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February 8, 2018 12:30 PM, EST
Forward Air Reports Mixed Results in 4Q
Forward Air Truck John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Greeneville, Tenn.-based Forward Air Corp. reported Feb. 7 fourth-quarter net income of $35.4 million, or $1.18 earnings per share, compared with $12.7 million, or 42 cents, in the fourth quarter a year ago.

Net income in the quarter and for the year was bolstered by 53 cents earnings per share, or $12.6 million, from the 2017 tax reform act. Earnings per share in the fourth quarter without the benefit were 65 cents, topping the 62 cents expected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Operating revenues were $306.1 million, up 15.6% from the fourth quarter of 2016. Analysts expected revenues of $301.3 million

The company operates four major divisions — expedited less-than-truckload, truckload, pool distribution and intermodal.

The LTL group reported quarterly operating income of $23.5 million, up from $20.5 million, on revenues of $171.2 million, up from $147.4 million. The truckload group saw a loss of $451,000, down from a $1.3 million gain, on revenues of $46.4 million, up from $44 million. Pool distribution saw income of $2.7 million, down from $3.8 million, on revenues of $50.4 million, up from $47.5 million. Intermodal had income of $3.5 million, up from $2.8 million, on revenues of $43 million, up from $27.3 million.

“Our business units had mixed results during an operationally challenging fourth quarter,” CEO Bruce Campbell said. “Expedited LTL managed its seasonally busy quarter amid a tight truckload market to deliver strong performance despite a higher use of brokered transportation.”

For full year 2017, net income was $87.3 million, or $2.89, compared with $27.7 million, or 90 cents. Operating revenues were $1.1 billion, up from $982.5 million.

For the year, the LTL group reported operating income of $88.1 million, up from $83.5 million in 2016, on revenues of $619.8 million, compared with $570.8 million. The truckload unit had net income of $3.2 million, compared with a loss of $35.4 million, on revenues of $179.3 million, up from $164.3 million. Pool distribution had income of $6.4 million, compared with $3.6 million, on revenues of $164.2 million, up from $148.7 million. Intermodal had income of $12.7 million, up from nearly $11 million, on revenues of $149 million, compared with $103.7 million.

Forward Air ranks No. 37 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.