February 1, 2011 / 9:35 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 2-North American Energy sees near-term margin pressures

* Q3 EPS C$0.10 vs C$0.41 last year

* Sees rev growth outpacing margin growth near-term

* U.S.-listed shares down 5 pct in after-mkt trade (Recasts, adds details, share movement)

Feb 1 (Reuters) - North American Energy Partners’ NOA.TO NOA.N quarterly income plummeted, as rental costs for unused equipment pressured margins, and the company forecast markets to remain challenging for the year.

The Calgary, Alberta-based energy services company expects continued margin pressure in the heavy construction and mining segment, with revenue growth outpacing margin expansion in the near term, it said in a statement.

Rental costs for equipment sourced to be used in November, was not put to work until January as a result of start-up delays, hurting margins, the company said.

The energy services firm also suffered losses on two pipeline contracts partly due to adverse weather conditions.

A long-term deal with Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) could be temporarily affected by a fire that damaged its Horizon Mine upgrader, North American Energy Partners added.

The company provides mining and pipeline installation services to Canadian oil sands operators such as Syncrude Canada, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and Canadian Natural.

Canadian oil sands development activity has resumed following the market meltdown, as oil prices have strengthened and investments have flowed from countries as diverse as China, Thailand and Norway.

North American Energy Partners expects to gain from this uptick in oil sands activity and higher oil prices. It has signed two new multi-year contracts with oil sands producers, including Shell Canada Energy, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L).

The company has received about C$45 million ($45.36 million) of work to be executed during the winter.

Third-quarter net income fell 75 percent to C$3.7 million ($3.73 million), or 10 Canadian cents per share.

The company’s shares fell 5 percent in after-market trade to $11.50.

They closed at $12.09 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange and at C$11.88 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=.9919 Canadian Dollar) (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar; additional reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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