J.B. Hunt Posts Growth for Fourth Quarter, All of 2016
Intermodal and truckload carrier J.B. Hunt Transport Services posted gains in net income and revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 and for the year, the Lowell, Arkansas-based company said Jan. 19.
While all four of Hunt’s major divisions were profitable in the quarter and the year, performance among them varied widely, with Dedicated Contract Services generating the highest rate of growth, year-over-year, in both periods. The company ranks No. 4 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.
For the most recent quarter, Hunt earned $117.6 million, or $1.05 a share, on revenue of $1.72 billion. The consensus estimate collected by Bloomberg News was $1.01. In the final quarter of 2015, the company had net income of $116.7 million, or $1.01, on revenue of $1.62 billion.
For the company as a whole, freight revenue and total revenue increased for the quarter and the year. However, fuel surcharge revenue increased for the quarter but declined on an annual basis.
Among the significant developments the company listed for the quarter were 5% load growth at the intermodal unit, 38% load growth at the brokerage division and rate-per-mile decreases at the truckload segment.
Intermodal is Hunt’s largest division as measured by revenue and operating income. The quarterly number of transcontinental loads grew by 9%, whereas Eastern loads were flat, year-over-year, the company said.
Despite the 3% revenue growth at intermodal, operating income declined by the same rate because of a 2% drop in revenue per load and an increase in costs for purchased rail transportation.
Dedicated is the second-largest division and turned an 8% increase in quarterly revenue into a 37% surge in operating income. The unit benefited from customer growth and rate increases, the company said.
Productivity, measured by weekly revenue per truck, increased by 5% over the 2015 quarter. Most of the new business, Hunt said, came from companies converting their in-house private fleets to dedicated service with Hunt.
One-time adjustments for the quarter included a $9.5 million tax benefit from a change in the company’s paid time-off policy, and $5 million worth of charges for charitable contributions, tax audit settlements and higher reserves for uncollectible accounts.
For the year, Hunt earned $432.1 million, or $3.81 a share, on revenue of $6.56 billion. The Bloomberg consensus was $3.79. In 2015, the company had net income of $427.2 million, or $3.66, on revenue of $6.19 billion.