Trailer Bridge reports higher 4Q profit

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Trailer Bridge Inc. reported unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2009. The company reported operating income of $3.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, a 148.4 percent increase vs. operating income of $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Net income improved by $2.1 million to $1.0 million from a net loss of $1.1 million. The $1.0 million in net income included $690,000 in severance payments as part of a reduction in force and $676,000 in legal and related expenses in connection with the ongoing Department of Justice investigation. The company reported revenue of $30.7 million, down 7.7 percent but an increase of 1.3 percent sequentially from the third quarter of 2009. Excluding the effect of fuel surcharges, revenue decreased by 0.8 percent but increased 2.4 percent from the third quarter.

The company reported operating income of $12.7 million for 2009 compared to operating income of $7.0 million for 2008, and net income of $2.6 million compared to net loss of $3.2 million. The $2.6 million in net income includes $690,000 in severance payments as part of a reduction in force and $1.7 million in legal and related expenses in connection with the ongoing Department of Justice investigation.

“We saw continued high capacity utilization in the quarter with the exception of the seasonally slower last week of the year,” said Ivy Suter, chief executive officer of Trailer Bridge, based in Jacksonville, Fla. “Capacity utilization and revenue compared favorably to the third quarter of 2009 on one less sailing. Our operating and EBITDA margins expanded significantly versus the prior year, and we operated profitably for the third consecutive quarter. We expect capacity utilization to remain high in the first quarter of 2010 and beyond based on what we’re seeing in January.”

Suter said the company’s continuing cash generation and strong financial position allowed it to purchase, at par, an additional $1.0 million face amount of its outstanding senior secured notes in January 2010. “We are pleased that our system has performed well in a difficult economic climate, and we are seeing a continuing stream of new customers that are taking advantage of our value proposition,” Suter said. “In that regard, and as previously announced, we expanded our sailings to and from the Dominican Republic to once a week from every two weeks as announced in January 2010.” The company is providing this service utilizing its existing liner-service vessels to link the ports of Jacksonville, Fla.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.”

At Dec. 31, 2009, the company had cash balances of $11.0 million and working capital of $13.5 million. The company has no outstanding amount on its $10.0 million revolving credit facility, and based upon eligible receivables, currently has $7.8 million of availability under this facility. During the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2009, net cash from operating activities was $9.9 million.