newark Airport project. “The rain and winds in New York have been incredible for the first six months of this year and really the last three months of last year, generating, what we have turned into the Port Authority, as 93 days of excess weather delays,” Tutor said. “Which means in excess of the norm, which, of course, delays revenue, delays cost and delays performance.” Another project with delays is construction of the high-speed rail line in central California. The slowdown there is due to right-of-way issues. Whether that project will just wither away, Thielman declined to say. But even if it did because of the politics surrounding it, with Gov. Gavin Newsom suspending preliminary work on some sections of the track, Tutor Perini still has a healthy book of business to fall back on. “You hate to see a project lost but I think there is plenty of other work in their backlog to get them through,” Thielman said. Tutor Perini is constructing the first part of the high-speed rail tracks from Madera to Fresno as part of joint venture with Zachry Group in San Antonio, and Parsons Corp. in Centreville, Va. Phase one of the project, to run from San Francisco to Anaheim, is expected to cost about $77 billion with a completion date set in 2033.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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