News Column

Weather hurts Forward Air earnings, but 4Q revenues up

February 11, 2014

By Roger Harris, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.



Feb. 11--Harsh winter weather took a bite out of air cargo carrier Forward Air. Corp.'s fourth quarter earnings, company officials said Tuesday.

Net earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31 were $15.58 million, or 50 cents per diluted share, compared to $15.96 million, or 54 cents per diluted share in the same period the prior year.

"Beginning in November and basically running through the end of the year we fought weather week after week and we have continued to fight weather," Chairman, CEO and President Bruce Campbell said in a conference call with analysts. "It's been an extraordinary winter for us and our team."

Despite operations being shut down in Atlanta, Dallas and locations at times due to inclement weather, the company's volumes "are almost shockingly good, considering the weather," Campbell said.

Operating revenues for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose 16.5 percent to $181.1 million from $155.5 million for the same quarter in 2012, but the company saw an increase in certain weather-related expenses which affected the bottom line, said Rodney Bell, senior vice president and CFO.

Among increased expenses were the cost of snow removal and the impact of cold weather on equipment and facilities maintenance, Bell said.

Looking ahead, the company expects revenues for the first quarter this year will increase in the range of 19 to 23 percent over the first quarter a year ago.

The recently completed purchase of Central States Trucking Company and Central States Logistics Inc. for $95.6 million gives the company a platform to grow its business in the drayage segment of the market, Campbell said.

Forward Air also announced that its board has approved the repurchase of up to 2 million of its shares and a 20 percent increase in its dividend.

A a quarterly cash dividend of 12 cents per share will be paid March 24 to shareholders of record on March 10, 2014, the company said.

Forward Air provides ground transportation services to the air cargo industry through a network of 88 terminals located on or near major airports in the U.S. and Canada.

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(c)2014 the Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tenn.)

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Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)


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