Frozen Food Express Industries, the US-based temperature-controlled distribution company which specialises in food products, health care supplies and confectionery, has reported an increase in first quarter results for 2002.
"When you've got the kind of economy we're operating in, with sluggish demand and rising fuel prices, I'll take any kind of improvement I can get, especially in the first quarter, which is almost always our weakest quarter," said Stoney M. Stubbs, Jr., chairman and CEO.
Although first quarter revenues declined from $89.5 million in 2001 to $79.1 million in 2002, this was primarily due to the sale of W&B Refrigerated Service Company in December 2001. First quarter non-freight revenue declined from $11.2 million in 2001 to $1.6 million in 2002.
The core freight operations improved, however, with the trucking operations improving sales to $77.5 million. Stubbs said that while revenues in the first quarter of 2001 were higher at $78.3 million, this did not take into account a fuel surcharge, and that the 2002 figures were actually better than the previous year.
Stubbs said that first quarter fuel surcharges contributed almost $3 million to 2001 revenue and just one-sixth of that amount in the first quarter of 2002. "If you ignore the fuel surcharges, our freight revenue improved by about 2 per cent," he said.
Net losses also improved from the first quarter of 2001, falling to $859,000 from $884,000.
Stubbs said that the company's efforts to establish a new credit facility were progressing. "Our current facility expires on 1 June 2002. We are currently negotiating with lenders who have indicated their willingness and ability to provide us borrowing capacity with terms that we can operate under for the next three years," he explained.