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Landstar System on Jan. 26 reported record quarterly revenue and operating income for the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based truckload motor carrier’s total revenue increased 50% to $1.95 billion from $1.3 billion for the three months ended Dec. 25.
Net income was $113.3 million, or diluted earnings per share of $2.99. That represents a 74% increase from $65.1 million, $1.70, during the same time the previous year.
The results surpassed expectations by investment analysts on Wall Street, which had been looking for $2.85 per share and quarterly revenue of $1.85 billion, according to Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Operating income grew 76% to $148.7 million from $84.4 million during the prior-year quarter. Gross profit also reached a quarterly record of $209.8 million, up from $141.7 million last year.
For the full year, Landstar reported earnings of $381.5 million, $9.98, on revenue of $6.54 billion, compared with net income of $192.1 million, $4.98, on revenue of $4.13 billion in 2020.
“Landstar’s fiscal-year 2021 performance exceeded even our highest expectations,” Landstar CEO Jim Gattoni during a conference call with investors Jan. 27. “The year started with record first-quarter financial results, and each quarter grew from there. In fact, each quarter of 2021 set a new all-time record for revenue and earnings per share for that quarterly period.”
Gattoni added the year-over-year gain in revenue was driven by an increase in revenue hauled via van and unsided platform equipment which represented 75% of revenue in Q4. He noted revenue for loads hauled via van and unsided platform equipment during the quarter both exceeded the prior-year period by 20% as market dynamics strongly favored the truck provider.
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“There was a lot of speculation by many in the industry trying to predict a peak to truck pricing at some point during 2021,” Gattoni said. “However, that peak never materialized during the year. And in fact, December’s revenue per load hauled via truck was the highest monthly revenue per load in the company’s history.”
Truck transportation revenue hauled by independent business capacity owners and truck brokerage carriers in Q4 increased 45.2% to $1.75 billion from $1.2 billion during the same time last year. The number of loads increased 21.9% to 666,760 from 546,820. Revenue per load increased 19.1% to $2,617 from $2,198. Truck transportation includes truckload, less-than-truckload and other miscellaneous operations.
Truckload transportation revenue generated by van equipment increased 45% to $1.02 billion from $706.7 million. Truckload transportation revenue from unsided and platform equipment increased 40% to $436.7 million from $311.3 million in Q4 2020. LTL operations revenue increased 20.3% to $32 million from $26.6 million. Power only, expedited, straight truck, cargo van and other miscellaneous truck transportation revenue increased 61% to $252.4 million from $157.1 million.
“The total number of loads hauled via truck exceeded the record 2020 fourth quarter by 22%,” Gattoni said. “That increase in the 2021 fourth quarter over the 2020 fourth quarter was driven by an impressive increase in the number of loads hauled via van, unsided platform equipment, less-than-truckload and other truck transportation services by 21%, 17%, 13% and 43% respectively. And the 2021 fourth quarter, each of these lines of business within our truck service offerings set a new all-time quarterly record for the number of loads hauled.”
Gattoni added the number of loads hauled via trucks increased 7% over the 2021 third quarter. He noted this is one of the highest increases from Q3 to Q4 in the history of the company. The increase in loadings was mostly due to consumer durables, automotive and substitute linehaul loads. Metal and machinery loadings were approximately flat to Q3 2021.
“However, the number of loads hauled via truck for machinery and metals commodities in the 2021 fourth quarter, compared to the 2020 fourth quarter increased 14% and 25% respectively,” Gattoni said. “Contributing to the 70% increase in loads hauled via unsided platform equipment. That growth is a positive sign for flatbed business heading into 2022.”
The earnings report also noted that revenue from rail, air and ocean cargo carriers increased 130.6% to $174.6 million from $75.7 million during the 2020 period. Those operations represent 9% of total revenue.
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Landstar noted in the report that the diluted earnings per share included a one-time charge of $15.5 million, 31 cents, related to buyouts of certain incentive commission arrangements with several independent sales agents.
Landstar purchased approximately 417,000 shares of its common stock in the quarter. That brings the total number of shares purchased throughout the fiscal year to about 734,000 at an aggregate cost of $122.7 million. The company can purchase up to 3 million additional shares of common stock under its previously announced share purchase programs. The board of directors also declared a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share payable March 11.
Landstar ranks No. 9 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 22 on the TT Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies.