August 2, 2017 6:15 PM, EDT

USA Truck Revenue Slides $2.8 Million; 6th Straight Quarter of Losses for Company

USA Truck on the roadSteven Jones

USA Truck Inc. reported a net loss of $2.8 million or 35 cents per share in the second quarter, marking the sixth consecutive quarter the company has lost money.

Last year’s second quarter for the Van Buren, Ark.-based truckload carrier showed a net loss of $1.3 million, or 15 cents per share.

Total revenue was $107.4 million, decreasing 2.3%, with trucking operating revenue declining $4.0 million, or 5.2%, year over year, to $71.5 million, compared to second-quarter 2016. USA Truck’s logistics revenue was $35.8 million, up 4.1% over 2016’s second-quarter numbers.

The company noted that expenses relating to new management hires during the second quarter, $300,000 or 2 cents per share, net-of-tax, related to a change in expensing of board compensation without any annual increase as well as severance costs, wages and employee benefits contributed to the decline in the numbers.

The Bloomberg News average analyst forecast for USA Truck was $103.3 million in revenue, and the forecast predicted a $900,000 loss, or minus 11 cents per share.

Brad Delco, an analyst with Stephens, said in an e-mail that after the market close, USA Truck’s results did include “several one-time charges totaling 15 cents [per share], so we view operating earnings-per-share as a loss of 20 cents for the quarter. In short, USAK posted better-than-expected top line results, versus the Street, but this was more than offset by higher costs driving an adjusted operating ratio that missed expectations.”

That said, Delco pointed out that USA Truck “did report improved TL rates/ productivity and reiterated its target of having positive EBIT in 3Q'17.”

The positive sentiment was echoed by USA Truck CEO James Reed during an earnings call Aug. 3, when he said the company is solid, has a bright future and fully expects to reach profitability and have a better third quarter.

“We still hate losing at USA Truck, and are disappointed to report these results,” he said.

Reed added, “The entire organization is committed to returning this company to profitability and building a business that we believe will stand the test of time. The second quarter marked my first full quarter as CEO and, while we are not happy with the consolidated results, we believe they show progress in the specific areas where we previously said we would focus.”

In the truckload division, the average weekly miles for a truck with a driver was 2,007, up from 1,985 for year-over-year. However, the number of in-service tractors was down from 1,743 to 1,584.

In the logistics division, while revenue ticked up the operating income fell about 15% to $1.9 million due to the margins falling to 18.5% from 19.5%.

USA Truck ranks No. 70 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.