Arkansas Best Corporation today announced a first quarter 2011 net loss of $12.8 million, or $0.51 per share, compared to a net loss of $21.4 million, or $0.85 per share in the first quarter of 2010.
Arkansas Best's first quarter 2011 results reflect continued improvements in broader economic and LTL market conditions that provided ABF the opportunity for growth in its daily tonnage levels. While ABF was successful in adding business and improving its operating results in the first quarter, the improvements were not enough to return ABF to profitability. ABF's results for the first quarter were impacted by the lingering effects of a weaker, recessionary pricing environment. ABF's first quarter was also impacted by severe weather effects in January and early February as well as a significant increase in fuel costs that predominantly occurred during the last six weeks of the quarter. Fuel surcharge caps and non-standard fuel surcharge programs played a greater role in ABF's quarterly results than in past periods of significant fuel price increases. During March, and into the month of April, ABF has taken additional actions to increase pricing on underperforming accounts and to correct inadequate fuel surcharge programs.
"With the upturn in the economy and significantly less capacity serving the industry, the opportunities for ABF to grow profitably this year are favorable," said Judy R. McReynolds, Arkansas Best President and Chief Executive Officer. "Shippers are becoming more concerned about having transportation capacity to deliver their products. In this environment, shippers look to carriers like ABF who offer reliability, safety and a high level of customer service. ABF's reputation for dependability and consistency is valued in the transportation marketplace and is an advantage in seeking to gain additional, profitable business during this period of economic improvement."