Arkansas Best Corp. on Thursday reported a second quarter profit of about $4.9 million, down 58 percent from second-quarter 2012 net income of $11.8 million. The results were an improvement over the $13.4 million net loss posted in the first quarter, and the Fort Smith-based freight transportation services firm's executives say a nearly complete labor pact will help steer the company to "consistent profitability."
In the second quarter, revenue came to $576.9 million, up 13 percent from second-quarter 2012 revenue of $510.5 million, the Fort Smith-based freight transportation services company said in a statement. The profit came to 18 cents per share, down from 44 cents the year before, the company said. However, if a tax benefit of $8 million and transaction costs associated with buying Panther Expedited Services Inc. in June 2012 were thrown out, the company said, second-quarter 2012 profit per share would have been $5.2 million, or a comparable 18 cents per share.
Arkansas Best posted a net loss for the first six months of 2013 of $8.5 million, or 33 cents per share, on revenue of $1.1 billion, compared with a net loss of $6.3 million, or 25 cents per share, in the first half of 2012. Excluding the 2012 tax and transaction items, the company said, its net loss would have also been 33 cents also in the first half of 2012.
However, company executives say, a labor agreement struck June 27 with International Brotherhood of Teamsters union employees "is a major step toward returning the company to consistent profitability." The full contract will be implemented pending the approval of the remaining six supplemental agreements, the company says.
"We achieved a major milestone for our company in recent weeks with the ratification of a national five-year labor contract at ABF and most supplemental agreements. We expect to obtain employee ratification of all remaining supplements in the coming weeks," President and Chief Executive Officer Judy R. McReynolds said in a statement. "Once this important process is concluded, it will represent a pivotal moment for Arkansas Best, as we will be able to turn our undivided attention to driving improved profitability at ABF, while continuing the expansion and growth of our emerging businesses. As our customers look to us for total solutions to their complex supply chain needs, we are now better positioned than at any time in our history to fulfill those requirements."
Arkansas Best executives will hold a conference call to discuss the earnings results at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Those interested may listen by calling (800) 893-3796 or visit the company's website at arkbest.com. After the call, a recorded playback will be available through Sept. 8 by dialing (800) 633-8284 and using the code 21661649.