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Ryder beats in 4Q, issues strong forecast

MIAMI (AP) -- Ryder Systems Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit increased nearly 12 percent to beat Wall Street's expectations on stronger revenue. The truck leasing company also issued a strong forecast Thursday and its shares jumped sharply in trading on the news.

The Miami-based company earned $53.8 million, or $1.05 per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. After adjusting for losses tied to Superstorm Sandy this year and restructuring costs last year, it earned $1.17 versus 97 cents per share from continuing operations. Ryder's total revenue increased 3 percent to $1.58 billion from $1.54 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting the company to earn $1.11 per share on revenue of $1.54 billion.

Ryder Executive Chairman Greg Swienton said that the company's earnings and return on capital spread have returned to pre-recession levels. A number of transportation companies have recently reported improvement to their bottom line as manufacturing and demand from businesses for shipping has slowly recovered.

The company announced in December that Swienton was retiring as CEO and moving into the role of executive chairman. Robert Sanchez, who was the company's president and chief operating officer, took over as CEO at the beginning of January. Swienton will officially retire at the company's annual shareholder meeting in May and Sanchez will become chairman and chief executive at that time. Swienton has agreed to serve in an advisory role for a period following his retirement.

Ryder also said Thursday that it expects to earn 75 to 80 cents per share for its first quarter, which excludes pension costs of 6 cents per share. Analysts had forecast earnings of 73 cents per share for the period.

The company said it expects to earn $4.70 to $4.85 per share for 2013 from continuing operations, which excludes pension costs of 24 cents per share. It expects revenue of roughly $6.50 billion for the year. Analysts had forecast earnings of $4.59 per share on revenue of $6.38 billion.

Shares jumped $1.75, or 3.2 percent, to $56.01 in midday trading, after rising 5.7 percent earlier in the day. The stock has traded between $32.76 and $57.63 in the past 52 weeks.