Regional truckload carrier Heartland Express had a good first quarter ended March 31. During the quarter the company raised driver pay by $.03 per mile and declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $1,500,000.
The good news for drivers and investors resulted from an increase of 11.1 percent in gross revenue for the quarter to $118.7 million from $106.8 million in the first quarter of 2004. Net income increased 15.0 percent to $15.1 million from $13.1 million in the 2004 period. For the quarter Heartland posted an operating ratio of 81.4 percent and a 12.7 percent net margin.
The company ended the first quarter with cash, cash equivalents, and investments of $288.2 million, a $29.9 million increase from the $258.3 million reported on December 31, 2004. During the quarter the company generated $32.9 million net cash from operations, a 28.4% increase over the first quarter of 2004. The company has no debt.
In March, the company continued the replacement of its tractor fleet with new International 9400i model tractors. Approximately 860 new tractors have been received through the end of the quarter. The fleet replacement will continue throughout the year and is scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2006.