YRC Worldwide, Overland Park, Kan., reported lower earnings in the third quarter compared to lsat year, but also touted the generation of free cash flow and reduced total debt.

The company announced diluted earnings per share of $.63 for the third quarter of 2008, including a previously announced curtailment gain of $.84 per share and gains on property disposals of $.21 per share.

The quarter also included charges of $.10 per share related to reorganization costs. In the third quarter of 2007, the company reported $.70 of diluted earnings per share.

A few days after reporting their third quarter results, published reports indicated the company will cut 15 percent of its work force in a cost-reduction move -- up to 3,750 jobs. It's part of an accelerated plan to integrate the company's Roadway and Yellow Transportation units, according to the Associated Press.

"Throughout the third quarter, the operating environment progressively weakened, resulting in lower than expected volumes and more competitive pricing," said Bill Zollars, chairman, president and CEO of YRC Worldwide. "Although the economy slowed more than we expected during the quarter, we still generated solid free cash flow and paid down debt, in addition to removing significant cost from our business," he added.

YRC Worldwide generated $52.2 million of cash from operating activities during the quarter and, when taking into account the $40.4 million of cash inflow from net capital expenditures, third quarter free cash flow was $92.6 million. The company's leverage ratio of total debt to trailing 12 months earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, (as those terms are defined in the company's credit facilities) was 3.18 times against a limit of 3.75 times for the third quarter 2008. As of Dec. 31, 2008, through the remaining term of the credit facilities, the leverage ratio limitation is 3.5 times. Total balance sheet debt was reduced by $11.4 million for the third quarter and $50.3 million since Dec. 31, 2007.

Key segment information for the third quarter 2008 included:

-- YRC National Transportation LTL revenue per hundredweight up 6.3% from third quarter 2007 and LTL tonnage per day down 9.0%.

-- YRC Regional Transportation LTL revenue per hundredweight up 5.3% from third quarter 2007 and LTL tonnage per day down 17.2%.