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MDU Resources Construction Materials Business Rises

MDU Resources Group Inc. reported third-quarter earnings of $137.6 million, or 69 cents per share, compared to third quarter 2018 earnings of $107.3 million, or 55 cents per share. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, MDU Resources earned $240.4 million, or $1.21 per share, compared to $193.5 million, or 99 cents per share, for the same period in 2018.

"We continue to see exceptional performance from our construction materials and services businesses," said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources. "We closed the third quarter with record revenue, earnings and backlog of work at these operations. As a result, we are increasing our full-year revenue guidance for our construction operations.

"In addition, our utility operations and pipeline business also continue to perform very well, with significant investments in growth projects and system upgrades," Goodin said. "Our pipeline business placed its Demicks Lake project into service as scheduled in September, continuing to increase our natural gas transportation capacity in the Bakken region. We remain excited about the continuing growth across all our operations and thank our employees, who now number an all-time high of more than 15,000, for their dedication to 'Building a Strong America'."

The construction materials business had record revenues in the third quarter, up 17% over last year, and record earnings. Earnings were $102.6 million, approximately 30% higher than the $78.9 million earned in the third quarter of 2018. 

The increase reflects contributions from acquisitions made in 2018 and early 2019, as well as additional projects in many of the company's markets. The company continues to see strong economic conditions in the majority of the states where it operates and had record backlog at the end of the third quarter of $747 million, a 27% increase from $590 million in 2018.

The construction services business had record revenues and earnings for the third quarter, with revenues 45% higher than the prior year and earnings of $21.1 million, compared to $9.3 million for the same period in 2018. 

This business saw an increase in outside specialty contracting work for utility customers and higher inside specialty contracting workloads from hospitality, data center and government projects. Earnings in 2018 included a $7.2 million negative impact from changes in estimates on certain construction projects. 

The company announced in September that it had expanded its market reach by acquiring the assets of Pride Electric Inc., a leading electrical construction company in Redmond, Wash. The construction services business ended the quarter with an all-time record backlog of $1.2 billion, a 34% increase compared to $896 million for the third quarter of 2018.