January 29, 2018 6:15 PM, EST

Werner Profits Climb Despite Logistics Challenges

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Werner Enterprises reported fourth-quarter net income of $30.6 million Jan. 29 , or earnings per diluted share of 42 cents, beating expectations of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg of $27.8 million and 39 cents per share. Earnings per share in the year-ago quarter was 30 cents.

Revenues in the quarter totaled $567.4 million, up 9% from the fourth quarter of 2016.

The trucking and logistics company reported fourth-quarter net income of $141.1 million, or earnings per diluted share of $1.94, when including the tax benefits associated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that lowered the corporate income tax rate to 21%. Excluding the benefits reduced the quarterly and annual results by $110.5 million, or $1.52 a share, according to Omaha, Neb.-based Werner.

Werner Enterprises ranks No. 16 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

During the quarter Werner also recorded income tax benefits of $2.4 million, or 3 cents a share, due to state income tax accruals and other benefits.

The Truckload Transportation Services segment reported operating income in the quarter of $44.5 million, up 36%, on revenues of $439.2 million, up more than 10% from a year ago.

In the quarter, the Werner Logistics division reported operating income of $2 million, down 52% from a year ago, on revenues of $112.4 million, a rise of $5.2 million. The income decline occurred because tighter carrier capacity led to “higher purchased transportation costs in the Company’s predominantly contractual logistics business, [which caused] the lower gross margin and operating income percentages,” according to Werner.

Average revenues per tractor per week in the fourth quarter increased 4.1% compared with the same period a year ago, with the company ending the year with 7,435 trucks in service in its truckload segment, a year-over-year increase of 335 trucks.

For full-year 2017, Werner said total revenues rose 5% to $2.1 billion. The company had net income of $92.4 million and $1.28 earnings per diluted share, when excluding the newly enacted federal tax benefits of $110.5 million and $1.52 earnings per diluted share. Bloomberg analysts expected $1.24 earnings per share.

The Truckload Transportation Services group reported 2017 revenues of $1.6 billion, up from $1.5 billion, while Werner Logistics recorded revenues of $417.6 million, unchanged from 2016.

Operating income in 2017 for truckload rose 28% to $138 million, while Werner Logistics income dropped to $8.7 million from $20.7 million in the previous year. The company reported that a customer that generated 4.3% of Werner Logistics revenues in fourth quarter 2016 was acquired. The company transitioned to its parent company’s transportation platform in the first quarter of 2017.