Merrill Lynch Lowers Semco to Near-Term Reduce

Analyst Donato Eassey cuts estimates amid expectations of a long period of weakness for the energy concern

Merrill Lynch downgrades Semco Energy (SEN ) to near-term reduce from neutral, and long-term neutral from buy after the company posts a Q3 loss of $0.37 compared with a $0.26 loss.

Analyst Donato Eassey says he suggests investors move to the sidelines for what could be a protracted period of weakness, noting that the company is suffering from over-extension through acquisition and the slowing economy is impacting both gas operations, engineering and the construction divisions. Eassey thinks the the foreseeable furure is likely to remain quite challenging.

He cuts his 2001 EPS estimate to $0.50, from $0.76. He notes that the company expects to take a per share fourth-quarter charge of $0.60 for restructuring. He also sees EPS of $0.90 in 2002.

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