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October 30, 2019 1:30 PM, EDT

Forward Air Reports Profit Dip, Robust Revenue

Forward Air truck John Sommers II for Transport Topics

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Forward Air Corp. reported strong third-quarter earnings, including skyrocketing revenue, when the Greeneville, Tenn., company announced financial results Oct. 24.

While net income dipped by 0.4% to $22.2 million or 78 cents per share, from $22.3 million or 76 cents, revenue for the three months ending Sept. 30 increased 9.1%, to $361.7 million from $331.4 million for the same period in 2018.

“Our growth strategies drove our record third-quarter results,” CEO Tom Schmitt said. “Consolidated revenues grew 9.1%, while consolidated operating income grew 10.1% before considering the net impact of a $2.5 million increased vehicle reserve recorded during the quarter.”

The company also offered guidance for the fourth quarter.

“We expect fourth-quarter, year-on-year revenue growth to be 6% to 10% and net income per diluted share to be between 90 and 94 cents in the fourth quarter of 2019,” Chief Financial Officer Michael Morris said.

Forward Air operates a mix of businesses including truckload, expedited less-than-truckload, intermodal and consolidation/warehousing logistics services.

Expedited LTL grew revenue 11.4%, to $210 million on a year-over-year-basis from $188.5 million. Intermodal grew revenue 15.4%, to $58.3 million compared with $50.5 million a year ago. Pool Distribution grew revenue 7.7% year-over-year, to $50.9 million from $47.2 million. Truckload Premium Services was the worst performer as revenue declined 5.2% year-over-year to $45.4 million from $47.9 million.

While that division saw a drop-off in revenue, it is considered the smallest part of the company’s business. Forward Air said the weak performance was caused by a larger number of tractors on the road, up more than 34% to nearly 400 power units. Plus, those units dropped 13.4 fewer miles per week and revenue per mile dropped 6.8%.

Forward Air ranks No. 31 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 1 on the Air/Expedited sector list

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