Revenues rise, losses narrow for Swift

TL carrier Swift Transportation Co. said its revenues rose significantly in the fourth quarter last year and for all of 2010 due to increased freight demand, allowing the carrier to reduce the amount of losses suffered from a variety of items, including its initial public offering (IPO), early cancelation of debt, and tax expenses

TL carrier Swift Transportation Co. said its revenues rose significantly in the fourth quarter last year and for all of 2010 due to increased freight demand, allowing the carrier to reduce the amount of losses suffered from a variety of items, including its initial public offering (IPO), early cancelation of debt, and tax expenses.

Swift said operating revenue rose 16.8% to $780.4 million in the fourth quarter compared to $668.3 million for the same quarter of 2009. Excluding fuel surcharge revenue, net revenue increased to $661.6 million for the fourth quarter, up 13.8% from the equivalent quarter in 2009 – the largest quarterly year-over-year increase Swift has experienced in over five years.

Richard Stocking, Swift’s president & COO, noted in the carrier’s earnings report that this reflects a 6.8% increase in weekly trucking revenue per tractor and a 4.4% increase in average tractors available for dispatch for the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to the same quarter in 2009.

“We were able to achieve the increase in weekly trucking revenue per tractor primarily because of a 5.1% increase in average trucking revenue per loaded mile during the comparative periods, while our loaded miles, or trucking volumes, increased 6.2%,” he added. “Intermodal revenues also grew 20.6% during the fourth quarter last year compared to the same period in 2009.”

Yet despite rising revenues, Swift suffered a net loss of $48.3 million compared to a net loss of $357.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 – the result of several “special items” in each period primarily related to Swift’s IPO and debt refinancing transactions and amendments to its previous senior secured credit facility and second-priority senior secured note indentures in October 2009.

Excluding these items from each period, the carrier said it would have posted profits of $24.6 million in the fourth quarter compared to a pro forma adjusted net loss of $21.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

For all of 2010, Swift said its operating revenue increased 13.9% to $2.93 billion compared to $2.57 billion for 2009. Net revenue excluding fuel surcharge revenue was $2.5 billion, up 8.9% over 2009 – again primarily driven by a 4.7% growth in loaded miles, with its average trucking revenue per loaded mile increasing 1.9% year-over-year.

Swift posted a net loss of $125.4 million for 2010 – with $118.1 million of it due to its IPO and refinancing expenses – compared to a loss of $435.6 million in 2009. Excluding those items, the carrier’s adjusted net loss for 2010 would be $32.8 million, compared to a pro forma adjusted net loss of $115.9 million in 2009.

“We’ve come a long way, but relative to our potential, we believe we have great room for improvement,” said Stocking.

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