Knight reports higher 1Q net income

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Knight Transportation Inc. on Wednesday, April 21, reported revenue and earnings for the first quarter ended March 31. Total revenue increased 11.4 percent to $165.7 million from $148.7 million for the same quarter of 2009. Revenue before fuel surcharge increased 5.4 percent to $140.3 million compared to $133.1 million. Net income increased 5.1 percent to $12.3 million from $11.7 million.

“The operating environment grew increasingly positive during the first quarter 2010,” said Kevin P. Knight, chairman and chief executive officer of the Phoenix-based company. “We appear to be firmly in a recovering truckload freight market. Evidence of the recovery includes our 3.8 percent improvement in average miles per tractor for the quarter. This improvement marks the second consecutive quarter with increased year-over-year average miles per tractor following the 2.1 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2009. Market share growth continued in the first quarter, as we hauled 10.8 percent more loads than the first quarter of 2009.”

On a consolidated basis, the company produced an operating ratio (operating expenses, net of fuel surcharge, as a percentage of revenue before fuel surcharge) of 86.8 percent compared to 85.4 percent, while its average fleet, including owner-operators, grew by 1.0 percent to 3,759 tractors. “We continue to remain focused on refining our operating model to create additional efficiencies, offering customers a high level of service through our network of service centers, and preparing for growth opportunities that will enhance the returns for our shareholders over time,” Knight said “We continue to actively evaluate strategic opportunities that can create value for our stakeholders without undue risk. We have significant financial flexibility and a strong balance sheet, with $531.1 million of stockholders’ equity, $114.9 million in cash and short-term investments, and zero debt at March 31, 2010.”