Trucking company Heartland Express Inc. on Monday reported higher profits for the final quarter of 2017 and for all of last year, but that was not enough to move its operating income higher.

Net income totaled $38.6 million for the quarter, compared to $13.1 million a year earlier. This includes a $32.8 million deferred income tax benefit resulting from federal tax legislation passed and signed into law late last year. Earnings per share were 46 cents during the most recent quarter, compared 16 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Total revenues were $165.7 million, compared to $140 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. 

Operating income for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2017 decreased $11 million to $9.9 million compared to the same period in 2016. This was primarily due to the negative affect from the consolidation of Interstate Distributor Co. financial results, a company Heartland acquired in July 2017, as well as lower miles driven across the legacy operations of the company, Heartland said.

“During the fourth quarter we continued to build off our initial transitions and operational integrations of IDC by focusing on operational investments and decisions that resulted in short-term increased operating expense,” said Heartland Express CEO Michael Gerdin. “This also required current and future cash investments which we feel will reward us in long-term operational improvements.”

For all of 2017, Heartland recorded net income of $75.2 million, compared to $56.4 million in 2016. Earnings per share were 90 cents compared to 68 cents a year earlier.  

Total revenue was $607.3 million, compared to $612.9 million in 2016.

Operating income for the 12-month period dropped $22 million to $63.5 million, mainly as a result of the negative financial impacts following the acquisition of IDC as well as fewer miles driven, according to the company.

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