Canadian construction and engineering group SNC-Lavalin reported better-than-expected earnings for the final quarter of 2017, benefiting from its purchase of Britain's WS Atkins and helping it give a strong forecast for 2018.

Montreal-based SNC bought engineering and consultancy firm WS Atkins for C$3.6 billion last year as a way to bolster its nuclear, rail, transportation and infrastructure businesses, while cutting exposure to the oil and gas industry.

“The integration of the Atkins business continues to progress well and will be fully completed in 2018,” SNC Chief Executive Neil Bruce said in a statement.

SNC forecast earnings of between $3.60 and $3.85 per share for 2018, while analysts on average were expecting $2.80, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The forecast comes two weeks after SNC, along with partner Alstom, was awarded a contract worth more than $1 billion to provide rail cars for one of the world’s biggest light rail systems in Montreal.

SNC said net income attributable to shareholders rose to $52.4 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $1.6 million a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 78 Canadian cents per share, ahead of analysts’ expectations of 71 cents.

Revenue rose to $2.92 billion from $2.21 billion last year.