MDU Resources Group Inc. reported 2018 earnings from continuing operations of $269.4 million, or $1.38 per share, compared to 2017 earnings from continuing operations of $284.2 million, or $1.45 per share.
Results in 2017 included a one-time federal tax reform benefit via the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in the fourth quarter of $39.5 million, or 20 cents per share. In the fourth quarter of 2018, earnings from continuing operations were $76.0 million, or 39 cents per share, compared to $115.4 million, or 59 cents per share, in 2017.
“All our businesses performed very well in 2018, and we are pleased with our strong results,” said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources. “Both our construction services and construction materials companies had record revenues and finished the year with record backlogs, and our construction services business had record earnings. We continue to benefit from the geographic diversity of our construction operations and are pursuing additional acquisitions that will grow our footprint, especially as bidding opportunities remain substantial in our markets where economic conditions remain robust.”
The construction materials business earned $92.6 million in 2018, compared to $123.4 million in 2017. Results in 2017 included a one-time $41.9 million benefit from revaluation of net deferred tax liabilities resulting from the TCJA.
The company saw strong construction markets in 2018 in certain regions, but construction activities were impacted by the recession in Alaska, above-average precipitation in Texas and a delayed start to the construction season in the Midwest because of weather.
The company completed four acquisitions in 2018, adding to its 1 billion tons of aggregate reserves and expanding its market coverage in central Minnesota, around Sioux Falls, S.D., and in the Portland, Ore., area. The company continues to evaluate additional acquisition opportunities. The construction materials business had record year-end backlog of $706 million, up 45 percent from the previous year.