Covenant expects to rebound from last year’s 4Q net loss

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Covenant Transportation Group Inc. announced Tuesday, Jan. 18, that for the fourth quarter of 2010, the company expects to report consolidated net income in a range of $0.03 to $0.07 per share.

“Our expectations for the fourth quarter of 2010 compare to a reported consolidated net loss of 19 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2009,” says David Parker, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company. “For the quarter, we expect to report that freight revenue, which for these purposes excludes fuel surcharge revenue, in our asset-based truckload business increased $4.2 million, or 3.4 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2009.”

Parker says this increase related to a 3.0 percent increase in average freight revenue per tractor per week and a minor 14-truck (or 0.5 percent) increase in Covenant’s average tractor fleet. The company says its average freight revenue per tractor per week improved to $3,113 during the 2010 quarter from $3,023 during the 2009 quarter due to an improved rate environment, offset by an approximate 2 percent decrease in average miles per tractor.

Parker says Covenant’s average freight revenue per total mile increased 6.6 cents per mile (or 5.2 percent) compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, and that sequentially, its average freight revenue per total mile increased 1.1 cents per mile (0.8 percent) compared with the third quarter of 2010. “In addition, we experienced cost headwinds related to net fuel, insurance and claims, and various items within salaries, wages and related expenses,” he says.