Swift reports smaller 4Q net loss

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Swift Transportation Co. on Tuesday, Jan. 25, announced that operating revenue for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31 increased 16.8 percent to $780.4 million compared to $668.3 million for the corresponding quarter of 2009. Excluding fuel surcharge revenue, net revenue increased to $661.6 million, up 13.8 percent for the largest quarterly year-over-year increase in more than five years.

The Phoenix-based truckload carrier said the increase in revenue excluding fuel surcharge reflects a 6.8 percent increase in weekly trucking revenue per tractor and a 4.4 percent increase in average tractors available for dispatch, due primarily because of a 5.1 percent increase in average trucking revenue per loaded mile; loaded miles, or trucking volumes, increased 6.2 percent. Intermodal revenue grew 20.6 percent, further contributing to the growth in revenue excluding fuel surcharge, Swift said.

“Our pricing is improving as customers align with our strong capacity and quality service, allowing us to improve our mix and recapture some of the rate lost during the recession,” said Jerry Moyes, chief executive officer. “Demand maintained the pace of improvement over the prior year and was substantially flat with the third quarter of 2010, showing the typical holiday seasonal pattern throughout the quarter.”

For the fourth quarter of 2010, Swift reported a net loss of $48.3 million compared to a net loss of $357.1 million. These results include several special items in each period primarily related to the company’s initial public offering and debt refinancing transactions in December, and amendments to its previous senior secured credit facility and second-priority senior secured note indentures in October 2009.

For the year ended Dec. 31, operating revenue increased 13.9 percent to $2.93 billion compared to $2.57 billion for 2009. Net revenue excluding fuel surcharge revenue was $2.50 billion, up 8.9 percent. The increase in revenue excluding fuel surcharge was driven primarily by a 4.7 percent growth in loaded miles, while average trucking revenue per loaded mile also increased 1.9 percent. Net loss for the year was $125.4 million, which included the $118.1 million of costs related to the IPO and refinancing, along with several pretax items.

“As a leadership team, we are very proud of our entire organization,” said Richard Stocking, president and chief operating officer. “Since 2007, we have implemented in-depth leadership training programs and created a hyper-focus on key indicators throughout all levels of the organization, which are reviewed regularly. This has created a strong sense of unity throughout the organization, from the drivers to the executive team, and our customers have seen the change. Through these efforts, combined with an improving freight environment and a reduction in industrywide trucking capacity, we have exceeded our financial targets for the year.”

Stocking said that excluding the $22.6 million noncash equity compensation charge upon the IPO, Swift achieved its highest quarterly operating income in company history, “an accomplishment we are very proud of. Our recent IPO and refinancing transactions have strengthened our balance sheet, allowing us to focus our attention back on our business. Our goal is to achieve sustained, superior performance. We’ve come a long way, but relative to our potential, we believe we have great room for improvement.”