COMPETITION WATCH: Mullen hits new highs in trucking segment

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ALDERSYDE, Alta. — Mullen Transportation operated at near capacity during the first quarter of 2005, reporting another quarter of record revenues and earnings.

Consolidated revenue for the three month period ending Mar. 31 was $176.2 million compared to $159.5 million a year ago. The company attributes the growth to the continued strength of the oil and gas industry while the trucking segment capitalized on strong demand for trucking services.

Mullen’s operating income was also up to the tune of 9.5 per cent totaling $44 million. Net income increased 14 per cent to $26 million compared to the same period last year.

“We are very pleased with our achievements in the first quarter, particularly considering that drilling activity in western Canada actually declined in the quarter as compared to the previous year. The decline to 5,916 wells drilled from 6,267, while not significant, does show the impact weather can have on our business," announced Stephen Lockwood, president and Co-CEO. "This year’s weather forced producers to delay many drilling programs in March. Nevertheless, our businesses leveraged to drilling activity, most notably rig moving services, had a very strong quarter primarily due to strong pricing as well as a few very significant contracts to move the larger drilling rigs. Results from the remaining business units in the Oilfield Services segment were somewhat mixed. At Cora Lynn Drilling, for example, core drilling programs in the oil sands were down from last year resulting in a revenue decline of $6.9 million. E-Can Oilfield Services and Heavy Crude Hauling businesses generated flat revenue but saw their margins decline due to rising costs."

Regarding the trucking segment, Lockwood said: "The news in our Trucking segment is very good on all fronts. Each operating business generated increased revenue and operating income compared to the first quarter of 2004 and the segment as a whole experienced a 25.3 per cent increase in revenue to $48.6 million and a 60 per cent increase in operating income to $8.0 million over the same period last year. Demand for trucking services was strong and all of our operating businesses were well positioned and prepared to capitalize on these opportunities. Demand was particularly strong in western Canada where the economy continued to expand at reasonable levels.”

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