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Atco Structures to operate 1,470-person worker camp for Sask. potash project

CALGARY - The Structures and Logistics arm of Atco Ltd. (TSX:ACO.X) has been selected to operate a 1,470-person worker camp in southern Saskatchewan for K+S Potash Canada GP.

Under the contract, the Calgary-based company will provide catering, housekeeping, janitorial and maintenance services for the camp starting this month until the fall of 2016.

Financial terms weren't disclosed but Atco said late Thursday that it had pursued the contract in partnership with the George Gordon First Nation, which has traditional lands that cover include the potash project.

Atco is a widely diversified company operating in Alberta, other parts of Canada and internationally.

In addition to the structures business, it is the controlling shareholder of Canadian Utilities (TSX:CU), which operates natural gas and electricity distribution systems throughout Alberta and an energy arm that generates electricity and handles natural gas gathering, processing and storage.

Atco announced separately on Friday that its adjusted earnings for the first quarter ended March 31 dropped to $115 million from $120 million in the comparable period of 2013.

The company said it had expected the decline because of the sale of its South American structure and logistics arm in 2013, partially offset by higher earnings at its utility and energy operations

Earnings attributable to Atco shareholders, including $12 million from Atco's regulated activities that aren't in the adjusted earnings, rose to $127 million in the three months ended March 31, up from $117 million in the first quarter of 2013.

Atco's overall revenue for the quarter was $1.226 billion, up from $1.099 billion, while funds from operations increased to $556 million from $458 million.

Canadian Utilities reported separately on Friday that is first-quarter adjusted earnings were $186 million, up from $180 million a year earlier, while earnings attributable to equity owners rose to $221 million from $183 million.

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