Forward Air posts 1Q net loss on impairment charge

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Forward Air Corp. on Monday, April 20, reported operating revenue for the first quarter ended March 31 decreased 10.5 percent to $96.6 million from $107.9 million for the same quarter in 2008. Results from operations for the quarter — which includes a noncash pretax charge of $7.2 million primarily for goodwill impairment related to the company’s Forward Air Solutions segment — was a loss of $5.0 million compared with income from operations of $16.7 million in the prior-year quarter.

Including the impact of the goodwill impairment, the company’s net loss was $3.1 million compared with net income of $10.0 million. Income from operations, adjusted to exclude the $7.2 million noncash pretax impairment charge, decreased to $2.1 million from $16.7 million. Adjusted net income declined to $1.2 million from $10.0 million.

“Our revenue and profitability continue to be negatively impacted by the severe effects of the current economic recession,” said Bruce A. Campbell, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Forward Air, based in Greeneville, Tenn. “The unprecedented tonnage decline, along with increased downward pressure on our yield driven by lower fuel surcharges, as well as a highly competitive pricing environment, has created extreme pressure on our airport-to-airport model. We will continue to be vigilant in our cost-control efforts. However, we will not make cuts for the benefit of our short-term results that could negatively impair our performance when the economy improves.”

Campbell said the impairment charge was driven primarily by the current economic environment and related market valuations. “While first-quarter results for this segment were disappointing, with recent new business awards and successful ongoing cost-control measures, we anticipate Forward Air Solutions to be a positive bottom-line contributor in the near term,” he said.