KBR reports income up after restructuring that cut 1,000 jobs, 11 business segments

By Sarah Scully, Houston Chronicle

Houston construction and engineering company KBR reported an increase in income in its first quarter, bringing in $51 million, compared to a loss of $20 million in the same period last year.

The company announced a major restructuring of the business last December that includes 1,000 job cuts and a reduction in business segments to five from 16 that it said will result in a $200 million annual cost reduction. It’s also reacting to changes in its market as the U.S. military winds down operations in the Middle East. KBR provided many services for that war effort.

It currently employs 25,000 and works in 70 countries around the world.

The company said Wednesday it will focus on business in refining, petrochemicals and liquefied natural gas.

“We’re going to increase our focus on the Middle East,” CEO Stuart Bradie said on a call with investors Wednesday, adding that the company has bolstered its leadership in the region.

KBR is also trying to win two U.K. military contracts and is supporting the U.S. military in its fight against the Islamic State.

The company said it has cut some jobs since announcing the restructuring. Bradie said during the call that KBR is in talks to sell segments of its business.