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Willbros Group now expects 2Q operating profit

HOUSTON (AP) -- Oil services company Willbros Group Inc. is reversing course from its prior outlook, saying it now anticipates a second-quarter operating profit instead of a loss.

The stock surged by $1, or 14 percent, to $8.15 in Monday afternoon trading. Over the last year, the shares have traded in a range of $4.07 to $10.45.

Willbros now expects an operating profit from continuing operations of $3 million to $7 million. The company previously forecast an operating loss of $4 million to $7 million.

Willbros said that its new outlook accounts for better-than-expected results from its utility transmission and distribution segment and a modest improvement in its oil and gas division.

The Houston company also announced that it recently signed a nonbinding letter of intent for the possible sale of its Hawkeye business. Willbros said in the fourth quarter that it might sell the business. The company did not disclose the potential buyer, but it thinks the sale could be completed this year.