NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — Heartland Express Inc. said Wednesday that profit fell in the fourth quarter as the ongoing recession continued to push down freight demand.
Trucking companies have been fighting over what business there is during the economic downturn, and that has forced them to push down rates to get business.
For the year, earnings declined 19 percent to $56.9 million, or 62 cents per share, from $70 million, or 73 cents per share, in the prior year.
Heartland said freight volumes have stabilized, but would not say when it expects volume to grow.
Heartland earned $10.7 million, or 12 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That’s down 45 percent from $19.4 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.
Operating revenue dropped 20 percent to $114.2 million from $142 million on softer freight demand and lower fuel surcharge revenue.
The performance missed the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who forecast a profit of 15 cents per share on revenue of $119.8 million. These estimates usually remove one-time items.
Full-year operating revenue fell 27 percent to $459.5 million from $625.6 million.
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow The Trucker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/truckertalk.