Patriot Transportation sells SunBelt flatbed unit

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Patriot Transportation Holding on Thursday, Aug. 13, announced that in June it had offered for sale its flatbed trucking company, SunBelt Transport Inc., and an agreement of sale was completed Wednesday, Aug. 12, and closed Thursday, Aug. 13.

Under the agreement, the unnamed buyer purchased all of SunBelt’s tractors and trailers, leased the Sunbelt terminal facilities in Jacksonville, Fla., for 36 months at a rental of $5,000 per month, and leased the terminal facilities in South Pittsburgh, Tenn., for 60 months at a rental of $5,000 per month with an option to purchase those Tennessee facilities at the end of the lease for payment of an additional $100,000.

Patriot said the purchase price received for the tractors and trailers and inventories was a $1 million cash payment and the delivery of a promissory note requiring 60 monthly payments of $130,000 each, secured by the assets of the business conveyed. Patriot, which retained all preclosing receivables and liabilities, said SunBelt has been accounted for as discontinued operations.

Patriot also announced income from continuing operations of $.70 per diluted share in the third quarter of fiscal 2009, a decrease of 14.2 percent compared to $2,580,000 or $.83 per diluted share for the same period last year. Income from continuing operations for the first nine months of fiscal 2009 was $5,852,000 or $1.88 per diluted share for the first nine months of fiscal 2009 compared to $5,703,000 or $1.82 per diluted share for the same period last year.

The company said reduced miles driven were more than offset by increased revenue per mile, higher gains on equipment sales and cost management. Net income for the first nine months of fiscal 2008 benefited from a gain on condemnation of land of $1,544,000, net of income taxes, but was impacted adversely by the accrual of retirement benefits of $1,541,000, net of income tax benefits, for the company’s former president and chief executive officer, whose retirement was effective Feb. 6, 2008.

Patriot said the flatbed and dry bulk tank environment continues to face poor freight demand from the housing and commercial construction downturns. During the first six months of fiscal 2009, increased revenue per mile and lower fuel expenses offset reduced demand for flatbed trucking services, but the comparison was to a weak first half of the prior year. The company said business picked up in the second half of last year, and comparable increases did not occur in the third quarter and are not anticipated during the next months.