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Forward Air takes financial hit from cyberattack

Earnings per share some 20 cents lower than forecast

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Forward Air has put specific numbers on the financial blow it took in the fourth quarter from the cyberbattack that hit its operations in mid-December. 

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD) said its net income per diluted share from continuing operations will be 53 cents to 55 cents in the fourth quarter. Its earlier estimate on EPS for the quarter was 71 cents to 75 cents. 

Net income in the quarter last year was 85 cents per share.

Forward Air in the SEC filing Wednesday took apart the 19 cents expected hit on EPS as 11 cents for its expedited freight division, 4 cents for its intermodal segment and 4 cents for other operations. It also suffered a drop of 6 cents per share from a decrease in its “earn-out liability” from the acquisition of FSA Logistix. 

All of these hits mean that Forward Air won’t be beating its projections, which it was on track to do. “Adjusting for these impacts, the company expects it would have exceeded the high end of its net income per diluted share guidance range,” the company said in its filing.

Forward Air is releasing its earnings Feb. 12.

Although most of Forward Air’s activities were back online about a week after the Dec. 15 cyberattack, there were a few lingering problems. But in its statement, the company said, “Recovery efforts are completed and the company’s operations are fully functional.”

Forward Air’s stock price has not been noticeably weaker than any of its peers and by some measurements has performed better. According to Barchart, in the last month, Forward Air stock is down 2.9%. Expeditors International (NASDAQ: EXPD) is down 4.15% in the last month. Old Dominion (NASDAQ: ODFL), while not a perfect comparison, is up 4.77%.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.