Truckload carrier Werner Enterprises Inc. said its first-quarter revenues increased to $304.6 million compared to $291.4 million in the same period last year, but that earnings per share decreased slightly to $0.20 compared to $0.22 per share in the first quarter of 2000.
“Considering the difficult operating environment for TL carriers in the first three months of this year, we have achieved improved financial results,” said chairman and CEO Clarence Werner. “A slowing economy, weak used truck pricing, high fuel prices and other factors challenged even the best of truckload carriers.”
Werner said the company has focused on slowing fleet growth, focusing on margin improvement and reducing debt to remain financially stable. He added that freight demand during first-quarter 2001 was less than first-quarter 2000, so the decision to slow truck growth during 2000 helped to soften the impact of a slowing economy.
During first-quarter 2001, Werner reduced its total debt by $45 million, from $105 million to $60 million. At the same time, Werner increased its stockholders’ equity to $545 million.
Werner added that its first-quarter 2001 operating revenues were reduced due to transferring 3% of its logistics business to Transplace.com, an Internet logistics operation jointly owned by six trucking firms. Effective July 1, 2000, the transfer was completed, and each of the six founding members contributed their logistics business, related intangible assets, and $5 million of cash.