Covenant Reports Revenue, Income Up; Cites Less Cost to Use Updated Equipment

Covenant Transport, Inc. reported 4th quarter revenue increased 4%, to $152.2 million from $146.7 million in 2002. Net income increased 23%, to $4.1 million from $3.4 million in 2002. Net income per share increased 22%, to $0.28 from $0.23 in 2002. For the year, total revenue increased 3%, to $582.5 million from $564.4 million in 2002. Net income increased 47%, to $12.2 million from $8.3 million in

Covenant Transport, Inc. reported 4th quarter revenue increased 4%, to $152.2 million from $146.7 million in 2002. Net income increased 23%, to $4.1 million from $3.4 million in 2002. Net income per share increased 22%, to $0.28 from $0.23 in 2002.

For the year, total revenue increased 3%, to $582.5 million from $564.4 million in 2002. Net income increased 47%, to $12.2 million from $8.3 million in 2002. Net income per share increased 48%, to $0.83 from $0.57 in 2002.

"Freight demand continued to be strong throughout the fourth quarter in all areas of the country and across industry groups. This strength allowed us to raise revenue per tractor per week by 3.8% compared with the same quarter of 2002. After several difficult years, being able to exceed $2,900 per truck per week for two straight quarters is beginning to show progress towards our goal of at least $3,000 per truck per week. Contributing factors were an increase in average revenue per loaded mile of $.04 per mile and an increase in average miles per tractor of 1%, said Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer David R. Parker.

As previously announced, the higher costs of new tractors and trailers which resulted from updating the fleet, plus adding 1,770 trailers while not growing the tractor fleet, increased ownership/lease costs by $.037 per mile, he said.

“During 2003, one of our major goals was to reduce the average age of our tractors and trailers in order to reduce our ongoing maintenance expense. We also decided to increase the size of our trailer fleet and operate with a higher trailer to tractor ratio, because of the reduction in our average length of haul over the past few years. We took delivery of 1,447 tractors and 3,038 trailers and disposed of 1,520 tractors and 2,407 trailers during the year. This lowered the average age of our tractor fleet to 19.1 months from 26.3 months and our trailer fleet to 33.8 months from 54.8 months, at December 31, 2003, and 2002 respectively. We are beginning to realize the maintenance savings and expect the savings to increase in 2004. In addition, we believe the additional trailer capacity will improve the efficiency of our operations, particularly in our short to medium haul lanes,” said Parker.

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