Heartland posts higher 2Q profit

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Heartland Express Inc. today, July 14, announced financial results for the quarter and six months ended June 30. Net income increased 2.2 percent to $17.6 million from $17.2 million in the 2008 period. Operating revenues decreased 28.9 percent to $117.0 million from $164.6 million.

The North Liberty, Iowa-based company said operating revenues for the quarter and the six-month period were impacted by a reduction in fuel surcharge revenues associated with lower fuel costs, and the continued economic downturn and the related downward pressure on freight rates. Operating income for the second quarter of 2009 was impacted favorably by $4.2 million due to an increase in gains on disposal of property and equipment.

For the six months ended June 30, net income decreased 0.4 percent to $31.8 million from $31.9 million in the 2008 period. Operating revenues decreased 26.0 percent to $232.0 million from $313.6 million. Operating income for this year’s six-month period was impacted favorably by $5.2 million due to an increase in gains on disposal of property and equipment.

The company ended the second quarter of 2009 with cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments of $205.0 million, a $23.0 million decrease from the $228.0 million reported at Dec. 31, 2008; quarter-end cash position was impacted by the purchase of 416 new tractors and the repurchase of common stock. The company said its balance sheet continues to be debt-free.

The company said the current extended economic downturn is the worst experienced in its history, and that excess capacity in the industry, combined with the continued decline in available freight, is resulting in extreme pressure on freight rates. The company said it has not seen any strong indicators of improvements in the demand for freight services that would increase its levels of business in the near future.