EA reports 4th straight good quarter Hunt Valley company posts $312,500 profit


July 14, 1998|By Kris Henry | Kris Henry,SUN STAFF

A little more than a year after an extensive restructuring, EA Engineering, Science and Technology Inc. reported yesterday its fourth straight quarter of profitability.

The Hunt Valley environmental and safety consulting company's net income for the third quarter, which ended May 31, was $312,500, or 5 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of $3.4 million, or 56 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

"The key to their success is that in March of 1997 they went through a restructuring process and brought in new management, led by [president and chief executive] Donald Deieso," said David Weaver, an analyst at Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc.

For example, EA is making the most of the Environmental Protection Agency's requirement that all industrial companies tell their communities by June what hazardous materials they use and what could happen in the worst possible accident.

EA has formed an alliance with American International Group Inc., a large insurance company, and the public affairs firm Holt & Ross Inc. to help companies evaluate their chemicals and disseminate the results.

"Needless to say, it must be done in an accurate and timely way to avoid needless concern and overreaction," Deieso said.

The company is also changing its focus, Deieso said, from federal contracts to aid in cleaning up industrial sites to higher-end projects such as helping vehicle fleet owners meet EPA requirements that they switch to cars and trucks that use cleaner-burning fuels, such as natural gas.

The company -- which has 550 employees, including 200 in Maryland -- saw its revenue for the third quarter increase 16.9 percent to $10.4 million from $8.9 million in the comparable period of 1997. Revenue for the nine months that ended May 31 was up 6 percent to $31.8 million from the same period last year.

The change in fortune means the company, which laid off more than 150 workers to cut costs, is hiring now.

"It's a wonderful contrast to the somber stories of shedding staff in the past," Deieso said.

Pub Date: 7/14/98

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