J.B. Hunt ends 2001 on up note

Truckload conglomerate J. B. Hunt Transport Services ended 2001 on a high note, with net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2001 climbing to $18.2 million, partially as a result of a change to its business accounting methods. J.B. Hunt, based in Lowell, AR, said it modified the way it estimates ultimate losses relating to liability and workers' compensation claims. That accounting change added $10.2

Truckload conglomerate J. B. Hunt Transport Services ended 2001 on a high note, with net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2001 climbing to $18.2 million, partially as a result of a change to its business accounting methods.

J.B. Hunt, based in Lowell, AR, said it modified the way it estimates ultimate losses relating to liability and workers' compensation claims. That accounting change added $10.2 million to its net earnings in the fourth quarter of 2001. Prior to that modification, J.B. Hunt said its fourth quarter 2001 earnings hovered at $8 million, a slight drop from the $10.9 million in earned in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Total operating revenue for the fourth quarter of 2001 rose to $545.5 million, compared with $534 million during the fourth quarter of 2000.

J.B. Hunt added that its accounting modifications in the fourth quarter of 2001 resulted in a $6.2 million decrease in workers' compensation, a $10.1 million decrease in insurance and claims expense and a $6.1 million increase in income tax expense. It also resulted in a restatement of its 1998 earnings: a $10.2 million decrease in retained earnings, a $16.3 million increase in claims payable and a $6.1 million increase in deferred tax assets.

J.B. Hunt said, however, that fourth quarter net earnings were reduced by $1.7 million because of losses sustained from a Mexican joint venture and its investment in online logistics operator Transplace. This compares with earnings of $1.2 million from those two ventures in the fourth quarter of 2000.

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