J.B. Hunt Makes a 1Q Triple Play

J.B. Hunt Transport posted first-quarter earnings that effectively triple its reported earnings over the same period last year. Net earnings were $33 million (40 cents per diluted share), over its first quarter 2003 earnings of $11 million (14 cents per diluted share). The company cited brisk demand in the normally slow months of January and February. Total operating revenues for the first quarter

J.B. Hunt Transport posted first-quarter earnings that effectively triple its reported earnings over the same period last year. Net earnings were $33 million (40 cents per diluted share), over its first quarter 2003 earnings of $11 million (14 cents per diluted share). The company cited brisk demand in the normally slow months of January and February.

Total operating revenues for the first quarter are $618 million, up from $571 million during the first quarter last year. Truck segment revenues, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 4% over last year’s; intermodal segment revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, rose 13%; dedicated segment revenue climbed 5%, excluding fuel.

The company listed several factors that contributed to the rise in earnings including:

  • positive safety and claims cost;

  • greater demand and high freight activity;

  • lower operating supplies and expenses, mostly due to lower maintenance costs;

  • lower interest costs.

“The first quarter of this year slightly surpassed the profitability of the previous year’s peak third quarter,” said Kirk Thompson, president & CEO, noting “uncharacteristically brisk demands.”

Thompson added that he expects the company will maintain a steady increase throughout 2004, although the improvement for the remaining quarters “will not approach the dramatic improvement made in the first quarter relative to the prior year.”

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