J.B. Hunt’s Net Income Rises but Misses Earnings Expectations

J.B. Hunt earnings
A J.B. Hunt truck on Interstate 65 in Shepherdsville, Ky. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. saw net income rise for the period ended Sept. 30, but the Lowell, Ark.-based carrier missed Wall Street earnings expectations.

Net income rose to $151.2 million, or $1.40 per diluted share compared with $131.1 million, or $1.19 in the same period the previous year. The forecast of $1.45 per share was based on a consensus of more than 20 analysts.

The company said its earnings were impacted in the third quarter by an after-tax charge of $31.1 million, or 28 cents a share related to an arbitration case, legal charges and a customer bankruptcy.

Revenue climbed in the third quarter to $2.36 billion from $2.21 billion in the year-ago period, an increase of 6.8%. The carrier beat revenue expectations of $2.35 billion. Through three quarters, revenue has risen by nearly 6.6%, to $6.71 billion, from $6.3 billion.



On a conference call with reporters and analysts, CEO John Roberts said J.B. Hunt’s purchase of Secaucus. N.J.-based Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery and Houston-based carrier Special Logistics Dedicated has exceeded expectations.

“Overall, through acquisition and organic growth, we have expanded the final-mile network by over 40% so far year to date,” Roberts said. “And we will be breaking out this channel in 2020.”

Chief Information Officer David Mee said through the first nine months of 2019 the company has spent more than $100 million in technology and that the effort to expand its technology platform appears to be working.

Mee said carriers with more than 600,000 trucks have signed up for the company’s J.B. Hunt 360 platform, its transportation management system in which shippers can quote, book and ship freight online and carriers can find loads. Revenue for the platform surged to $205 million in the third quarter compared with $151 million in the 2018 period.

J.B. Hunt’s intermodal segment saw revenue increase 1.6% to $1.24 billion compared with third-quarter 2018’s $1.22 billion.


Intermodal railroad cars with J.B. Hunt and EMP Domestic containers. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

Operating income rose 10.5% to $132.92 million from $120.32 million. Intermodal income continues to be a key driver, totaling 63% of the carrier’s overall income.

The company’s Dedicated Contract Services division income skyrocketed 123.7% to $78.28 million from $34.99 million. The segment accounted for 37% of the carrier’s overall income. Revenue rose 28.2% to $696.09 million from $542.88 million.

J.B. Hunt’s Integrated Capacity Solutions division, which handles brokerage, had an operating loss of $5.64 million compared with an income of $10.22 million in the same quarter in 2018. Revenue declined 2.6% to $336.72 million from $345.83 million.

The company’s truck division saw income drop 28.4%, to $6.6 million from $9.22 million. Revenue decreased 10.9% to $94.18 million from $105.69 million.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. ranks No. 4 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America. It also ranks No. 4 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies in North America.

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