Werner Enterprises, Omaha NE, finished 2002 with an increase of 10% in operating revenue for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2002. Revenue is reported as $352.4 million, up from $320.5 million for the same period 2001. Earnings per share increased as well, jumping 27% to 27 cents per share, up from 21 cents per share for the fourth quarter 2001. For the year 2002, operating revenue edged up 6% to $1.341 billion from $1.271 billion in 2001. Earnings per share for the year 2002 were up 27% to 94 cents per share compared to 74 cents per share for 2001.
The company says that freight demand was stronger in the fourth quarter 2002 than in the corresponding period 2001. Operating margin for the fourth quarter was 7.9% for 2002, up from 7.1% in the fourth quarter 2001. In addition, the company limited fleet growth and concentrated on moving consumer goods. Werner Enterprises has a diversified fleet for hauling dry freight, refrigerated goods, and flatbed freight.
To avoid using engines that it considered insufficiently tested, Werner Enterprises bought equipment in 2002 before October 1,2002. This accelerated buying pattern reduced the average fleet age to 1.2 years in 2002, down from 1.5 years the previous year. Equipment purchases for the first half of 2003 will be below earlier averages and purchases for the second half of the year will depend on results of tests of new engine designs. Equipment is not held on operating leases, so Werner Enterprises has no off-balance sheet debt.