Despite driver shortage, USA Truck posts third quarter revenue gain of 16%

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 200 views 

The good financial news continues for Van Buren-based USA Truck, which posted third quarter net income of $3.3 million, well ahead of the $409,000 in the same quarter of 2017. It was the fifth straight quarter of year-over-year net income gains.

Total revenue during the quarter was $132.583 million, up 16% compared with the same quarter in 2017. Earnings per share for the quarter was 40 cents, better than the consensus estimate of 38 cents.

The third quarter report, released Thursday (Oct. 25) after the markets closed, show that USA Truck spent $325 million related to the recent acquisition of Carnesville, Ga-based Davis Transfer Co., a regional carrier with $50 million in annual revenue and more than 250 tractors. Terms of the deal were initially not disclosed. Without the acquisition costs, quarterly net income would have totaled $3.556 million, or 43 cents per share.

“This quarter represents our fifth consecutive quarter of consolidated profitability, and demonstrates progress on our turnaround initiative. Our Trucking segment’s most critical metric, base revenue per available tractor per week, improved year-over-year by $408, or 13.6%,” USA Truck President and CEO James Reed noted in the earnings report.

Reed said the gains came amid “periods of high unseated truck count” created in large part by driver shortages and equipment delivery problems.

“In response to this challenging driver market, we increased driver pay in targeted regions and reengineered our driver pay packages to ensure USA Truck remains an employer of choice for professional drivers. We continue to focus on seating tractors and driving continued year-over-year improvement in base revenue per available tractor per week, through strategic network design and operational efficiencies,” Reed said.

For the first nine months of 2018, USA Truck has posted revenue of $392.977 million, better than the $323.263 million during the same period of 2017. Net income for the first nine months reached $6.879 million, a wide swing from a loss of $7.325 million during the same period of 2017.

The company’s trucking segment posted operating revenue of $249.831 million during the first nine months of the year, up 14.45% compared with the same period in 2017. Operating income in the segment during the first nine months is $4.294 million, a big improvement over the $13.165 million loss in the same period of 2017.

USAT Logistics posted operating revenue of $143.146 million in the first nine months, well ahead of the $104.988 million in the same period of 2017. Operating income in the first nine months tallied $8.212 million, up 46.5% compared with the same period in 2017.

Following are other measures in the earnings report.
• Base revenue per loaded mile increased 20.5% to $2.237 in the third quarter compared with $1.856 in third quarter of 2017.

• Loaded miles per available tractor per week decreased 94 miles per tractor, or 5.8%, when compared to the third quarter of 2017.

• Average unseated tractor percentage for third quarter 2018 was 6.5% compared to 3.8% for the third quarter of 2017.

• The average seated tractor count for the third quarter of 2018 was 1,534, which represented a 5.8% decrease compared to our third quarter 2017 average of 1,628.

• Revenue per load in USAT Logistics increased 18.0%, or $251 per load, year-over-year, and decreased 0.7%, or $11 per load, over second quarter of 2018.

Company shares (NASDAQ: USAK) closed Thursday at $18.01, up 66 cents. During the past 52 weeks, the share price has ranged between $29.15 and $12.14.

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