Knight posts lower 4Q profit, higher total revenue

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Knight Transportation announced Wednesday, Jan. 23, its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31.

For the quarter, total revenue increased 6.6 percent to $186.5 million from $174.9 million for the same quarter of 2006. Revenue, before fuel surcharge, decreased 0.2 percent to $151.9 million from $152.1 million for the same quarter of 2006. Net income decreased to $13.8 million from $20.2 million for the same period of 2006.

For the year, total revenue increased 7.4 percent to $713.6 million from $664.4 million for the same period of 2006. Revenue, before fuel surcharge, increased 5.8 percent to $601.4 million from $568.4 million for the same period of 2006. Net income decreased to $63.1 million from $73.0 million for the same period of 2006.

“The fourth quarter presented a continuation of what has been the most difficult operating environment in several years for the execution of our business model based on leading growth and profitability,” said Kevin P. Knight, chairman and chief executive officer of the Phoenix-based company. “For the second consecutive year, a strong ‘peak’ shipping season did not materialize in the fourth quarter. The industrywide supply of truckload equipment continued to outpace the freight demand, which pressured pricing and resulted in lower equipment utilization.” Knight said the company “took a hard look” at its fleet size and reduced its tractor count by about 100 units during the quarter.

“Looking forward, we presently expect the first-quarter freight market to be no better than the fourth quarter, and perhaps seasonally slower,” he said. “We have, however, ramped up our efforts to identify acquisitions or other investment opportunities that may offer a strategic advantage. … In the longer term, we believe declining orders for new tractors and trailers, an eventual increase in freight demand, a chronic shortage of drivers, the exit of underperforming carriers from the market, and fleet downsizing by the larger truckload carriers may result in a more appropriate balance of supply and demand in the marketplace sometime in 2008.”