Finding drivers continues to be “challenging” for Van Buren-based USA Truck, but it didn’t stop the company from posting 2018 net income of $12.204 million, better than what the market expected and ahead of the $7.497 million in 2017.
The trucking and logistics company also reported Monday (Feb. 4) that total 2018 revenue was $534.06 million, up almost 20% compared to $446.533 million in 2017, but below the $541.23 consensus estimate among analysts following the company. The company noted an ability to charge higher rates – a 12.1% increase in base revenue per loaded mile in the fourth quarter – and a more than 15% increase in available rigs in the fourth quarter.
“We remain focused on seating trucks, improving base revenue per available tractor per week and increasing volume in our USAT Logistics segment. We believe increased performance in these areas will help us deliver on our goals of continued improvement in our consolidated results and maximizing shareholder value,” USA Truck President and CEO James Reed noted in the earnings report.
Full-year net income per share of $1.49 topped the consensus estimate of 1.44. The company reported earnings after the market closed. USA Truck shares (NASDAQ: USAK) closed Monday at $18.42, up 35 cents. During the past 52 weeks the share price has ranged between $14.41 and $29.15.
Unadjusted fourth quarter net income was $5.325 million, below the $14.822 million in the same period of 2017. Adjustments resulting primarily from changes in the federal tax law adjusted 2018 fourth quarter net income up to $5.654 million and dropped 2017 fourth quarter net income to $2.813 million.
The trucking segment posted full-year operating revenue of $347.729 million, above the $302.052 million in 2017. Operating income in the segment was $11.71 million compared to a 2017 loss of $9.667 million.
Fourth quarter operating revenue in the trucking segment was $97.898 million, better than the $83.777 million in the same period of 2017. Operating income in the segment was $7.416 million in the quarter, more than double the $3.498 million in the same quarter of 2017.
Most key metrics in the trucking segment were improved year-over-year. The base revenue per loaded mile for the year was $2.191, compared to $1.865 in 2017. The base revenue per available tractor was $3,394, compared to $3,045 in 2017. The growing nationwide shortage of drivers did have an impact on the company’s ability in the fourth quarter to run tractors.
“Average available unseated tractor percentage for fourth quarter 2018 was 6.3% compared to 2.6% for the fourth quarter of 2017, as the driver markets continue to be challenging,” the company noted in the earnings report.
The USAT Logistics segment posted full-year operating revenue of $186.331 million, above the $144.481 million in 2017. Operating income in the segment was $9.509 million compared to $7.599 million in 2017.
Fourth quarter operating revenue in the segment was $43.185 million, above the $39.493 million in the same period of 2017. Operating income in the segment was $1.217 million in the quarter, below the $1.995 million in the same quarter of 2017.