J.B. Hunt 3Q Earnings Slide on Charge

Friday, October 14th 2005, 10:42 am
By: News On 6

LOWELL, Ark. (AP) _ J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. said Friday third-quarter earnings fell 17 percent despite higher revenue, as a charge for an arbitration judgment cut into profits.

Earnings fell to $39.8 million, or 25 cents per share, from $47.9 million, or 29 cents per share. Excluding the arbitration charge, third-quarter earnings would have risen 16 percent to $55.6 million, the company said.

J.B. Hunt previously disclosed in September that it planned to take a third-quarter charge because of an arbitration judgment in a dispute with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.'s railway unit. The charge amounted to about 10 cents per share.

Analysts forecast J.B. Hunt's earnings at 33 cents per share, according to a Thomson Financial poll.

The company said operating revenue increased 11 percent in the quarter to $801 million, compared with $719 million in the third quarter of 2004. Operating income, not counting the pretax charge, rose to $90.9 million from $82.7 million.