Arkansas Best Third-Quarter Earnings Up 48 Percent

by John Henry  on Monday, Oct. 24, 2005 11:52 am  

Arkansas Best Corp. on Monday posted third-quarter net income of $40.6 million, or $1.59 a share, an increase of 48.6 percent when compared with the $27.4 million, or $1.07 a share, for the same period last year.

The boost in profit includes an after-tax gain of $9.8 million, or 38 cents a share, from the July sale of three terminal facilities in California to G.I. Trucking Co.

Excluding that sale, third-quarter earnings were $1.21 a share for the less-than-truckload carrier based in Fort Smith. Still, that was 11 cents better than the average forecast of analysts.

Shares of the company (Nasdaq: ABFS) were trading up more than 16 percent at $39.10 on Monday after closing at $33.59 on Friday.

Revenue during the third quarter of 2005 was $489.9 million, an increase of 6.1 percent over the third quarter of 2004 when it posted $461.9 million in sales.

For the nine-month period, income was $74.4 million, or $2.89 a share, compared with $51.1 million, or $2 a share, for the same period last year.

Revenue for the year so far is $1.36 billion, compared with $1.26 billion for the first nine months of 2004.

ABF Freight System Inc., the company's largest subsidiary, had third-quarter revenue of $451.8 million.

"ABF generated the highest quarterly operating income in its history and, on a comparable reporting basis, the best quarterly operating ratio in over 25 years," said Robert A. Young III, Arkansas Best chairman and CEO.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had minimal impact on operations in the Gulf Coast and south Texas during the quarter, a company release said. All ABF facilities in these areas are now fully operational, limited only by public infrastructure damage and accessibility to customer locations.

ABF limited its standard fuel surcharge from Sept. 7 through Oct. 4 due to extremely volatile prices. Arkansas Best said that without the cap, it would have generated additional revenue of $2.2 million and additional earnings of 5 cents a share.



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