The Globe and Mail reports in its Tuesday edition that Stuart Olson ($4.20) took a hit this month after the construction and engineering enterprise halved the quarterly dividend from 12 cents to six cents. Guest columnists Benj Gallander and Ben Stadelmann write that cutting the payout will save the Calgary company $1.7-million a quarter. Revenues fell in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 to $228-million from $283-million a year ago. That led to a loss of $1.3-million compared with the profit of $5.7-million. Accompanying this, cash flow also turned mildly negative while the backlog dipped from $1.7-billion to $1.6-billion. Plus, as chief executive officer David LeMay stated, there is a strategic shift occurring where the company aims to "include larger design-build projects and projects with increasing scope and scale." Accomplishing that will require more cash than the enterprise is used to throwing at a development. There is a wild card in the mix that could positively affect the stock price. Activist investors Crescendo Partners and Jamarant Capital have advised Stuart Olson's board that they want to see the organization examine strategic alternatives. They estimate the company could be worth $9.70 a share in a sale.
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