Ryder predicts profits will rise slightly

Ryder predicts profits will rise slightly

Transportation and logistics conglomerate Ryder System said its profits should increase 12% in 2003 compared to this year's levels -- what it calls a "modest increase" reflecting increased demand from the commercial truck rental sector in the U.S. and the growing profitability of its European operations.

Miami-based Ryder said its expects earnings in 2003 to range between $1.95 to $2.00 per share, compared to its current 2002 profit estimates of $1.74 to $1.78 per share. The forecast excludes a 30-cent per share charge to cover the implementation of new accounting rules this year.

"We expect continued softness in 2003 with prospects for modest improvement during the second half of the year," said chairman, pres. and CEO Gregory Swienton. He added that the company has to bridge an expected earnings gap in 2003 resulting from a pension expense increase of some $56 million. Ryder plans to make a $16 million contribution to its U.S. pension plan this month, which follows a $10 million contribution to its international pension plan earlier this year.

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