Williams Industries Inc., the Manassas-based construction company involved in some of the Washington area's biggest bridge and highway projects, last night reported an $11.4 million loss for its fiscal year, and its auditor warned of "substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."
Frank E. Williams III, president and chief executive, called the results "unacceptable" in a statement, adding, "Obviously Williams Industries is going to have to find a way to take better advantage of the opportunities now available to us. I intend to see that we do whatever it takes to make that happen."
But the company's financial report painted dire circumstances. Its auditor, McGladrey & Pullen LLP, said the company had a working capital deficit of $3.2 million as of July 31. The company also reported that vendors were in "various stages of foreclosure" on several large pieces of construction equipment.
The company has been hurt by the rising price of steel it provides for construction projects such as the new Wilson Bridge and improvements on the Springfield Interchange under set-price contracts.
The company reported a loss of $11.4 million, or $3.12 a share, for its fiscal year ended July 31. That compared with a loss of $780,000 (22 cents a share) for fiscal year 2004. Revenue was down almost 10 percent, to $48.6 million from $53.9 million the previous year.
For the fourth quarter, the company lost $5.6 million ($1.54) on revenue of $11.4 million.
Most of the company's work on the Wilson Bridge is complete, project officials have said. Asked if the company's dire finances could endanger its work on other projects, including the Springfield Interchange, company Vice President Marianne Pastor said in an interview: "Are we still working? The answer is absolutely. Do we expect to continue working? Absolutely."
Pastor said she didn't expect her company to file for bankruptcy reorganization, noting that the company faced severe financial problems in the 1990s but weathered them without going to bankruptcy court.
"If we didn't declare bankruptcy then, I would be amazed that we would do that now," she said. "We were in much worse trouble in the 1990s."
In response to questions, Pastor said the company's options include selling its headquarters property in Manassas.
In a statement, the company said the loss "has caused management to totally reevaluate the company's structure and long-term business plan" and that measures could include changes in "the type of work the company bids in the future."
The company's shares have fallen from as high as $4.18 on Sept. 7 to Friday's close of $2.89, before last night's announcement.