March 6, 2008 / 4:54 PM / in 10 years

SNC Lavalin profit rises, ups dividend 33 percent

TORONTO (Reuters) - Engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC.TO) reported a jump in fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday as revenue rose about 20 percent, and it said it would boost its dividend on prospects for more growth to come.

SNC said it earned C$68.7 million ($69.4 million), or 45 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended December 31. That was up from a profit of C$50.7 million, or 33 Canadian cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose to C$1.99 billion from C$1.67 billion a year earlier, the Montreal-based company said. SNC cited higher levels of activity in its chemicals and petroleum, mining and metallurgy and operations and maintenance segments.

“We see many opportunities across all our sectors of activity,” Chief Executive Jacques Lamarre said in a statement. “Given our strong backlog, the strength and diversity of our revenue base, and our geographical coverage, we are optimistic about our prospects for the coming year.”

Because of the positive outlook, the company’s board increased its quarterly cash dividend by 33 percent to 12 Canadian cents per share, SNC said.

The company said its backlog at the end of the year was “strong” at C$10.6 billion.

SNC shares were down 50 Canadian cents at C$42.50 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning. They are down about 12 percent since the start of the year.

($1=$0.99 Canadian)

Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; Editing by Peter Galloway

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