While many other truckload carriers are reporting drops in earnings, Heartland Express, Coralville, IA, has reported an increase in first quarter net income. The fleet took in more than $9.1 million, compared to nearly $7.6 million for the first quarter of 1999. Gross revenue for the quarter totaled $67.2 million.
Earnings per share for the quarter were helped by a gain on the sale of two properties and the repurchase of 1.09 million shares of its outstanding common stock in a transaction totaling $14 million. A spokesman stated the company was pleased to be able to report an 81% operating ratio during a challenging time for the industry, which included high fuel costs, escalating driver wages and a continued tight market for owner operators. Heartland ended the quarter with no debt and $124.8 million in cash, cash equivalents and municipal bonds.