Horizon Lines, Inc. (NYSE:HRZ) announced that it reduced funded debt by $38.1m during the fourth quarter and completed its fiscal year with $28m less in funded debt than a year ago.
The company achieved stronger-than-projected free cash flow during the fourth quarter ended December 20, 2009. Cash was deployed to voluntarily pay down $35.0 million on a revolving credit facility and $1.5m on a crane loan, as well as for a $1.6m scheduled term-loan amortization payment. The fourth-quarter voluntary payments followed voluntary payments of $10m in the third quarter and $5m in the second quarter. At December 20, 2009, funded debt totaled $542.5m, compared with $570.5 a year earlier. As is typical for Horizon Lines, it borrowed against its revolver in the first quarter of 2010 to fund vessel lease payments and for seasonal working capital needs. Typically, the company uses cash flow generated in the second half of the year to repay the borrowings and further reduce debt.
"In the face of a still challenging fourth-quarter business environment, we were able to produce very strong cash flow and voluntarily pay down debt," said Chuck Raymond, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "While our revenue continued to be negatively impacted by lower volumes relative to last year, the rate of the volume decline lessened, continuing the improvement that we first experienced in the third quarter. EBITDA was in line with our internal expectations. We believe we are well positioned both financially and operationally for 2010, and view the year with cautious optimism."
Horizon Lines will report fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on January 29, 2010, at which time management will conduct a conference call with investors to more fully discuss its financial and operating results and discuss the outlook for 2010.