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February 2, 2016 12:30 PM, EST
Ryder, USA Truck Earnings Improve in Fourth Quarter
Ryder and TT file photo

Two large freight industry companies have reported improved fourth-quarter results.

Ryder System Inc.'s fourth-quarter net income, excluding one-time costs, rose 5% to $88.8 million, or $1.66 per share, reflecting modestly higher profits in fleet, dedicated and logistics units. USA Truck Inc.'s net income rose 11% to $3.94 million, or 39 cents, helped by lower interest and other costs in a fourth quarter when revenue slipped 21% to $118 million.

Revenue rose to $1.44 billion from $1.35 billion, excluding fuel costs, and 1% to $1.67 billion including them.

Leasing and rental revenue rose 7% to $999.4 million, excluding fuel costs that are passed through to customers, while dedicated revenue climbed 11% to $187.6 million, and logistics revenue was 4% higher at $322.4 million.

Included in the results were statistics that showed the weakening used-truck market, particularly for tractors whose sale prices were 9% below the third quarter of last year and 5% less than the fourth quarter of 2014.

Ryder, of Miami, estimated earnings this year at $6.10 to $6.30, compared with $6.13 in 2015, citing expectations of increased revenue offset by a weaker business environment.

On a segment basis, the logistics unit known as Supply Chain Solutions boosted pre-tax profit by 5%. The fleet management unit including lease and rental, and the dedicated trucking business both raised pre-tax income by 1%.

The company’s logistics unit ranks No. 13 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada.

USA Truck, which ranks No. 50, reported a decline in trucking revenue to $80.3 million, including fuel surcharge from $106.3 million, but profit before interest and taxes in that unit improved to $4.5 million from $3.2 million. Trucking metrics such as miles run and the tractor fleet size both declined nearly 20%. Logistics revenue at USA Truck, of Van Buren, Arkansas, slipped to $37.7 million from $43.8 million, producing profit before interest and taxes of $2.7 million, down from $4.4 million.

USA Truck Vice Chairman Tom Glaser said the results “reflect the progress we have made improving profitability in our trucking operations.”