Patriot Transportation posts 1Q net loss

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Patriot Transportation Holding on Tuesday, Feb. 5, reported a net loss of $139,000 in the first quarter of fiscal 2008, a decrease of $2.3 million compared to net income of $2.16 million in the same period last year.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company, which operates flatbed hauler SunBelt Transport and tank carrier Florida Rock & Tank Lines, said net income was impacted adversely by the accrual of retirement benefits of $1.46 million, net of income tax benefits, for President and Chief Executive Officer John E. Anderson, whose retirement is effective today, Feb. 6.

The company said its transportation segment was impacted negatively in the first quarter of fiscal 2008 from continuing adverse demand, fuel expense and operating disruptions for its flatbed trucking operations. The first quarter of fiscal 2007 benefited from gains on equipment sales and prior period insurance recoveries.

Transportation segment revenues were $32.9 million in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of $1.2 million over the same quarter last year. Excluding fuel surcharges, revenue per mile increased 2.7 percent over the same quarter last year. Decreased construction material freight demand and pricing softness from the downturn in housing pushed revenues down in the flatbed operation compared to the same quarter last year. Revenue miles in the current quarter were down 3.1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007 from reduced loads in the flatbed portion of the transportation segment.

According to Patriot, the flatbed portion of its transportation segment continues to face severe industry overcapacity and significant disruptions to profitability from poor freight demand, utilization disruption and pricing softness resulting from the housing downturn, as well as high fuel expenses. The company said this downturn is expected to continue to impact the operations of the flatbed portion of its transportation business throughout calendar 2008.

Anderson, who is being replaced by board member John D. Baker II, will continue to serve as a director. Anderson, 62, has been president and CEO since 1989.

Baker, 59, has served as a director since 1986. He was president and CEO of Florida Rock Industries Inc., a seller of concrete and other materials, from 1996 until its recent merger with Vulcan Materials Co.