February 23, 2012 / 4:23 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-Stantec profit lags expectations, stock drops

(Adds details, analyst comments, share price)

* Adjusted EPS C$0.53, vs consensus C$0.57

* Revenue 13 pct higher at C$432 mln

* Stock drops 4.8 pct on TSX to C$30.10

TORONTO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Stantec Inc reported a smaller than expected quarterly profit on Thursday, despite strong gains in revenue, knocking the shares of the Canadian engineering company down 4.5 percent.

Earnings rose to C$24.3 million, or 53 Canadian cents a share, excluding a C$90 million goodwill impairment, compared with C$23.3 million, or 51 Canadian cents a share, in the same period last year.

Analysts had expected, on average, earnings per share of 57 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 13 percent to C$432 million.

Lower gross margins from Stantec’s industrial and buildings divisions, increased competition and the mix of projects hurt earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, RBC Dominion Securities analysts Sara O’Brien said in a note.

“Given Stantec share price (at yesterday close) run-up of 13 percent in February and 14 percent year to date (versus TSX 6 percent year to date) we expect Stantec shares will see some pressure today,” O’Brien wrote.

Stantec said its goodwill charge reflects weaker U.S. and international operations due to difficult economic conditions, but added its long-term outlook remains positive.

The shares were down 4.8 percent, or C$1.53, at C$30.10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning. In New York, the stock was off 4.1 percent at $30.40.

$1=$1 Canadian Reporting By Susan Taylor; editing by Rob Wilson

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