American Tire Distributors Inc., formerly Heafner Tire Group, reported third-quarter net income of $3.3 million despite a 4.5-percent decrease in net sales.
The Huntersville-based company had experienced a $4.8 million net loss for the same period a year earlier.
Officials attributed the earnings improvement primarily to a 20.7-percent reduction in operating expenses.
Richard P. ``Dick'' Johnson, president and CEO, said the company improved its market share slightly in view of the 7-percent overall decline in U.S. tire shipments during the same period.
``Thanks to our careful expenses controls, we were able to almost double the $1.9 million in net income we had in the second quarter. Even in these tough times, we've been able to show improvement as the year goes on,'' Mr. Johnson said.
Third-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) nearly quadrupled to $11.8 million from $3.1 million in the same quarter of 2001.
Sales for the quarter, which ended Sept. 28, declined to $280.1 million from $293.2 million in the year-earlier period. Operating expenses decreased to 14.9 percent of sales, compared with 18 percent in the third quarter of 2001.
For the nine months, net sales decreased 6.2 percent to $809.2 million, from $862.8 million in the year-earlier period.
Excluding discontinued operations and extraordinary items, the company re-ported earnings of $5 million, compared with a $12.8 million loss in 2001.
Nine-month operating expenses decreased to 15.5 percent of sales, compared with 18.4 percent in 2001. EBITDA increased 75.4 percent to $29.3 million.