UPDATE 1-Forward Air Q4 beats Street; expects rev growth in Q1

Mon Feb 8, 2010 5:14pm EST

* Q4 EPS $0.22 vs est $0.19

* Sees Q1 rev up 6 to 10 pct

* Cautiously optimistic about 2010

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Air cargo company Forward Air Corp (FWRD.O) posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, as some business segments improved, and forecast an increase in revenue after four straight quarters of decline.

The company expects first-quarter revenue to grow 6 percent to 10 percent, while earnings are expected at 8 cents to 12 cents a share.

Analysts were looking for earnings of 8 cents a share and revenue growth of about 4.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Although we were encouraged by the trends that started at the end of the third quarter and which continued throughout the fourth quarter, we remain very cautious, yet optimistic, in our outlook for 2010," CEO Bruce Campbell said in a statement.

The company's fourth-quarter net income fell to $6.4 million, or 22 cents a share, from $8.3 million, or 29 cents a share, a year ago.

Operating revenue was down 4 percent at $118.0 million.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 19 cents a share on revenue of $110.6 million.

Shares of the company closed at $21.97 Monday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore ; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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