General and administrative expense ("G&A") increased by 2% to $11.5 million from $11.3 million in the 2009 third quarter. Restoration in 2010 of the Company's performance-based compensation program was partially offset by cost efficiencies realized from the Company's rollout of its technology initiatives and associated process improvements.
As a result, operating income increased by 11% to $9.3 million, as compared with $8.4 million in the year ago quarter. Lower interest rates and lower debt balances resulted in a $0.3 million decrease in year-over-year interest expense for the third quarter.
Net income attributable to the Company for the 2010 third quarter was $4.8 million, or $0.30 per share, as compared with $4.2 million, or $0.27 per share, for the same period of 2009, an increase of 11%.
The Company generated $12.7 million of free cash flow during the third quarter of 2010, as compared with $6.4 million generated in the third quarter of last year. The year-over-year increase was attributable primarily to a reduction in the Company's investment in working capital. Free cash flow was $12.8 million for the first nine months of 2010 and $19.0 million over the last twelve months. The Company continues to expect free cash flow to be in a range of $20 - $25 million for the full year.Recent Developments In a competitive bidding process, the City of Tampa selected the Company's SP Plus ® Municipal Services team to serve as Project Manager in connection with the City's conversion of approximately 1,000 on-street single-space parking meters to multi-space parking meters. In addition, SP Plus ® Municipal Services will provide day-to-day maintenance of the new units. Similarly, the City of Naperville, Illinois awarded SP Plus ® Municipal Services a contract to furnish, install, maintain and provide collection services for multi-space pay stations and a Smart Card vending machine at two commuter rail stations. At the Shreveport Regional Airport, the Company was asked to take over management of the parking operations from the incumbent operator with just 96 hours notice over a holiday weekend. Despite the short notice, the transition was completed smoothly. Since the Company's assumption of its management duties, the Airport has reported a revenue increase of more than 15%.