USA Truck posts income loss in the third quarter, revenue down 1.25%

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 252 views 

Van Buren-based USA Truck posted a loss of $1.373 million in the third quarter thanks to what the company said is a “challenging freight environment” with capacity in the national trucking industry outpacing demand. Revenue during the quarter was down 1.25%.

Earnings per share in the quarter was a loss of 16 cents, a wide swing from the 40 cent earnings per share in the 2018 third quarter, and well below the consensus estimate of 3 cents per share. The company posted the earnings Thursday (Oct. 31) after the markets closed.

The quarterly loss of $1.373 million was well off the $3.3 million earned in the same quarter of 2018. Total revenue during the quarter was $130.924 million, down 1.25% from the $132.583 million in the same quarter of 2013. The revenue was better than the consensus estimate of $129.6 million.

“The third quarter marked a continuation of the challenging freight environment the industry has experienced in 2019. A seasonally soft market, coupled with increased trucking capacity in the market has created an environment where shippers are motivated to allocate a larger portion of their freight to the spot market and low priced carrier options,” USA Truck President and CEO James Reed said in the earnings report. “This environment continues to adversely impact results in both our Trucking and USAT Logistics segments.”

The company outlined several actions “aimed at stabilizing our operational and financial performance for the remainder of 2019 and to set the stage for further improvements in 2020.” The plan includes cutting fixed costs by up to 10% in all departments, add more sales people in the company’s USAT Logistics division, and expand terminal operations to better connect with the company’s network.

“The goal of this terminal expansion is to drive further reductions in outside repair costs throughout our network, in addition to offering more accessible amenities to our drivers. We recently entered into a lease agreement to open a terminal in Carlisle, PA that will provide tractor and trailer repairs, as well as provide driver amenities. We have also opened maintenance facilities in South Holland, IL and Atlanta, GA, and are making improvements to driver amenities in several other terminals across the network,” the company noted.

Total revenue during the first nine months was $398.52 million, better than the 392.977 million in the same period of 2018. Net income in the first nine months was $129,000, well below the $6.879 million during the same period in 2018.

Revenue in the company’s trucking segment during the third quarter was $93.587 million, up from the $86.801 million in the same quarter of 2018. Operating income for the segment during the quarter was a loss of $278,000, below the $2.605 million during the 2018 quarter.

Total trucking segment revenue during the first nine months of 2019 is $284.965 million, below the $251.332 million in the same period of 2018. Operating income for the first nine months of in the trucking segment is $2.168 million, down from the $4.294 million in the same period of 2018.

The company reported that base revenue per available tractor per week decreased $273 per week, or 8%, compared to the third quarter of 2018. Base revenue per loaded mile decreased 14 cents, or 6.3% year over year. The average seated tractor count for the third quarter of 2019 was 1,862, up 21.4% increase compared to the third quarter 2018 average of 1,534.

Revenue at USAT Logistics during the third quarter was $37.57 million, down from the $47.054 million in the same quarter of 2018. Operating income for the segment during the quarter was $244,000, below the $3.198 million during the 2018 quarter.

Total revenue at USAT Logistics during the first nine months of 2019 is $114.557 million, below the $143.146 million in the same period of 2018. Operating income for the first nine months of in the segment is $3.702 million, down from the $8.212 million in the same period of 2018.

USA Truck shares (NASDAQ: USAK) closed Thursday at $7.93, down 30 cents. During the past 52 weeks the share price has ranged between $22.64 and $7.31.

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