USA Truck Narrows 4Q Loss

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USA Truck Inc. said Thursday that “improved operating fundamentals” helped narrow its fourth-quarter loss from the previous year’s by 28.6 percent.

Reporting just as the markets opened, the Van Buren-based truckload carrier posted a net loss of $3.11 million, or 30 cents per share for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, compared to a net loss of $4.35 million, or 42 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The results were better than the 38 cents-per-share loss forecast by a Wall Street analyst surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue excluding fuel surcharges rose 6.77 percent to $107.05 million.

“Improvement was most evident in our trucking segment, where we produced year-over-year revenue growth for the first time since the second quarter of 2011,” president and CEO Cliff Beckham said in a news release.

But the biggest accomplishment of the quarter, he said, was cutting the unmanned tractor count by more than 50 percent from the third quarter. This was largely due to lower driver turnover, which he attributed to an enhanced companywide focus on driver retention, better freight and more consistent miles.

For the year, USA Truck had a net loss of $17.54 million, or $1.70 per share, compared to a loss of $10.78 million, or $1.05 per share, in 2011.

Revenue for the year, again excluding fuel surcharges, dipped 0.56 percent to $408.72 million.

USA Truck’s shares were down 80 cents, or 14.29 percent, at mid-day Thursday, trading at $4.77 on the Nasdaq. Shares have traded between $2.65 and $9.24 in the past year.