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AJ Lucas sales stumble 41.5%

AJ Lucas (ASX: AJL) reported 2013 full-year results yesterday, and the construction and drilling company got hammered this past year. On the top line, total revenue fell 41.5% to $295 million as weak commodity prices and client focus on cost reduction cut drastically into sales.

Bottom line numbers don’t look too much better. “There is no doubt that the last financial year has been very challenging,” said Chairman and CEO Allan Campbell in a statement today. Net loss dragged down another 15% to hit $127 million, while basic loss per share clocked in at $0.976.

However, these results are hardly a surprise for a company reliant on struggling coal and resources companies as clients, and AJ Lucas’ underlying EBITDA of $3.3 million managed to meet market guidance. The company has recognized that it can’t keep up its current strategy, and is revamping operations to put it in a better spot for 2014 and beyond.

Its drilling division was the only entity to pull positive underlying EBITDA ($23.5 million) and AJ Lucas will focus more on this business in the years to come. At the same time, it’s refocusing its engineering and contracting division on “core strengths” including pipelines and waste and water sectors.

AJ Lucas has also been busy balancing its books, and has managed to raise $64 million in net equity, pay down $38 million of its borrowings, and secured a three-year extension on borrowings from its principal lender. The company has bought itself some time – but it remains to be seen whether AJ Lucas can pull off its strategic shift before tough financials become too burdensome to bear.

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Motley Fool contributor Justin Loiseau has no position in any stocks mentioned in this article. You can follow him on Twitter @TMFJLo.

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