Foster Wheeler AG has reported net income of $72.9m for the first quarter of 2009, considerably lower than the same period last year and impacted by ‘unfavourable’ economic conditions.

Indicative of the difficult financial environment we find ourselves in, Foster Wheeler remains relatively realistic about the Q1 results and draws comfort from a large contract in India, received during Q1 but not ‘materially’ effective in these latest results.

Q1 net income of $72.9m, or $0.57 per diluted share, compared with $138.1m, or $0.95 per diluted share, in Q1 2008.

First-quarter 2009 consolidated EBITDA (earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization) stood at $105.6m, compared with $195.3m in the first quarter of 2008.

Foster Wheeler’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Raymond J. Milchovich, explained, “In the first quarter of 2009, we booked the largest single contract in terms of man-hours in the company’s history – for engineering, procurement and construction management of a new oil refinery in India.”

“While that contract will be an important contributor to income in future periods, the project was just gearing up at the end of the first quarter and thus did not contribute materially to the company’s performance in the period.”

Explaining the comparably poor quarterly results, Milchovich added, “Foster Wheeler’s net income in the first quarter of 2009 was lower than that of the average quarter of 2008 due to a decline in EBITDA in both of our business groups caused by a combination of factors.”