J.B. Hunt posts lower 4Q revenue, earnings

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services said Monday, Jan. 29, that fourth-quarter net earnings fell to $57.8 million, down from $65.3 million for the same period of 2005. Quarterly results included a $12.4 million pretax charge to increase casualty and workers’ compensation claims reserves.

Total operating revenue for the quarter was $852 million, a decrease from the $858 million it reported during the fourth quarter of 2005. The company attributed the decrease to a reduction in fuel surcharges on the decline in fuel prices from the same quarter last year. Operating income for the quarter declined to $95.4 million from $106.6 million during the same quarter last year.

“Once again the power and complimentary balance of our economic model was recognized in the fourth quarter,” said Kirk Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Lowell, Ark.-based J.B. Hunt. “Outstanding results in both intermodal and dedicated contract services offset lower operating income from our truck segment, which was facing particularly tough comparisons from the extremely profitable fourth quarter of 2005.”

Thompson said 72 percent of company revenue and 84 percent of operating income during the quarter came from nontraditional truckload services. Demand for J.B. Hunt’s intermodal service was “at record levels during the quarter,” Thompson said. Truck performance “was muted due to softening demand,” he said.