J.B. Hunt reports record 3Q revenues, earnings

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services today, Oct. 14, announced record third quarter 2008 net earnings of $60.3 million vs. 2007 third-quarter earnings of $50.8 million.

Total operating revenue for the current quarter was $996 million, a 12 percent increase over $892 million for third quarter 2007. The company said the increase in operating revenue primarily was attributable to growth in its intermodal (JBI) and nonasset-based Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS) segments and sharply higher fuel surcharge revenue. Current quarter operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, was essentially the same as third quarter 2007.

Operating income for the current quarter increased to $106 million vs. $96 million for third quarter 2007. The company said net changes in fuel costs and fuel surcharge revenue during the current quarter positively impacted EPS when compared with third quarter 2007 and second quarter 2008.

“In this remarkable time of economic uncertainty and capital markets turmoil, we are delighted to report not only a record third quarter, but the highest EPS for any quarter in our history,” said Kirk Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Lowell, Ark.-based J.B. Hunt. “We continue to make significant progress toward the transformation of our company from the asset-based truckload company of the past, to a diversified transportation solutions business with far less cyclicality, capital intensity and earnings volatility that is frequently associated with trucking businesses.”

Thompson said that in addition to the company’s solid earnings performance, it also was able to reduce its total debt by $133 million during the current quarter and from $913 million at the beginning of 2008 to $692 million at the end of the current quarter. “Financial stability and a strong balance sheet are reassuring to our customers and employees in these turbulent times, both domestically and internationally,” he said.

Thompson said the company is confident that its business model is the correct one and one that will allow it to compete favorably in the months and years to come. “Given uncertain economic direction and possible further slowdowns in transportation demand in the short term, we remain confident in our solid business model and our focused team to continue to meet the challenges that may confront us,” he said.