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February 5, 2019 3:30 PM, EST

USA Truck Reports Improved Financial Results in 4Q

USA Truck on roadJohn Sommers II for Transport Topics

USA Truck’s financial results for the fourth quarter of 2018 show progress in boosting the profitability of its trucking business while efforts continue to do the same for the company’s freight brokerage business unit.

The Van Buren, Ark.-based carrier said it earned $5.7 million, or 68 cents a share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with adjusted net income of $2.8 million, or 35 cents a share, in the same period in 2017. Revenue rose 14.5% to $141.1 million from $123.3 million.

James Reed

Reed

CEO James Reed said the company achieved several milestones in the quarter.

“Our trucking segment generated a 91.1 adjusted operating ratio,” Reed said in a statement released Feb. 4, “which represents the best operating ratio our company has produced in its trucking operations in more than 12 years.”

The company also completed the acquisition of Davis Transfer Co., which provided a boost to revenue and profits in the quarter, Reed noted.

Reed also said that further improvements are possible.

“We remain focused on seating trucks, improving base revenue per available tractor per week and increasing volume in our USAT Logistics segment,” Reed stated. “We believe increased performance in these areas will help us deliver on our goals of continued improvement in our consolidated results and maximizing shareholder value.”

Trucking generated operating income of $7.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared with $3.5 million in the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 16.9% to $97.9 million from $83.8 million.

Revenue per loaded mile increased 12.1% to $2,361 from $2,106 due to higher rates and network improvements, company officials said. The average number of tractors in the quarter increased 15.6% to 1,883 from 1,629.

USAT Logistics generated operating income of $1.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, a drop of 35% from $2 million in the same period a year ago. Gross revenue was $43.2 million, compared with $39.5 million, but the company’s gross margin on brokered freight fell to 15% of revenue in the quarter from 17.9% a year ago due to excess capacity in the market driving down prices.

“Both revenue and costs continue to rise,” Reed explained, “resulting in margin compression in our logistics business.”

For the full year, USA Truck posted consolidated net income of $12.2 million, or $1.49 a share, on revenue of $534.1 million in 2018, compared with net income of $7.5 million, or 93 cents a share, on revenue of $446.5 million in 2017.

USA Truck ranks No. 69 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of largest for-hire carriers in North America. USAT Logistics ranks No. 40 on the TT list of top freight brokerage firms and No. 36 on the TT list of top dedicated contract carriers.