Smithway reports 91% increase in 3Q earnings

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Smithway Motor Xpress Corp. has announced financial and operating results for the third quarter and nine months ended Sept. 30. For the quarter, net earnings improved 91 percent to $1.6 million compared to $854,000 for the same quarter in 2004. For the first nine months of 2005, net earnings, excluding unusual items, improved 209 percent to $3.5 million compared to $1.1 million in the 2004 period.

For the third quarter of 2005, operating revenue increased about 17.8 percent to $57.3 million from $48.7 million for the corresponding quarter in 2004. Operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharge revenue of $8.2 million, increased about 9.0 percent to $49.1 million from $45.0 million, excluding fuel surcharge revenue of $3.6 million, for the corresponding quarter in 2004.

Net earnings was $1.6 million, or $0.33 per basic share and $0.32 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $854,000, or $0.18 per basic share and $0.17 per diluted share, for the same quarter in 2004.

For the first nine months of 2005, operating revenue increased about 16.9 percent to $162.4 million from $138.9 million for the first nine months in 2004. Operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharge revenue of $19.7 million, increased about 9.0 percent to $142.7 million from $130.8 million, excluding fuel surcharge revenue of $8.1 million, for the first nine months in 2004. Net earnings was $3.5 million, or $0.71 per basic share and $0.69 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $1.9 million, or $0.38 per basic and diluted share, for the first nine months in 2004.

Net earnings for the first nine months in 2004 included $727,000, or $0.15 per basic and diluted share, of tax-free life insurance proceeds. Without the life insurance proceeds, net earnings for the first nine months in 2004 would have been $1.1 million, or $0.23 per basic and diluted share.

“We are extremely pleased in our ability to continually reduce our operating ratio in spite of increased fuel and labor costs,” says G. Larry Owens, president and chief executive officer. “Our operating ratio, excluding fuel surcharges, for the quarter was 93.3 percent compared to 95.9 percent during the third quarter of 2004. Similarly, our year-to-date operating ratio, excluding fuel surcharges, fell to 94.8 percent, from 97.4 percent during the first nine months of 2004. We have improved our operating ratio, excluding fuel surcharges, by more than 700 basis points since the inception of our profit improvement plan in 2003.”