USA Truck Q1 Loss Jumps To $4.9 Million

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 74 views 

Van Buren-based USA Truck posted a $4.9 million first quarter net loss on revenue of $123.6 million, nearly doubling its red ink from one year ago.

The Van Buren-based trucking firm recorded a $2.7 million loss in the first quarter of 2011 behind revenue of $124 million.

Calling the results “mixed,” CEO Cliff Beckham, said a primary reason for the loss centered on low productivity in its trucking segment due to idle trucks.

“Also disappointing was an increase in our unmanned tractor count, which rose sharply in February and March. Prior to that, we had reduced unmanned tractors from a peak of 230 to approximately 100 in January. A combination of network changes, less than optimal velocity, and seasonal job alternatives caused an increase in unmanned tractors back to 200 during March,” Beckham said.

He added, “All-in-all, the pace of improvement in our one-way domestic truckload business is behind our expectations. We are not yet achieving optimal operating efficiencies from our network which we must attain in order to most effectively improve yield and profitability.”

Beckham, who outlined several areas for operational improvement, also forecast more turbulence in USA Truck’s near-term future quarters.

“We recognize that none of these key factors is a quick fix, and progress may be uneven as we shift assets, refine the network, and implement internal operations initiatives.  As we look ahead in 2012, we have pushed out our expectations for improvement over 2011 into the second half of the year,” he said.

Shares of USA Truck (NASDAQ: USAK) closed trading Wednesday at $6.84 per share. The company’s stock has traded between a low of $6.75 and a high of $12.74 during the past 52 weeks.