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Saia Inc. saw income surge and revenue gains during the fourth quarter, the company reported Feb. 8.
The Johns Creek, Ga.-based less-than-truckload carrier posted net income of $40.2 million, or $1.51 a diluted share, for the three months ending Dec. 31. That compared with $21.4 million, 81 cents, during the same time the previous year.
Revenue increased 7.5% to $476.5 million from $443.1 million.
The results were better than expectations by investment analysts on Wall Street, who had been looking for $1.30 per share and revenue of $474.62 million, according to Benzinga Insights.
Quarterly operating income increased by 84.6% to $50.6 million from $27.4 million during the same quarter the year before. LTL shipments per workday increased 3.6% during the quarter. The revenue per shipment increased 3.5% to $246.88 from $238.45 during the same time the previous year.
“After the most unique year in our history, I am very pleased at the record results achieved by our team,” Saia CEO Frederick Holzgrefe said in a statement. “Business trends in December outperformed normal historical trends and we posted 3.5% shipment growth for the month.”
Wolfe Research analyst Scott Group in a report noted that Saia’s quarterly results showed better tonnage but weaker yields compared with the previous year. This drove the 7.5% total revenue grown that was in line with its model. The investment raised its EPS estimate for Saia in Q1 by 11 cents to $1.45 based on the better tonnage and improved margins.
KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Todd Fowler is likewise optimistic. “Additional organic growth is anticipated, supported by improved density at recently expanded terminals, as well as anticipated terminal expansion into this year,” he said in a report. “The combination of these elements could result in meaningful intermediate-term earnings power.”
For the full year, Saia reported net income of $138.3 million, $5.20, on revenue of $1.82 billion compared with net income of $113.7 million, $4.30, on revenue of $1.79 billion in 2019.
LTL shipments per workday decreased 0.9% during the full year but revenue per shipment increased 2.6% to $240.86.
Saia credited the growth on positive pricing actions and a 3.9% increase in full-year yields. This resulted in a 4.9% increase in revenue per bill, the report said. That growth also helped lead to a 140-basis-point improvement in operating ratio for the full year.
Holzgrefe said the company will focus on expanding its network and profitability initiatives this year. That includes a new terminal opening during the first quarter and several other potential opportunities that are being reviewed.
“We continue to see inflationary cost pressures in our business, including our January wage increase, and we will work on mix and pricing to cover the cost pressures and strive to improve margins in our business,” Holzgrefe said. “We plan to invest in our business and will support our employees as they work and allow our company to provide essential services to our customers.”
Saia ranks No. 21 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America, and No. 9 on the LTL sector list.
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