Smithway MotorXpress Corp. says it will likely break even for the second quarter and doesn't expect profits to improve before the end of the year.

According to First Call/Thomson Financial, analysts had expected the Fort Dodge, IA, based carrier to post second quarter earnings of 14 cents a share. But Smithway said revenues will be down from a year earlier due to fewer tractors operating in its fleet and lower than expected productivity per tractor.
Productivity per tractor in its van division continues to lag behind productivity of its flatbed operations. The company said that high fuel prices and a driver wage increase last October haven't been fully recovered through higher freight rates. Rising interest rates and the poor market for used tractors have also impacted profits.
Smithway has deferred deliveries of new tractors for the remainder of the year, opting instead to concentrate on increasing productivity of the existing fleet.
Smithway's second quarter 1999 earnings were $1.7 million on operating revenue of $51.1 million. Its first quarter profits were down 5 cents a share from first quarter 1999 while operating revenues were up 7.3%.