MONTREAL — The president and chief executive officer of Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is welcoming Ottawa’s review of the protocol used to award public contracts.

Robert Card says he applauds Ottawa’s decision to review its so-called integrity framework, which currently prohibits companies convicted of certain criminal offences from receiving federal contracts for 10 years.

Speaking after the company’s annual meeting, Card repeated that SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) will plead not guilty to the one fraud charge and the one corruption charge filed in February by the RCMP over its dealings in Libya.

SNC’s president says the Crown has not finished presenting its evidence against the country’s largest engineering firm and that company lawyers believe the court proceedings could last five years.

SNC is part of a consortium that recently won the bid to construct Montreal’s new bridge over the St. Lawrence River.

Card was speaking after SNC announced it had $104.3 million of net income in the first quarter, a 10 per cent increase over the same period last year as it benefited from focusing on core business areas and a recent acquisition.

The profit amounted to 68 cents per common share, compared with $94.6 million or 62 cents per share in the first quarter of 2014.

SNC’s revenue increased to $2.26 billion, from $1.72 billion, despite a decline in revenue from its investments in infrastructure.

The company has been selling some of its non-core assets such as the AltaLink power grid in Alberta in order to focus on its main business of engineering and construction services.

However, that was more than offset by higher revenue from its oil and gas segment, including from the acquisition of Kentz last August, as well as its power segment.

The Canadian Press