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Fluor spokesman: Divestiture plans won’t close Greenville campus

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Fluor announced results this week from a strategic review and operational review that could mean selling some of its business lines and real estate, including property in Greenville. The company made the announcement from its home office in Irving, Texas.

For the Greenville campus, it could mean moving to a new location in the area, but a company spokesman said rumors of closing operations in Greenville — or even fundamentally changing the function of the Greenville campus — are unfounded.

“Fluor is considering the possibility of selling its existing Greenville campus and relocating to a new local address,” spokesman Brian Mershon said in a written statement. “While our office physical address could change, Fluor remains committed to having an execution presence in Greenville.”

Mershon stressed that no definite decision has been made to move and what happens next at the Greenville location depends upon several other factors based on how the company’s strategic review plays out. He said an “execution presence” means Fluor’s Greenville people in the future will essentially do what they’re doing now. In other words, Fluor will not become a small office, he said.

However, Greenville does include people who work in Fluor’s government business, and government business and the company’s construction equipment rental company, Ameco, are for sale, according to a news release. Ameco has a location in Greenville.

“As a result of the strategic review, the company concluded that the divestitures of select businesses will simultaneously improve the financial stability of the company and allow the remaining businesses to refocus on engineering, construction and maintenance services in core markets,” the news release said.

The company also plans to “monetize” some of its real estate and expects all of these actions to generate more than $1 billion. In addition, the company plans to reduce its quarterly dividend to 10 cents per share beginning with the next quarterly dividend declaration, the release said. Company dividends announced in August were 21 cents per share.

The monetization of real estate “might include the sale, sale and lease-back of properties, new lease arrangements, or other transactions specific to the business needs of the location,” Fluor’s local statement said. “Fluor remains a strong and resilient company and has positively responded to differing market cycles over its 107-year history, with more than 85 years in South Carolina.”

“There have been rumors going around that we’re going to shut down the campus and that is not the case,” said Mershon, who serves as director of global media relations for Fluor from the company’s Greenville offices. The Greenville campus is “a very vital part Fluor’s business across all of our business lines and will continue to be so going forward.”

Fluor reported earlier it had a net loss of $555 million for the second quarter, or $3.96 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $115 million, or 81 cents per diluted share a year ago. Consolidated segment loss for the quarter was $573 million, compared with a profit of $194 million a year ago. Second-quarter revenue was $4.1 billion, compared with $4.9 billion last year.

“Together with our board of directors and outside advisors, we took an extensive and comprehensive look at our broader business to determine the best strategic path to return the company to consistent profitable growth,” Fluor Corp. CEO Carlos Hernandez said in the news release. “The strategic direction we are pursuing as a result of this process builds upon Fluor’s premier competitive position in our core markets in which we expect to deliver sustainable growth, strong cash flow and attractive returns to investors. With this review behind us, we are focusing more than ever before on long-term value creation and operational excellence, and we remain dedicated to moving Fluor forward for the benefit of all of our stakeholders.”

Lead director Peter Fluor has stepped down as chair of the organization and compensation committee and has informed the company that he will not stand for re-election next year, according to another Fluor announcement this week. He has been director since 1984.

Fluor operates on six continents and has 53,000 employees around the world, according to its company profile. Mershon said about 1,700 professionals work in the Greenville offices.

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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