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Heartland Express, Inc. Reports Revenues and Earnings for the Fourth Quarter of 2012

Heartland Express, Inc. Reports Revenues and Earnings for the Fourth Quarter
of 2012

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa, Jan. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Heartland Express, Inc.
(Nasdaq:HTLD) announced today financial results for the quarter ended December
31, 2012. Operating revenues for the quarter increased 3.8% to $136.2 million
from $131.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Operating income for the
three month period was negatively impacted by a $4.1 million decrease in gains
on disposal of property and equipment.Net income was $14.3 million compared
to $17.1 million in the 2011 period, a 16.5% decrease.Basic earnings per
share decreased 14.4% to $0.17 from $0.20 reported in the fourth quarter of
2011.Fuel surcharge revenues for the quarter increased 5.6% to $28.0 million
from $26.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.For the quarter, Heartland
Express, Inc. (the "Company") posted an operating ratio (operating expenses as
a percentage of operating revenues) of 81.9% and a 10.5% net margin (net
income as a percentage of operating revenues) compared to 79.5% and 13.0%,
respectively, in the fourth quarter of last year.

Operating revenues for the year increased 3.2% to $545.7 million from $528.6
million in the prior year.Operating income forthe year was negatively
impacted by a $17.0 million decrease in gains on disposal of property and
equipment.Net income was $61.5 million compared to $69.9 million in the 2011
period, a 12.0% decrease.Basic earnings per share decreased 8.2% to $0.72
from $0.78 reported in 2011.Fuel surcharge revenues for the year increased
4.3% to $112.4 million from $107.8 million in the prior year.For the year,
the Company posted an operating ratio of 82.6% and an 11.3% net margin
compared to 79.8% and 13.2%, respectively, reported last year.

The Company continues to experience significant swings in fuel expense from
quarter to quarter.Fuel expense increased $3.2 million or 8.2% during the
quarter and $7.1 million or 4.4% during the year, primarily due to an increase
in average fuel prices over the similar prior periods.The U.S. average cost
of fuel was $4.015 per gallon during the fourth quarter of 2012, a 3.7%
increase over the fourth quarter of the prior year and $3.971 for the year, a
3.2% increase from the prior year. The Company continues to focus on fuel
surcharge pricing, truck idling hours, overall tractor fuel economy, and fuel
purchasing decisions in an effort to lessen the impact of higher fuel costs.

The average age of the Company's tractor fleet was 2.4 years as of
December31, 2012 with all of the fleet being 2010 models and newer.The
Company took delivery of 225 new trucks during the fourth quarter which
included ProStar Plus International and Freightliner Cascadia models.An
additional 675 new trucks will be received throughout the first quarter of
2013 to complete this current upgrade. The average age of the Company's
trailer fleet improved to 3.1 years at December31, 2012 compared to 4.1 years
at December31, 2011, with 96% of our trailers being 2007 models and newer at
year end.The Company took delivery of 1,864 new Wabash trailers during the
year including 890 during the fourth quarter.The Company sold 1,292 trailers
during the year including 119 trailers during the fourth quarter.These
continued fleet upgrades keep our tractor and trailer fleets in late model
equipment which the Company believes is a key component of delivering quality
customer service.These fleet upgrades also allow us to maintain our strong
industry CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) scores.

The Company ended the year with cash, cash equivalents, and long-term
investments totaling $139.9 million, a $50.4 million decrease from the $190.3
million reported at December 31, 2011.Consistent with 2011, net cash flows
from operations continued to be strong at 18.7% of operating revenues during
2012.Our reduction in cash and investments during the year was mainly the
result of capital expenditures for the year of $37.6 million primarily for new
tractors and trailers, net of equipment sale proceeds related to our trailer
and tractor fleet upgrade programs, dividend payments of $91.9 million and
payments for stock repurchases of $24.2 million.The Company funded these
current year expenditures through the use of cash generated from operations as
well as $32.4 million in calls, at par, received on illiquid auction rate
securities.The Company continues to maintain a debt-free balance sheet with
total assets of $467.7 million.The Company ended the year with a return on
total assets of 11.6% and a 17.7% return on equity compared to 13.0% and
19.9%, respectively, during 2011.

Commitment to our shareholders continues through the payment of cash dividends
and the repurchase of common stock.A dividend of $1.02 per share was declared
and paid during the quarter. The Company has now paid cumulative cash
dividends of $436.5 million, including three special dividends, over the past
thirty-eight consecutive quarters. In addition, the Company purchased 2.1% of
its outstanding shares during the year at a cost of $24.2 million. Total
shares repurchased during the year were 1.8 million including 0.7 million in
the fourth quarter.

Nineteen customer service awards were received in 2012 because of our
dependability and performance. The Company's commitment to customer service as
one of our core fundamentals has allowed us to build solid, long-term
relationships and brand ourselves as an industry leader for on-time service.
These awards include the Eastman Chemical 2011 Supplier Excellence Award for
the sixteenth consecutive year, the 2011 Winegard Company Truckload Carrier of
the Year Award, the Cost Plus World Market 2011 Premier Carrier Partner Award,
the Lowe's 2011 Gold Carrier Award, the Walmart Transportation 2011 Sam's
Carrier of the Year Award, the Nestle Waters Madison 2011 World Class Customer
Service Award, the FedEx SmartPost Carrier of the Year award for the fifth
time, the FedEx Gold Service Award for 99.87% on time service, the FedEx
SmartPost Peak Performance Award, the Dupont 2011 Outstanding Service Award,
TransFreight Certificate of Appreciation for dedication to exceptional
performance, the United Sugars 2012 Service in Excellence Award, the Sonoco
2012 Prospector Award, the Schneider Logistics Carrier of the Year Award, the
2011 BP Safety Award, and the LXP Managed Freight Elite Fleet Member Award.In
addition, we received the Fleet Owner magazine 2011 For-Hire Fleet of the Year
and the Logistics Management magazine Dry-Freight Carriers Quest for Quality
Award for the tenth consecutive year as well as the Environmental Protection
Agency's SmartWay Excellence Award.

This press release may contain statements that might be considered as
forward-looking statements or predictions of future operations.Such
statements are based on management's belief or interpretation of information
currently available.These statements and assumptions involve certain risks
and uncertainties.Actual events may differ from these expectations as
specified from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission.


HEARTLAND EXPRESS, INC.
AND SUBSIDIARIES
                                                                
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(unaudited)
                                                                
                                    Three Months Ended  Twelve Months Ended
                                     December 31,        December 31,
                                    2012      2011      2012       2011
OPERATING REVENUE                    $136,193  $131,209  $545,745 $528,623
                                                                
OPERATING EXPENSES:                                              
Salaries, wages, and benefits        $41,216 $41,885 $167,073 $166,717
Rent and purchased transportation    1,521     1,760     6,273      7,527
Fuel                                 42,722    39,494    168,981    161,915
Operations and maintenance           6,911     4,435     25,282     20,938
Operating taxes and licenses         2,249     2,272     8,694      9,225
Insurance and claims                 3,608     2,770     14,906     13,142
Communications and utilities         704       816       2,953      2,957
Depreciation                         14,974    16,284    57,158     57,226
Other operating expenses             3,256     4,432     14,633     14,552
Gain on disposal of property and     (5,676)   (9,804)   (15,109)   (32,133)
equipment
                                    111,485   104,344   450,844    422,066
Operating income                     24,708    26,865    94,901     106,557
Interest income                      174       153       674        773
Income before income taxes           24,882    27,018    95,575     107,330
Federal and state income taxes       10,590    9,897     34,034     37,398
Net income                           $14,292   $17,121 $61,541  $69,932
                                                                
Earnings per share                                               
Basic                                $0.17     $0.20   $0.72    $0.78
Diluted                              $0.17     $0.20   $0.71    $0.78
                                                                
Weighted average shares outstanding                              
Basic                                85,010    87,150    85,892     89,656
Diluted                              85,287    87,219    86,201     89,673
                                                                
Dividends declared per share         $1.02   $0.02   $1.08    $0.08


HEARTLAND EXPRESS, INC.
AND SUBSIDIARIES
                                                                
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in thousands, except per share amounts)
(unaudited)
                                                    December 31, December 31,
ASSETS                                               2012         2011
CURRENT ASSETS                                                   
Cash and cash equivalents                            $119,838   $139,770
Trade receivables, net                               46,555       44,198
Prepaid tires                                        6,603        12,820
Other current assets                                 2,281        1,932
Income tax receivable                                2,351        314
Deferred income taxes, net                           13,797       14,401
Total current assets                                 191,425      213,435
                                                                
PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT                               432,330      409,710
Less accumulated depreciation                        189,959      161,269
                                                    242,371      248,441
LONG-TERM INVESTMENTS                                20,016       50,569
OTHER ASSETS                                         13,925       13,221
                                                    $467,737   $525,666
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY                             
CURRENT LIABILITIES                                              
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities             $7,583     $9,088
Compensationand benefits                            16,409       15,493
Insurance accruals                                   13,924       13,997
Other accruals                                       7,439        7,085
Total current liabilities                            45,355       45,663
LONG-TERM LIABILITIES                                            
Income taxes payable                                 23,122       24,077
Deferred income taxes, net                           51,306       57,661
Insurance accruals less current portion              57,590       57,494
Total long-term liabilities                          132,018      139,232
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES                                    
STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY                                             
Capital stock, common, $.01 par value; authorized
395,000 shares; issued 90,689 in 2012 and 2011;      907          907
outstanding 84,770 and 86,475 in 2012 and 2011,
respectively
Additional paid-in capital                           2,968        589
Retained earnings                                    368,313      398,706
Treasury stock, at cost; 5,919 and 4,214 shares in   (80,540)     (56,350)
2012 and 2011, respectively
Accumulated other comprehensive loss                 (1,284)      (3,081)
                                                    290,364      340,771
                                                    $467,737   $525,666

CONTACT: Heartland Express, Inc.
         Mike Gerdin, Chief Executive Officer
         John Cosaert, Chief Financial Officer
         319-626-3600
 
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