Landstar System Inc. profits improved 4.5% in the fourth quarter compared with 2015, besting estimates from industry analysts for one of the few bright spots among trucking companies during earnings season.
The Jackonsville, Florida, company generated $39.6 million in earnings, or 94 cents per share. In the year prior, profits were $37.9 million, or 88 cents. For the full year, net income dropped 7% to $137.4 million, or $3.25.
“I am very pleased with Landstar’s performance in the 2016 fourth quarter given the challenges of a low-growth macroenvironment and more readily available capacity," Landstar CEO Jim Gattoni. "Diluted earnings per share was $0.94 in the 2016 fourth quarter, the highest quarterly diluted earnings per share in Landstar history, other than the fourth quarter of 2013, when we had a significant, one-time gain on the sale of our former supply chain companies,” .
The company also set a quarterly record for revenue of $893 million, up from $849 million year-over-year.
Truck revenues hauled by third parties, called independent business capacity owners, and from its freight brokerage service were $832.2 million in the fourth quarter compared with $786.4 million in the 2015 period.
Transportation revenue hauled in dry or refrigerated vans was $548.4 million compared with $481.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Truckload revenue using flatbed or platform trailers was $263.3 million in the fourth quarter compared with $285.6 million the year before.
Revenue from freight brokering to rail, air and ocean cargo carriers was $48.7 million, down from $50.6 million in 2015.
“Revenue in [full year] 2016 was provided on the strength of approximately 1,746,000 loads hauled via truck capacity, the highest number of loads hauled via truck in any year in Landstar history,” Gattoni said. “These fiscal-year 2016 achievements speak to the strength and depth of the Landstar network and ability to execute in almost any environment.”
Landstar, which ranks No. 9 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers, came out 6 cents ahead of the consensus forecast, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Revenue was about $60 million above forecast, and net income was $3 million higher.