May 10, 2007

Area cargo company's earnings plunge

WILMINGTON — ABX Air Inc.'s earnings for the first quarter plunged by almost half because of income tax expense and the loss of some cargo business the company had handled a year ago for DHL, ABX reported on Wednesday.

Net earnings for the quarter ended March 31 were $4.3 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with $8.1 million and 14 cents a year earlier. Revenue for the latest quarter totaled $288.1 million, down by $81.1 million from last year's $369.2 million.

The company flies overnight freight deliveries nationally and internationally from its airport hub near Wilmington. Its principal customer is the cargo transport company DHL.

ABX said its results for the latest quarter included a deferred, non-cash income tax expense of $2.6 million, or 4 cents per share. There was no such expense in the first quarter of 2006.

In addition, the first-quarter earnings a year ago included income of $1.3 million, or 2 cents per share, from line-haul cargo business ABX handled for DHL. The following quarter, DHL assumed those operations from ABX.

ABX has other opportunities for business growth, said Joe Hete, its president and chief executive officer. Revenues from its charter business increased by 83 percent to $7 million in the latest quarter, from $3.9 million a year ago. ABX's charter customers include the federal government, Postal Service and Fortune 500 companies.

Revenues primarily from mail handling services for the Postal Service, along with aircraft maintenance services, increased by $3.6 million to $8.1 million in the latest quarter, ABX reported.

Last week, ABX announced it will enter the Asian market with its new agreement to operate two 767-200 cargo delivery jets for the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways Co. The two-year agreement begins on May 15.


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