Daseke Reports Improved Q4 Earnings; Optimism Abounds for 2022
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Flatbed specialist Daseke Inc. on Jan. 25 reported fourth-quarter revenue and net income that exceeded Wall Street analysts’ expectations.
The Addison, Texas-based carrier also improved its full-year financials when measured against 2020.
Q4 revenue reached $394.3 million, up 19.2% compared with $335.6 million a year ago. The revenue figure also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.24%. Full-year 2021 revenue increased 7% to $1.55 billion versus $1.44 billion in 2020.
Earnings in 2021 improved to $7.1 million, or 9 cents per share, from $6.1 million, 8 cents, at the end of 2020. Zacks’ estimation was 7 cents a share for the quarter.
For all of 2021, Daseke’s profit surged to a record $56 million, 79 cents, from $4.1 million, minus 1 cent, in 2020.
“We are pleased to report seasonally strong results for the fourth quarter as a capstone to a record-breaking year, marked by decisive execution in the backdrop of a strong freight environment,” CEO Jonathan Shepko said in a statement. “Our unique operating model, coupled with our unrivaled scale and differentiated capabilities, in support of the industrial end markets we service, have enabled our valued customers to more successfully navigate the global supply chain challenges amidst continued tightness within the transportation market.”
Operating ratio for the quarter and year also improved. In Q4, it was 92.4 compared with 92.8 a year ago. For the year, it was 92 compared with 94 in 2020.
Operating ratio, or expenses as a percentage of revenue, is used to measure efficiency. The lower the ratio, the higher the company’s ability to generate profit.
On a conference call with analysts and reporters, company officials said confidently that the multiyear turnaround plan is showing strong signs of working. Daseke’s overall fleet size in 2021 declined by 15% after the restructuring initiatives were implemented in 2019.
Operating ratio also improved as a result of a $10 million increase on equipment sales gains in 2021. This is largely attributable to the price of used trucks soaring by as much as 40% and new trucks having become harder to receive because of supply chain delays and microchip shortages.
Company leadership is convinced that with freight rates expected to remain high, and with more efficient operations, Daseke will continue to generate more revenue and become more profitable.
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“I think our end markets that we support are a little bit more vibrant right now than maybe some of the other retail-oriented spaces. There’s some pent-up demand there, and there’s likely to be a backlog for the foreseeable future,” Chief Financial Officer Jason Bates said. “I don’t want to sit here and pound our chest, but we’re not scared about how it’s shaping up so far here in the first quarter.”
Daseke’s specialized freight segment, which moves large, heavy, project-type goods, reported a 12% year-over-year revenue increase even as the average tractor count declined 6%. Freight revenue per mile was 13% higher in the quarter at $3.34.
Daseke also is looking at acquiring additional companies in 2022, flatbed carriers in particular.
“I think the team would be pretty disappointed if we didn’t do at least a few acquisitions this year,” Shepko said.
Daseke ranks No. 26 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.