Arkansas Best Corporation Announces First Quarter Results; ABF Freight System Has a 93.6% Operating Ratio

Apr 20, 2001, 01:00 ET from Arkansas Best Corporation

    FORT SMITH, Ark., April 20 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ --
 Arkansas Best Corporation (Nasdaq:   ABFS) today announced net income for the
 first quarter of 2001 of $9.1 million, or $0.37 per diluted common share,
 compared to 2000 first quarter income of $13.2 million, or $0.55 per diluted
 common share.
     "Despite negative U.S. economic conditions, Arkansas Best Corporation had
 a very good quarter," said Robert A. Young III, Arkansas Best President and
 Chief Executive Officer.  "ABF's operating ratio was one of its best first
 quarter operating ratios in the last 25 years.  G.I. Trucking improved its
 operating income versus last year while continuing to grow its revenue.  Due
 to economic factors and lower rail utilization, Clipper was unprofitable
 during the first quarter."
 
     ABF Freight System, Inc.
     ABF(R)'s first quarter 2001 revenue was $325.5 million, a slight per day
 decline of 0.4% compared to the first quarter of last year.  ABF's first
 quarter 2001 operating ratio was 93.6% versus 91.8% during the same period in
 2000.  Operating income at ABF during the first three months of this year was
 $21.0 million versus 2000 first quarter operating income of $27.2 million.
 LTL revenue per hundredweight, including fuel surcharge, was $21.41, an
 increase of 6.0% over last year's first quarter.  LTL tonnage per day during
 the quarter decreased 6.6% versus the same period a year ago.  In spite of the
 decline in business levels, ABF's bills per dock hour productivity improved
 versus the first quarter of last year.  ABF's city pickup and delivery bills
 per hour was down slightly.  Lower business levels affected this measure by
 reducing the number of stops per city route and by lowering the average number
 of shipments per stop.  In addition, the load factor on road trailers moving
 to end-of-line freight terminals was negatively impacted by the reduction in
 tonnage.
     "Because of an ongoing economic slowdown, the deteriorating tonnage levels
 that ABF experienced in the fourth quarter of last year continued throughout
 the first quarter of 2001," said Mr. Young.  "ABF's practice of matching labor
 costs to daily shipment levels has proven especially beneficial during this
 ongoing period of declining tonnage.  Because over 60% of ABF's expenses are
 associated with labor, it is critical to diligently manage these costs, both
 in good times and in bad.  This has been a key factor in ABF's producing
 record-setting profits over the last several years.  In addition, it also
 allows ABF to produce a strong operating ratio when business is below desired
 levels."
     "Generally, business declines have not resulted in significant reductions
 in LTL yields during the last several months.  ABF believes that it is
 especially important during the current economic environment to maintain its
 policy of carefully reviewing the operating costs of individual accounts in
 order to make pricing decisions that produce good, overall profitability,"
 said Mr. Young.  "Though higher than last year, ABF's first quarter operating
 ratio remains one of the best in the LTL industry and affirms ABF as the most
 profitable long-haul, LTL carrier in the United States."
     Freight moving in two-day transit time lanes continues to be good for ABF.
 In the 2001 first quarter, these shipments declined at a slower rate than
 those moving longer distances in ABF's normal linehaul lanes.
 
     G.I. Trucking Company
     G.I.'s revenue during this year's first quarter was $40.5 million, a per
 day increase of 9.2% over the same period last year.  First quarter 2001
 operating income at G.I. was $342,000 which produced a quarterly operating
 ratio of 99.2% compared to 100.0% during last year's first quarter.  Total
 pounds per day increased 6.8% over the first quarter of 2000.  Revenue per
 hundredweight, including fuel surcharge, during this year's first quarter
 increased 2.3% over last year.
     "The slowing economy has reduced the rate of G.I.'s revenue growth from
 previous double digit levels.  G.I. continues to have success in lowering its
 purchased transportation costs by better utilization of existing resources,
 such as using city equipment and city drivers for over-the-road movement and
 by enhanced analysis of lane-specific cost data," said Mr. Young.  "However,
 the key to improvement for G.I. is continued attention to individual account
 profitability in order to generate greater revenue yields without further
 expansion of its existing base of fixed costs."
 
     Clipper
     Clipper's first quarter 2001 revenue of $30.8 million represented a per
 day increase of 5.7% over last year.  Clipper's first quarter 2001 operating
 ratio was 101.1% compared to a 2000 first quarter operating ratio of 99.9%.
 "Clipper was unprofitable during the quarter because of several issues," said
 Mr. Young.  "Though overall revenue increased, the slowdown in the U.S.
 economy made it difficult to profitably replace revenue that was previously
 lost by Clipper's LTL division.  The economy also caused some pricing pressure
 on existing accounts.  During the first quarter, Clipper added sales personnel
 to help bring on business in this competitive environment.  Throughout the
 quarter, Clipper invested in new computer technology to improve network
 communications and to provide document-imaging applications.  These sales
 force and technology expenditures, which had an expected negative effect on
 first quarter profitability, will help improve processes and contribute to
 Clipper's future revenue growth."
     "On the operations side, changes in the mix of shipments handled by the
 LTL division have contributed to a first quarter decline in last year's high
 rail utilization.  Higher levels of rail utilization typically result in
 better margins for Clipper," said Mr. Young.
 
     Capital Expenditures
     Arkansas Best previously announced forecasted net capital expenditures to
 be between $90 and $100 million for this year.  Because of the effects of the
 economic slowdown, each of the company's subsidiaries has re-evaluated its
 capital needs for the remainder of the year.  At this time, net capital
 expenditures for 2001 are expected to be below $85 million.
 
     Conference Call
     Arkansas Best Corporation will host a conference call with company
 executives to discuss the 2001 first quarter results.  The call will be today,
 Friday April 20, at 10:30 a.m. CDT.  Interested parties are invited to listen
 by calling (800) 967-7137.  Following the call, a recorded playback will be
 available through the end of April.  To listen to the playback, dial
 (888) 203-1112.  The passcode for the playback is 400233.  The conference call
 and playback can also be accessed through Monday April 30 on Arkansas Best's
 Internet web site at www.arkbest.com.
     As we have previously stated publicly, Arkansas Best's general policy is
 to not provide intermediate updates of positive or negative performance trends
 prior to the announcement of final earnings at the end of the quarter.
 
     Forward-Looking Statements
     The following is a "safe harbor" statement under the Private Securities
 Litigation Reform Act of 1995:  Statements contained in this press release
 that are not based on historical facts are "forward-looking statements."
 Terms such as "estimate," "expect," "predict," "plan," "anticipate,"
 "believe," "intend," "should," "would," "scheduled," and similar expressions
 and the negatives of such terms are intended to identify forward-looking
 statements.  Such statements are by their nature subject to uncertainties and
 risk, including, but not limited to, union relations; availability and cost of
 capital; shifts in market demand; weather conditions; the performance and
 needs of industries served by Arkansas Best's subsidiaries; actual future
 costs of operating expenses such as fuel and related taxes; self-insurance
 claims and employee wages and benefits; actual costs of continuing investments
 in technology; the timing and amount of capital expenditures; competitive
 initiatives and pricing pressures; general economic conditions; and other
 financial, operational and legal risks and uncertainties detailed from time to
 time in the Company's SEC public filings.
     The tables on the following pages show financial data on Arkansas Best
 Corporation and its subsidiary companies.
 
 
      ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
      CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (Unaudited)
 
                                                       Three Months Ended
                                                            March 31
                                                       2001           2000
                                                      ($ thousands, except
                                                        per share data)
     OPERATING REVENUES
      Transportation operations                      $395,955       $397,714
      Tire operations (C)                                 ---         40,771
      Service and other                                 4,621          4,530
                                                      400,576        443,015
 
     OPERATING EXPENSES AND COSTS
      Transportation operations                       376,005        370,938
      Tire operations (C)                                 ---         40,961
      Service and other                                 4,507          4,835
                                                      380,512        416,734
     OPERATING INCOME                                  20,064         26,281
 
     OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)
      Net gains on sales of property
       and non-revenue equipment                          ---          1,317
      Interest expense                                 (3,665)        (4,521)
      Other, net                                         (899)          (522)
                                                       (4,564)        (3,726)
 
     INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES                        15,500         22,555
 
     FEDERAL AND STATE INCOME TAXES                     6,421          9,383
 
     NET INCOME                                         9,079         13,172
      Preferred stock dividends                           999          1,074
 
     NET INCOME FOR COMMON STOCKHOLDERS                $8,080        $12,098
 
     NET INCOME PER COMMON SHARE
     Basic:
     NET INCOME (A)                                     $0.40          $0.61
 
     AVERAGE COMMON SHARES
      OUTSTANDING (BASIC)                          20,349,674     19,763,133
 
     Diluted:
     NET INCOME (B)                                     $0.37          $0.55
 
     AVERAGE COMMON SHARES
      OUTSTANDING (DILUTED)                        24,693,788     24,088,802
 
     CASH DIVIDENDS PAID PER COMMON SHARE                $---           $---
 
      (A)  Gives consideration to preferred stock dividends of $1.0 million and
          $1.1 million per quarter for the three months ended March 31, 2001
          and 2000, respectively.
      (B)  For the three months ended March 31, 2001 and 2000, conversion of
          preferred shares into common is assumed.
      (C)  Tire operations for the three months ended March 31, 2000, included
          the operations of Treadco, Inc. ("Treadco").  Treadco's operations
          became a part of Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, LLC on
          November 1, 2000.
 
 
      ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
      CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited)
 
                                                     March 31      December 31
                                                       2001           2000
                                                         ($ thousands)
 
     ASSETS
      Current assets                                 $210,381       $234,453
      Property, plant and equipment (net)             348,719        346,019
      Investment in Wingfoot                           59,341         59,341
      Other assets                                     54,875         51,893
      Goodwill (less amortization)                    104,405        105,418
                                                     $777,721       $797,124
 
     LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
      Current liabilities                            $245,749       $281,366
      Long-term debt, less current portion            151,810        152,997
      Other liabilities                                38,780         31,052
      Deferred income taxes                            39,343         39,519
      Stockholders' equity                            302,039        292,190
                                                     $777,721       $797,124
 
 
      CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (Unaudited)
 
                                                        Three Months Ended
                                                             March 31
                                                       2001           2000
                                                           ($ thousands)
     OPERATING ACTIVITIES
      Net cash provided by operating activities       $13,193        $11,992
 
     INVESTING ACTIVITIES
      Purchases of property, plant and equipment      (14,825)       (19,846)
      Proceeds from asset sales                           831          3,456
      Other                                              (866)          (547)
     NET CASH USED BY INVESTING ACTIVITIES            (14,860)       (16,937)
 
     FINANCING ACTIVITIES
      Borrowings under revolving credit facilities        ---         74,600
      Payments under revolving credit facilities          ---        (64,200)
      Payments on long-term debt                       (6,465)        (3,143)
      Dividends paid                                     (999)        (1,074)
      Net increase (decrease) in bank overdraft        (9,453)         3,346
      Retirement of bonds                                (153)        (4,781)
      Other, net                                        1,978            110
     NET CASH PROVIDED (USED) BY
      FINANCING ACTIVITIES                            (15,092)         4,858
 
     NET DECREASE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS        (16,759)           (87)
      Cash and cash equivalents at
       beginning of period                             36,742          4,319
     CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS AT END OF PERIOD       $19,983         $4,232
 
 
      ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
      REVENUES AND OPERATING RATIOS (Unaudited)
 
                                                        Three Months Ended
                                                             March 31
                                                       2001           2000
                                                           ($ thousands)
     REVENUES
      ABF Freight System, Inc. (A)                   $325,513       $331,836
      G.I. Trucking Company                            40,538         37,701
      Clipper                                          30,827         29,631
      Treadco, Inc. (B)                                   ---         41,264
 
     OPERATING RATIOS
      ABF Freight System, Inc. (A)                       93.6%          91.8%
      G.I. Trucking Company                              99.2%         100.0%
      Clipper                                           101.1%          99.9%
      Treadco, Inc. (B)                                   ---          100.0%
 
     OPERATING INCOME
      ABF Freight System, Inc. (A)                    $20,951        $27,241
      G.I. Trucking Company                               342              8
      Clipper                                            (350)            30
      Treadco, Inc. (B)                                   ---              3
 
      (A)  Includes U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican operations of ABF
           affiliates.
      (B)  Tire operations for the three months ended March 31, 2000, included
           the operations of Treadco, Inc. ("Treadco").  Treadco's operations
           became a part of Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, LLC on
           November 1, 2000.
 
 
      ABF FREIGHT SYSTEM, INC.
      COMBINED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
      FOR THE QUARTER ENDED March 31, 2001
 
                                          Three Months Ended March 31
                                      2001            2000         % Change
 
     Operating Revenue*             $325,513        $331,836         (1.9)%
     Operating Income*               $20,951         $27,241
     Operating Ratio                    93.6%           91.8%
 
 
     Revenue*          LTL          $295,420        $302,937         (2.5)%
                       TL             30,093          28,899          4.1%
                       Total         325,513         331,836         (1.9)%
 
     Tonnage           LTL           689,761         749,917         (8.0)%
      (tons)           TL            195,242         181,857          7.4%
                       Total         885,003         931,774         (5.0)%
 
     Shipments         LTL         1,353,875       1,484,187         (8.8)%
                       TL             24,025          22,934          4.8%
                       Total       1,377,900       1,507,121         (8.6)%
 
     Revenue/CWT       LTL            $21.41          $20.20          6.0%
                       TL              $7.71           $7.95         (3.0)%
                       Total          $18.39          $17.81          3.3%
 
     Revenue/Shipment  Total         $236.24         $220.18          7.3%
 
     Cost/Shipment     Total         $221.03         $202.10          9.4%
 
      *Note:  Values rounded to thousands ($000)
 
      There were 64 workdays in the first quarter of 2001 and 65 workdays in
      the first quarter of 2000.
      Includes U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican operations of ABF affiliates.
 
      Contact: Mr. David E. Loeffler, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
               and Treasurer
               Telephone: (501) 785-6157
 
               Mr. David Humphrey, Director of Investor Relations
               Telephone: (501) 785-6200
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X49885880
 
 

SOURCE Arkansas Best Corporation
    FORT SMITH, Ark., April 20 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ --
 Arkansas Best Corporation (Nasdaq:   ABFS) today announced net income for the
 first quarter of 2001 of $9.1 million, or $0.37 per diluted common share,
 compared to 2000 first quarter income of $13.2 million, or $0.55 per diluted
 common share.
     "Despite negative U.S. economic conditions, Arkansas Best Corporation had
 a very good quarter," said Robert A. Young III, Arkansas Best President and
 Chief Executive Officer.  "ABF's operating ratio was one of its best first
 quarter operating ratios in the last 25 years.  G.I. Trucking improved its
 operating income versus last year while continuing to grow its revenue.  Due
 to economic factors and lower rail utilization, Clipper was unprofitable
 during the first quarter."
 
     ABF Freight System, Inc.
     ABF(R)'s first quarter 2001 revenue was $325.5 million, a slight per day
 decline of 0.4% compared to the first quarter of last year.  ABF's first
 quarter 2001 operating ratio was 93.6% versus 91.8% during the same period in
 2000.  Operating income at ABF during the first three months of this year was
 $21.0 million versus 2000 first quarter operating income of $27.2 million.
 LTL revenue per hundredweight, including fuel surcharge, was $21.41, an
 increase of 6.0% over last year's first quarter.  LTL tonnage per day during
 the quarter decreased 6.6% versus the same period a year ago.  In spite of the
 decline in business levels, ABF's bills per dock hour productivity improved
 versus the first quarter of last year.  ABF's city pickup and delivery bills
 per hour was down slightly.  Lower business levels affected this measure by
 reducing the number of stops per city route and by lowering the average number
 of shipments per stop.  In addition, the load factor on road trailers moving
 to end-of-line freight terminals was negatively impacted by the reduction in
 tonnage.
     "Because of an ongoing economic slowdown, the deteriorating tonnage levels
 that ABF experienced in the fourth quarter of last year continued throughout
 the first quarter of 2001," said Mr. Young.  "ABF's practice of matching labor
 costs to daily shipment levels has proven especially beneficial during this
 ongoing period of declining tonnage.  Because over 60% of ABF's expenses are
 associated with labor, it is critical to diligently manage these costs, both
 in good times and in bad.  This has been a key factor in ABF's producing
 record-setting profits over the last several years.  In addition, it also
 allows ABF to produce a strong operating ratio when business is below desired
 levels."
     "Generally, business declines have not resulted in significant reductions
 in LTL yields during the last several months.  ABF believes that it is
 especially important during the current economic environment to maintain its
 policy of carefully reviewing the operating costs of individual accounts in
 order to make pricing decisions that produce good, overall profitability,"
 said Mr. Young.  "Though higher than last year, ABF's first quarter operating
 ratio remains one of the best in the LTL industry and affirms ABF as the most
 profitable long-haul, LTL carrier in the United States."
     Freight moving in two-day transit time lanes continues to be good for ABF.
 In the 2001 first quarter, these shipments declined at a slower rate than
 those moving longer distances in ABF's normal linehaul lanes.
 
     G.I. Trucking Company
     G.I.'s revenue during this year's first quarter was $40.5 million, a per
 day increase of 9.2% over the same period last year.  First quarter 2001
 operating income at G.I. was $342,000 which produced a quarterly operating
 ratio of 99.2% compared to 100.0% during last year's first quarter.  Total
 pounds per day increased 6.8% over the first quarter of 2000.  Revenue per
 hundredweight, including fuel surcharge, during this year's first quarter
 increased 2.3% over last year.
     "The slowing economy has reduced the rate of G.I.'s revenue growth from
 previous double digit levels.  G.I. continues to have success in lowering its
 purchased transportation costs by better utilization of existing resources,
 such as using city equipment and city drivers for over-the-road movement and
 by enhanced analysis of lane-specific cost data," said Mr. Young.  "However,
 the key to improvement for G.I. is continued attention to individual account
 profitability in order to generate greater revenue yields without further
 expansion of its existing base of fixed costs."
 
     Clipper
     Clipper's first quarter 2001 revenue of $30.8 million represented a per
 day increase of 5.7% over last year.  Clipper's first quarter 2001 operating
 ratio was 101.1% compared to a 2000 first quarter operating ratio of 99.9%.
 "Clipper was unprofitable during the quarter because of several issues," said
 Mr. Young.  "Though overall revenue increased, the slowdown in the U.S.
 economy made it difficult to profitably replace revenue that was previously
 lost by Clipper's LTL division.  The economy also caused some pricing pressure
 on existing accounts.  During the first quarter, Clipper added sales personnel
 to help bring on business in this competitive environment.  Throughout the
 quarter, Clipper invested in new computer technology to improve network
 communications and to provide document-imaging applications.  These sales
 force and technology expenditures, which had an expected negative effect on
 first quarter profitability, will help improve processes and contribute to
 Clipper's future revenue growth."
     "On the operations side, changes in the mix of shipments handled by the
 LTL division have contributed to a first quarter decline in last year's high
 rail utilization.  Higher levels of rail utilization typically result in
 better margins for Clipper," said Mr. Young.
 
     Capital Expenditures
     Arkansas Best previously announced forecasted net capital expenditures to
 be between $90 and $100 million for this year.  Because of the effects of the
 economic slowdown, each of the company's subsidiaries has re-evaluated its
 capital needs for the remainder of the year.  At this time, net capital
 expenditures for 2001 are expected to be below $85 million.
 
     Conference Call
     Arkansas Best Corporation will host a conference call with company
 executives to discuss the 2001 first quarter results.  The call will be today,
 Friday April 20, at 10:30 a.m. CDT.  Interested parties are invited to listen
 by calling (800) 967-7137.  Following the call, a recorded playback will be
 available through the end of April.  To listen to the playback, dial
 (888) 203-1112.  The passcode for the playback is 400233.  The conference call
 and playback can also be accessed through Monday April 30 on Arkansas Best's
 Internet web site at www.arkbest.com.
     As we have previously stated publicly, Arkansas Best's general policy is
 to not provide intermediate updates of positive or negative performance trends
 prior to the announcement of final earnings at the end of the quarter.
 
     Forward-Looking Statements
     The following is a "safe harbor" statement under the Private Securities
 Litigation Reform Act of 1995:  Statements contained in this press release
 that are not based on historical facts are "forward-looking statements."
 Terms such as "estimate," "expect," "predict," "plan," "anticipate,"
 "believe," "intend," "should," "would," "scheduled," and similar expressions
 and the negatives of such terms are intended to identify forward-looking
 statements.  Such statements are by their nature subject to uncertainties and
 risk, including, but not limited to, union relations; availability and cost of
 capital; shifts in market demand; weather conditions; the performance and
 needs of industries served by Arkansas Best's subsidiaries; actual future
 costs of operating expenses such as fuel and related taxes; self-insurance
 claims and employee wages and benefits; actual costs of continuing investments
 in technology; the timing and amount of capital expenditures; competitive
 initiatives and pricing pressures; general economic conditions; and other
 financial, operational and legal risks and uncertainties detailed from time to
 time in the Company's SEC public filings.
     The tables on the following pages show financial data on Arkansas Best
 Corporation and its subsidiary companies.
 
 
      ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
      CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (Unaudited)
 
                                                       Three Months Ended
                                                            March 31
                                                       2001           2000
                                                      ($ thousands, except
                                                        per share data)
     OPERATING REVENUES
      Transportation operations                      $395,955       $397,714
      Tire operations (C)                                 ---         40,771
      Service and other                                 4,621          4,530
                                                      400,576        443,015
 
     OPERATING EXPENSES AND COSTS
      Transportation operations                       376,005        370,938
      Tire operations (C)                                 ---         40,961
      Service and other                                 4,507          4,835
                                                      380,512        416,734
     OPERATING INCOME                                  20,064         26,281
 
     OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)
      Net gains on sales of property
       and non-revenue equipment                          ---          1,317
      Interest expense                                 (3,665)        (4,521)
      Other, net                                         (899)          (522)
                                                       (4,564)        (3,726)
 
     INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES                        15,500         22,555
 
     FEDERAL AND STATE INCOME TAXES                     6,421          9,383
 
     NET INCOME                                         9,079         13,172
      Preferred stock dividends                           999          1,074
 
     NET INCOME FOR COMMON STOCKHOLDERS                $8,080        $12,098
 
     NET INCOME PER COMMON SHARE
     Basic:
     NET INCOME (A)                                     $0.40          $0.61
 
     AVERAGE COMMON SHARES
      OUTSTANDING (BASIC)                          20,349,674     19,763,133
 
     Diluted:
     NET INCOME (B)                                     $0.37          $0.55
 
     AVERAGE COMMON SHARES
      OUTSTANDING (DILUTED)                        24,693,788     24,088,802
 
     CASH DIVIDENDS PAID PER COMMON SHARE                $---           $---
 
      (A)  Gives consideration to preferred stock dividends of $1.0 million and
          $1.1 million per quarter for the three months ended March 31, 2001
          and 2000, respectively.
      (B)  For the three months ended March 31, 2001 and 2000, conversion of
          preferred shares into common is assumed.
      (C)  Tire operations for the three months ended March 31, 2000, included
          the operations of Treadco, Inc. ("Treadco").  Treadco's operations
          became a part of Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, LLC on
          November 1, 2000.
 
 
      ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
      CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited)
 
                                                     March 31      December 31
                                                       2001           2000
                                                         ($ thousands)
 
     ASSETS
      Current assets                                 $210,381       $234,453
      Property, plant and equipment (net)             348,719        346,019
      Investment in Wingfoot                           59,341         59,341
      Other assets                                     54,875         51,893
      Goodwill (less amortization)                    104,405        105,418
                                                     $777,721       $797,124
 
     LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
      Current liabilities                            $245,749       $281,366
      Long-term debt, less current portion            151,810        152,997
      Other liabilities                                38,780         31,052
      Deferred income taxes                            39,343         39,519
      Stockholders' equity                            302,039        292,190
                                                     $777,721       $797,124
 
 
      CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (Unaudited)
 
                                                        Three Months Ended
                                                             March 31
                                                       2001           2000
                                                           ($ thousands)
     OPERATING ACTIVITIES
      Net cash provided by operating activities       $13,193        $11,992
 
     INVESTING ACTIVITIES
      Purchases of property, plant and equipment      (14,825)       (19,846)
      Proceeds from asset sales                           831          3,456
      Other                                              (866)          (547)
     NET CASH USED BY INVESTING ACTIVITIES            (14,860)       (16,937)
 
     FINANCING ACTIVITIES
      Borrowings under revolving credit facilities        ---         74,600
      Payments under revolving credit facilities          ---        (64,200)
      Payments on long-term debt                       (6,465)        (3,143)
      Dividends paid                                     (999)        (1,074)
      Net increase (decrease) in bank overdraft        (9,453)         3,346
      Retirement of bonds                                (153)        (4,781)
      Other, net                                        1,978            110
     NET CASH PROVIDED (USED) BY
      FINANCING ACTIVITIES                            (15,092)         4,858
 
     NET DECREASE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS        (16,759)           (87)
      Cash and cash equivalents at
       beginning of period                             36,742          4,319
     CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS AT END OF PERIOD       $19,983         $4,232
 
 
      ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
      REVENUES AND OPERATING RATIOS (Unaudited)
 
                                                        Three Months Ended
                                                             March 31
                                                       2001           2000
                                                           ($ thousands)
     REVENUES
      ABF Freight System, Inc. (A)                   $325,513       $331,836
      G.I. Trucking Company                            40,538         37,701
      Clipper                                          30,827         29,631
      Treadco, Inc. (B)                                   ---         41,264
 
     OPERATING RATIOS
      ABF Freight System, Inc. (A)                       93.6%          91.8%
      G.I. Trucking Company                              99.2%         100.0%
      Clipper                                           101.1%          99.9%
      Treadco, Inc. (B)                                   ---          100.0%
 
     OPERATING INCOME
      ABF Freight System, Inc. (A)                    $20,951        $27,241
      G.I. Trucking Company                               342              8
      Clipper                                            (350)            30
      Treadco, Inc. (B)                                   ---              3
 
      (A)  Includes U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican operations of ABF
           affiliates.
      (B)  Tire operations for the three months ended March 31, 2000, included
           the operations of Treadco, Inc. ("Treadco").  Treadco's operations
           became a part of Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, LLC on
           November 1, 2000.
 
 
      ABF FREIGHT SYSTEM, INC.
      COMBINED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
      FOR THE QUARTER ENDED March 31, 2001
 
                                          Three Months Ended March 31
                                      2001            2000         % Change
 
     Operating Revenue*             $325,513        $331,836         (1.9)%
     Operating Income*               $20,951         $27,241
     Operating Ratio                    93.6%           91.8%
 
 
     Revenue*          LTL          $295,420        $302,937         (2.5)%
                       TL             30,093          28,899          4.1%
                       Total         325,513         331,836         (1.9)%
 
     Tonnage           LTL           689,761         749,917         (8.0)%
      (tons)           TL            195,242         181,857          7.4%
                       Total         885,003         931,774         (5.0)%
 
     Shipments         LTL         1,353,875       1,484,187         (8.8)%
                       TL             24,025          22,934          4.8%
                       Total       1,377,900       1,507,121         (8.6)%
 
     Revenue/CWT       LTL            $21.41          $20.20          6.0%
                       TL              $7.71           $7.95         (3.0)%
                       Total          $18.39          $17.81          3.3%
 
     Revenue/Shipment  Total         $236.24         $220.18          7.3%
 
     Cost/Shipment     Total         $221.03         $202.10          9.4%
 
      *Note:  Values rounded to thousands ($000)
 
      There were 64 workdays in the first quarter of 2001 and 65 workdays in
      the first quarter of 2000.
      Includes U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican operations of ABF affiliates.
 
      Contact: Mr. David E. Loeffler, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
               and Treasurer
               Telephone: (501) 785-6157
 
               Mr. David Humphrey, Director of Investor Relations
               Telephone: (501) 785-6200
 
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 SOURCE  Arkansas Best Corporation