Frozen Food Express posts full-year profit

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Frozen Food Express Industries Inc. announced Wednesday, March 4, its financial and operating results for the quarter and year ended Dec. 31.

For 2008, revenue increased by 8.5 percent to $490.5 million from $452.2 million in 2007. Net of fuel surcharges, revenue was $381.4 million compared to $378.8 million. Net income was $605,000 compared to a net loss of $7.7 million. Operating ratio was 99.6 percent compared with 102.3 percent.

For the quarter, income from operations improved $5.6 million over 2007. Revenue decreased by 4.7 percent to $112.3 million from $117.9 million. Net of fuel surcharges, revenue was $93.3 million compared to $96.1 million. The company realized pre-tax income from operations of $812,000 but on an after-tax basis incurred a net loss of $201,000 compared to a net loss of $3.5 million. Operating ratio was 99.8 percent compared with 104.6 percent.

“Despite the economic downturn and challenging freight industry in 2008, I am proud of the management team and its effort to sustain positive operating results by posting a third consecutive quarter of income from operations,” said Stoney M. (“Mit”) Stubbs Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Dallas-based company. “While our results for the fourth quarter were not as strong as the two previous quarters, which is not uncommon in a cyclical business such as ours, we did accomplish many things that we set out to achieve at the onset of the year. Going into 2008, the direct focus of the management team was to execute to an aggressive turnaround plan aimed at restoring our business to profitability, and the team delivered on that goal.”

Regarding cost-saving initiatives that Frozen Food Express planned for going into 2008, Stubbs said the company saw marked improvement in both nondriver headcount-related expenses, as well as reductions in other fixed costs. “Our average trucks in service for the year decreased 4.5 percent to 2,027 from 2,122 during 2007,” he said. “Nondriver personnel decreased by five percent throughout 2008.”

Stubbs said net capital expenditures for property and equipment in 2008 was about $9.7 million. “Our balance sheet remains debt-free and healthy, providing us with liquidity necessary to weather the economic downturn in 2009,” he said. “We accomplished many things in 2008, and our management team continues to build from momentum gained. While many trucking analysts forecast one of the toughest freight economies in our recent history, we believe that we are well-positioned for recovery when it turns.”