April 28, 2017 12:30 PM, EDT

Saia Profits Up 7.7% With Help From Lower Tax Rate


Less-than-truckload earnings season began on a positive note with growth in shipments and revenue growth compared with the lackluster year-over-year results in the truckload sector.

On April 28, Saia Inc. announced  a 7.7% increase in profits to $11.4 million, or 44 cents per share, as tonnage, shipments and revenue per 100 pounds of freight all improved from early 2016 levels.

The Johns Creek, Ga., carrier beat the Bloomberg News consensus forecast of $10.4 million or 41 cents.

Last year, the company generated $10.6 million in profits, or 42 cents.

Revenue rose 9.4% to $317 million. However, expenses increased 8.5% to $299.5 million. As a result, operating income fell 0.3% to $17.5 million. The carrier was able to come out ahead on earnings because it paid at a 31% tax rate rather than the usual 36-38%.                       

“We are encouraged by the improved LTL shipment trends we experienced in the first quarter,” said Rick O’Dell, Saia CEO. “Our first quarter was a very busy time for all of us at Saia, as our plan for expansion into Pennsylvania and New Jersey kicked into high gear. ... These are the first steps in our multiyear strategy of becoming a 48-state LTL service provider.” The four terminals opened May 1.

Less-than-truckload tonnage rose 2% to 885,000 in the quarter. Shipments grew 3.5% to 1.6 million. Revenue per 100 pounds of freight increased 7.7% to $16.68, and revenue per shipment went up 6.1% to $183.68.

Saia’s smaller truckload division delivered mixed results. Tonnage was up 9.2% to 183,000, and revenue per shipment jumped 1.8% to $800.02, but revenue per 100 pounds of freight declined 0.4% to $5.61.

On April 27, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. reported profits rose 9.1% in the first quarter to $65.8 million, or 80 cents per share, a penny higher than the Bloomberg News consensus forecast of industry analysts.

Saia ranks No. 25 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers. Old Dominion ranks No. 11.