UPDATE 1-Con-way Q1 profit rises, beats estimates

Tue May 1, 2012 5:14pm EDT

* Q1 EPS 46 cents vs 12 cents year ago

* Ex-items 45 cents vs Wall St view of 35 cents

* Revenue $1.37 bln vs $1.35 bln Wall St view

May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. trucking and logistics company Con-way Inc reported higher quarterly earnings that beat estimates, boosted by fuel surcharges and new customers for its transportation and warehouse management services.

Trucking companies have had minimal push-back to higher shipping rates, which they have been able to tack on due to a capacity shortage that is likely to intensify as the economy expands.

The company on Tuesday said net income rose to $25.6 million, or 46 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with $6.9 million, or 12 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, profit was 45 cents a share, up from 24 cents a share a year earlier. This beat the average Wall Street forecast of 35 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue for the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company rose to $1.37 billion, above the average estimate of $1.35 billion.

Con-way Freight, the company's less-than-truckload unit that accounts for more than 60 percent of its revenue, had an 8.2 percent revenue rise to $831 million, driven up in part by fuel surcharges to customers as tonnage rose 1.5 percent compared with a year ago.

In less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, the company picks up loads, sorts them and makes various deliveries. This differs from truckload, in which one driver picks up a load and stays with it through to its final destination.

Higher revenue was due primarily to increased revenue per hundredweight, or yield, including higher fuel surcharge revenue, the company said.

In the logistics segment, revenue rose 13.3 percent to $419 million, due mainly to new customers for transportation and warehouse management services and to increased freight brokerage volumes.

Revenue rose 8.3 percent in the truckload division due to higher fuel surcharges and improved revenue per loaded mile. Loaded miles rose slightly and empty miles fell to 9.3 percent from 9.6 percent a year earlier.

Con-way's shares closed up 0.8 percent at $32.76, up more than 12 percent so far this year. The Dow Jones Transportation average is up 5.3 percent this year.

Con-way is holding a conference call with analysts on Wednesday before the market opens.

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