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Henry H. Gerkens - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President, Member of Safety & Risk Committee and Member of Strategic Planning Committee

Landstar System, Inc. (LSTR) Mid-Quarter Conference Call December 6, 2012 2:00 PM ET

Operator

Good afternoon, and welcome to Landstar System Inc.'s Fourth Mid-Quarter 2012 Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.

Joining us today from Landstar is Henry Gerkens, Chairman, President and CEO. Now I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Henry Gerkens. Sir, you may begin.

Henry H. Gerkens

Thanks, Terry. And good afternoon and welcome to the Landstar 2012 fourth quarter mid-quarter update conference call and the final earnings conference call in 2012. As a reminder, let me review how our mid-quarter update call works. There is no question-and-answer period during this call. The purpose of the call is to provide a very brief update on how management sees the current quarter shaping up as it relates to business levels and earnings projections. The call will last approximately 5 minutes.

Before we start, let me read the following statement. The following is a Safe Harbor statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements made during this conference call that are not based on historical facts are forward-looking statements.

During this conference call, I may make certain statements containing forward-looking statements, such as statements which relate to Landstar's business objectives, plans, strategies and expectations. Such statements are, by nature, subject to uncertainties and risks, including, but not limited to, the operational, financial and legal risks detailed in Landstar's Form 10-K for the 2011 fiscal year described in the section Risk Factors and other SEC filings from time to time. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results or events to differ materially from historical results or those anticipated.

Investors should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, and Landstar undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.

As I said in the 2012 third quarter conference call, it is important to keep 3 points in mind when looking at the 2012 fourth quarter when compared to the 2011 fourth quarter: one, the 2011 fourth quarter included an extra week, which I estimate, added approximately $25 million to $30 million in additional revenue and approximately $0.06 to diluted earnings per share; the 2011 fourth quarter also included a $0.03 per diluted share increase from a favorable tax benefit; and three, the fourth quarter of any year has historically been the most difficult quarter to forecast.

Also on that call, I stated that demand in the first several weeks of the 2012 fourth quarter had been sluggish and that the total revenue, however, was up from the same period the prior year. Revenue for the October 2012 fiscal period increased 3% over the 2011 fiscal October period as truck transportation revenue increased 4% and was offset primarily by a decline in revenue generated through air cargo providers.

The October 2012 increase in truck transportation revenue versus the prior year October was split 50-50 between increased load volume and increased revenue per load or 2% due to increased load volume and 2% due to increased revenue per load.

Daily comparable truck transportation revenue trends in November 2012 over November 2011 have improved over what was experienced in the October 2012 over October 2011 period x the Thanksgiving holiday period, which is in the fiscal November period this year versus the fiscal December period in 2011.

Based upon the operating trends in October and November and assuming that those trends continue for the balance of the 2012 fourth quarter, I remain comfortable with my earnings per diluted share estimates for the 2012 fiscal fourth quarter of $0.63 to $0.68 per diluted share, as originally cited on the third quarter earnings conference call.

Finally, as indicated in this morning's press release, this past Tuesday, the Landstar Board of Directors appointed 2 new directors and declared an additional dividend of $0.50 per share payable on December 27, 2012, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on December 17, 2012.

The Landstar board appointed Dr. Homaira Akbari and Larry Thoele to its Board of Directors effective January 1, 2013. Dr. Akbari most recently served as the CEO of Skybitz, Inc., a leading provider of remote tracking and security solutions, and has an extensive technology-based background. Larry Thoele was a partner in the international accounting firm, KPMG LLP until his retirement in 2009. Both newly appointed Board members should provide Landstar with valuable expertise as Landstar moves into the future.

With the anticipated increase in the federal tax rate on dividends expected as of January 1, 2013, the Landstar Board approved the acceleration of what amounts to 2 years' worth of quarterly dividend payments.

Landstar has a long history of purchasing its own stock, so it should come as no surprise that Landstar intends to continue to use its excess available free cash flow to purchase its common stock in the future.

I want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season, and I look forward to talking to everyone again on January 31, 2013, on our year-end earnings conference call. Thanks again.

Operator

Thank you for joining the conference call today. Have a good afternoon. Please disconnect your lines at this time.

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