Smithway reports increase in 2Q earnings

Smithway Motor Xpress Corp. announced that second-quarter net earnings improved 15% to $1.6 million, compared to $1.4 million for the same quarter in 2005. For the first six months of 2006, net earnings improved 40% to $2.6 million, compared to $1.9 million in the 2005 period.

For the second quarter of 2006, operating revenue increased approximately 10% to $60.9 million from $55.4 million for the corresponding quarter in 2005. Operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharge revenue of $10.2 million, increased approximately 4% to $50.7 million from $48.7 million, excluding fuel-surcharge revenue of $6.6 million, for the corresponding quarter in 2005.

Said G. Larry Owens, President and Chief Executive Officer, "Our performance improved once again during the second quarter of 2006 and our earnings per share for the trailing four quarters
improved to $0.99. Our operating ratio, excluding fuel surcharge revenue, for the quarter was 93.5% compared to 94.4% during the second quarter of 2005, a 90 basis point improvement.

"We were able to achieve these improved results despite escalating fuel prices and increased driver pay which negatively impacted our results for the quarter. During the quarter, average fuel prices increased 28% to $2.75 per gallon compared to $2.15 per gallon in the second quarter of 2005. Even though fuel-surcharge revenue mitigated 77% of this price increase, fuel prices reduced our second-quarter net earnings by approximately $0.07 per share and negatively impacted our operating ratio by approximately 116 basis points. We raised driver wages on April 1, 2006. By doing so, we continue to attract and retain drivers, minimizing the number of unseated tractors.

"We are proud of our second-quarter results, which were achieved during a time of increasing costs. We continually work to contain costs and improve our operations so that we can positively impact future earnings."

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