ABF Reports Results; Announces New CEO

Though tonnage-per-day levels at less-than-truckload carrier ABF declined 10.1% year-on-year in the third quarter, October declines slowed to 7%. Earnings per share beat some analyst estimates, coming in at a net loss of $0.23 vs. an expected loss of $0.36 per share.

Overcapacity continued to be a factor in market pricing , and ABF saw its yield drop by 13%. It ended the quarter with an operating ratio of 103.8, which was better than the 105.4 Stifel Nicolaus analysts had estimated. Tight cost controls and some market share gains helped the company.

Most LTL carriers have taken wage cuts this year, said a Stifel Nicolaus report, “but the Teamster contract keeps ABF's wages and benefits firmly locked in, challenging profitability. We don't think they'll get wage concessions like YRCW did, because ABF has a net debt-free balance sheet with a net cash position of ~$7.50/share.”

In other news, Robert A. Davidson, current president and CEO of Arkansas Best Corp. announced his retirement from the company effective on December 31, 2009. He is also resigning from the Arkansas Best Board of Directors, effective on December 31, 2009.

The company announced Judy R. McReynolds, current senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer will become Arkansas Best’s president and CEO on January 1, 2010. In addition, McReynolds was named to the Arkansas Best Corporation Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2010.

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