J.B. Hunt reports record revenues, earnings for 4Q, year

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced Monday, Dec. 30 record annual net earnings of $207 million for 2005, compared to 2004 earnings of $146 million. Total operating revenue for the year was $3.1 billion, compared with $2.8 billion in 2004. The overall operating ratio for the company was 89.0 percent, compared to 88.9 percent in 2004.

Record fourth quarter 2005 net earnings were $65.3 million, compared with 2004 fourth quarter earnings of $19.8 million. As reported last year, net earnings for fourth quarter 2004 were reduced by $33.6 million after establishing a reserve for a contingent tax liability. This liability related to a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service that disallowed tax benefits associated with certain sale leaseback transactions; this matter remains in dispute with the IRS, the company says. Total operating revenue for fourth quarter 2005 was $858.4 million, compared with $770.8 million in 2004.

“We are pleased with 2005 financial results which reflect a 25 percent return on average equity and 23 percent return on average invested capital for the year,” says Kirk Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Lowell, Ark.-based J.B. Hunt. “Freight activity in February through June 2005 was not as robust as 2004 had been, but August through the end of the year saw accelerating demand in intermodal, DCS and truck. As a result, profitability improved, resulting in a record year of revenue and profits.”