Fleet Management

Trucking Companies Report Better Than Expected Results

January 23, 2001

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Another round of financial results from the nation's trucking publicly held trucking companies is beginning to come in and so far the news looks positive.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced that fourth quarter 2000 results are expected to exceed analysts' estimates for earnings. According to the company, it is still "completing its review of results for the quarter and year-end and awaiting results from the Company's interest in Transplace.com. Preliminary expectations are to report earnings per share in the range of 28-30 cents, which is above the currently published consensus estimate of 23 cents per diluted share." Additional details will be disclosed when the company reports full financial results next week.
Marten Transport says it now expects to report net income of approximately 51 cents per diluted share for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2000. On Nov. 16, the company announced it expected fourth quarter net income in a range of 35 to 40 cents per diluted share. Marten also said operating revenue for this year's fourth quarter was approximately $70 million, up 17 percent from operating revenue of $60 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
"In the closing weeks of the year our operating earnings benefited from
higher-than-anticipated revenues from special customer freight services," said Randolph L. Marten, president and chairman of the board. "Although we will report a decline from last year's fourth quarter earnings of 66 cents per share, last year's result was affected by higher than normal rates, reflecting particularly strong demand for existing industry capacity and Y2K concerns." Marten Transport expects to release results for the fourth quarter on Thursday.
Closing the books on its best year since 1994, less-than-truckload carrier Overnite Transportation reported net income of $43.2 million on revenue of $1.114 billion in 2000, compared to net income of $28.5 million on revenue of $1.062 billion in 1999. The trucking subsidiary of the Union Pacific Corporation, reported operating income was up 172% from last year.
Knight Transportation Inc. announced its 42nd consecutive quarter of year over year growth in both revenue and net income. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, net income per diluted share increased 10.7% compared to the same quarter in 1999. Net income per diluted share for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2000, increased 15.7% over 1999. Revenue for the quarter, before fuel surcharge, increased 30.5% over the same quarter of 1999. Revenue for the year, before fuel surcharge, increased 36.9%.
Arkansas Best Corp. announced income from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2000 of $21.9 million, representing a 32.5% increase over 1999 fourth quarter income of $16.5 million. For the full year of 2000, the company reported income from continuing operations of $76.2 million versus 1999 income of $51.2 million.
"Arkansas Best's 2000 income from continuing operations increased $25 million, or 49 percent, over last year's record amount," said Robert A. Young III, Arkansas Best President and CEO. "As in the previous two years, Arkansas Best's full year results reflect the highest income in our company's history.
Werner Enterprises saw operating revenues increase 11% in fourth quarter 2000 compared to fourth quarter 1999. Earnings per share decreased slightly to 26 cents per share in fourth quarter 2000 compared to 27 cents per share in fourth quarter 1999. Operating revenues increased 15 percent for 2000 compared to 1999.
"We have seen some improvement in our financial performance during one of the most difficult operating environments that the truckload industry has experienced for many years," said Chairman and CEO Clarence Werner. "Record high fuel prices, a slower growth economy, and a weak market for the sale of used trucks have made it challenging for all truckload carriers. By slowing our fleet growth, increasing our focus on margin improvement, and reducing debt over the last several quarters, we have lessened the impact of the current operating environment on our business."
Heartland Express ended the fourth quarter of 2000 with net income of
$7.9 million. For year, net income and earnings per share increased 18.6% from the same period in 1999. Gross revenues for the quarter totaled $70.3 million compared to $66.5 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. The company reports gross revenues of $274.8 million for the 12 months ended December 31, 2000, compared to $261 million for 1999.
Roadway Express said on Tuesday its fourth-quarter net income rose a better-than-expected 23.7 percent thanks to cost controls and a stronger pricing environment for trucking goods. Net income totaled $25.4 million, surpassing some analysts' expectations. In the 1999 fourth quarter the Akron, Ohio-based company earned $20.6 million. Fourth-quarter revenues increased 2.3 percent over a year ago. Fourth-quarter tonnage fell 8 percent, but revenue per ton increased 11.2 percent.

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