CNF POSTS EARNINGS TURNAROUND \ REVENUE JUMPS AT TRANSPORT GIANT

CNF POSTS EARNINGS TURNAROUND \ REVENUE JUMPS AT TRANSPORT GIANT

CNF Transportation Inc. Tuesday released an impressive fourth-quarter financial statement that showed earnings of $27.3 million, reversing the $8.3 million loss of a year earlier.

The 1997 results include a $5 million pretax charge for discontinuing a rail container service, while the 1996 results were restated to reflect the December 1996 spinoff of CF Motor Freight, CNF's former long-haul consolidated freight carrier.The Palo Alto, Calif.-based transport giant reported revenue in the 1997 quarter of $1.2 billion, compared with $984.2 million a year earlier.

CNF's two principal units also posted increased operating income. Con-Way Transportation Services, CNF's trucking subsidiary, reported operating income of $37.4 million on revenue of $385.3 million for the fourth quarter.

In the same period in 1996, Con-Way earned $21.4 million on revenue of $342.5 million. Con-Way's 1997 results included the $5 million charge on its earnings.

The company said Con-Way's regional cargo volume rose 11.7 percent, while consolidated freight traffic was up 11.5 percent in the quarter.

Emery Worldwide, CNF's integrated transportation company, continued its upward movement, with income of $32.5 million on revenue of $644.7 million. In the fourth quarter a year earlier, Emery recorded operating earnings of $26.7 million on revenue of $547.2 million.

The operations of CNF's other units, which include Menlo Logistics Inc., Vantage Parts and Road Systems, did not fare as well, losing $4.1 million on revenue of $164.1 million in the quarter. In the same period a year earlier, those units earned $1.6 million on revenue of $94.4 million.

CNF said the loss includes expenses for the start-up of sorting operations of the $1.7 billion Priority Mail contract awarded to Emery by the U.S. Postal Service.

The revenue from this segment includes business from that pact.