Environmental Elements loss grows

Baltimore company says fourth-quarter deficit may reach $3.5 million

Pollution control

May 18, 2000|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Environmental Elements Corp., a struggling pollution-control company in Baltimore, said yesterday that it expects its fourth-quarter loss to widen to about $3.5 million, more than double the amount it had said it was expecting.

The company also expects to lay off more of its 120 workers, in addition to 30 layoffs last month, said James B. Sinclair, EEC's chief financial officer.

The company had reported earlier that it expected a loss of $1.4 million, or 20 cents per share, for the fiscal quarter that ended March 31.

The net loss is expected to widen to about 49 cents per share, primarily because of reduced profit expectations on existing projects, delays on earnings from contracts and a bigger one-time charge related to severance and early retirement costs.

Environmental expects to release its fourth-quarter earnings in the next few weeks, Sinclair said.

In the meantime, he said, Environmental has "seen a very good resurgence" in the first quarter of this fiscal year."We never enjoy incurring losses; however the efforts we put in place under the leadership of [John L. Sams, EEC's president] are showing very good early results both in organizational improvements and in the marketplace," Sinclair said.

Sams, EEC's former senior vice president, took over the company in February, after E.H. "Ted" Verdery, the chairman, chief executive and president, abruptly left. Samuel T. Woodside, head of Energy Controls International in Hunt Valley and an EEC board member, is chairman."Our strategy is to increase our emphasis on services and projects with high-technology components," he said. "We are seeing very good success in those areas."

The company is shifting its focus to maintenance, repair and replacement services because the more mature parts of the industry - installing pollution-control systems - have been difficult to predict, causing the delays, Sinclair said.

EEC's stock price closed yesterday at $1.9375, up 6.25 cents.

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