Old Dominion says 4Q profit down 12%

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Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. said its fourth-quarter earnings slipped 12 percent as poor pricing offset efficiency improvements. The company earned $15.7 million compared with $17.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 12 percent to $358.7 million, from $319.4 million a year earlier.

The less-than-truckload company said the weak pricing environment worsened in the second half of the year, although tonnage growth showed a slight uptick.

“Old Dominion produced solid results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2007 considering the overall weakness in the economy and results generally being reported by our industry,” said Earl Congdon, the Thomasville, N.C.-based company’s executive chairman. “We continued to experience a stronger trend in demand for our services as reflected by comparable-quarter tonnage growth, which increased 10.3 percent for the fourth quarter following tonnage growth of 8.7 percent in the third quarter and 7.4 percent growth in both the first and second quarters. Our tonnage growth for the quarter was driven by a 5.0 percent increase in both shipments and weight per shipment.”

For the full year, the company posted a profit of $71.8 million compared with $72.6 million in 2006. Revenue rose 9.5 percent to $1.4 billion. “Overall, we were successful in defending and increasing our market share in this highly competitive environment by maintaining our excellent service standards,” Congdon said. “We have been careful to maintain and improve our service reputation and relationships with our customers, both of which are essential components of our long-term growth strategy.

“We are confident that, for 2008 and beyond, our proven business model can drive additional gains in market share,” Congdon said. “We will continue building out our service center network, enhancing our products and services, and maintaining our focus on customer service.”