Swift Transportation Co. Inc. yesterday reported that revenues for the fourth quarter of 2003 increased 13.8% to $637.6 million, including approximately 6% from the acquisition of Merit Distribution Services Inc., compared with $560.1 million for the corresponding quarter of 2002. Net earnings were $26.7 million or 31 cents per share, compared to $16.2 million or 19 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2002.
For the year ended Dec. 31, 2003, the company's revenues were $2.4 billion, including approximately 3% from the acquisition of Merit Distribution Services Inc., compared to $2.1 billion in 2002. Net earnings for the year ended Dec. 31, 2003 were $79.4 million or 94 cents per share, compared to $59.6 million or 69 cents per share, for 2002 .
"For 2004, we expect to continue on the same path of improvement. We will address both rate per mile and our cost structure. We anticipate fleet growth of 4% to 5% and will continue to look at acquisitions if the target meets our profitability and return on investment goals and can easily be integrated," Jerry Moyes, chairman and chief executive officer said.
Swift confirmed that its safety rating has always been and continues to be satisfactory, despite analysts reports that the rating may change due to an ongoing FMCSA probe.
In response to an A.G. Edwards equity research issued Monday, that sent the share down 13 percent, Swift officials said:
"A compliance review by the Arizona division of the FMCSA has resulted in a proposed safety rating of conditional. Swift has been in discussions with the FMCSA about the proposed rating and filed a petition for a stay of the effective date of the proposed safety rating pending a review as provided for under the FMCSA regulations. Swift's petition for a stay was granted by the FMCSA on Dec. 18, 2003 and the Arizona division of the FMCSA was ordered to respond to Swift's petition for review. Swift received this response on Jan. 19, 2004 and is in the process of drafting a reply."
The statement continued: "Although the scope of the compliance review involved many areas within the authority of the FMCSA, there is only one issue in dispute. This area involves the accuracy of the documentation of driving logs maintained by Swift drivers and owner operators."
The company concluded: "Swift anticipates a positive outcome."