Weekly finance report: earnings season in session

During earnings season, FreightWaves will be covering many companies across all modes, as well as shippers and retailers. Each week we will recap the most interesting company earnings and any merger-and-acquisition activity in the past seven days. Take a look at the past week’s finance recap:



Heartland Express (NASDAQ: HTLD) — 1/23/20

Heartland Express earnings miss partly related to recent acquisition

HTLD operates at industry-leading efficiency with annual operating ratio (OR) levels typically well below 90%. This year was no different — Heartland remained below 90%, but its OR was 14.6% higher year-over-year due to the acquisition of Millis Transfer, which operated at a 90%-plus OR prior to the deal. 2019 was a year of strong top-line growth for HTLD — revenue up 13.8% — but earnings per share were down over 40% year-over-year. 

Marten Transport (NASDAQ: MRTN) — 1/23/20

Truckload down, Dedicated up in Marten’s fourth quarter

Marten Transport rode strong results in its Dedicated and Brokerage divisions to post net income for the fourth quarter of 2019 that was stable for the period. For the full year, Marten (NASDAQ: MRTN) reported a 7.1% increase in operating revenue and a gain of 8.7% in operating income. That led to record results in both categories. Net income was up 11% for the year. The Dedicated operating ratio improved to 88.6% from 91.1%, while the OR in Truckload worsened to 92.5% from 89.9% in the corresponding quarter of 2018.

Covenant Transport (NASDAQ: CVTI) — 1/23/20

Covenant Transportation sees ‘difficult operating environment’ in fourth quarter

Covenant Transportation Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CVTI) reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of 10 cents compared to 92 cents in the fourth quarter of 2018 and well below the consensus estimate of 27 cents per share. CVTI reported a 14% year-over-year decline in consolidated revenue to $233 million. The company’s asset-based truckload revenue declined 13% year-over-year excluding fuel surcharges. Average revenue per total mile declined 11% year-over-year to $1.89. 

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT) — 1/17/20

J.B. Hunt reports tough fourth quarter

JBHT reported fourth-quarter 2019 earnings per share (EPS) of $1.35 versus the consensus estimate of $1.52. After reconciling the 2018 totals for charges associated with its arbitration with BNSF Railway, Hunt reported a 24.2% decline in EPS in 2019. The lone bright spot for JBHT came in its Dedicated division. Although it wasn’t organic growth, the February acquisition of Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery helped add nearly $60 million in top-line growth in the Final Mile subdivision of Dedicated. Hunt’s intermodal division fared well against much of the industry in 2019. While national intermodal volumes ran down 6-7%, JBHT was able to grow volumes 2% year-over-year. Gross margin for the brokerage division (Integrated Capacity Solutions) fell to 10.6% in 2019 from 16.9% in 2018. 


CSX Corp. (NASDAQ: CSX) — 1/17/20 

CSX eyes flat to lower revenue in 2020

Net profit for the fourth quarter of 2019 slipped 8.5% amid declining revenues due to lower volumes and coal market headwinds. Net earnings for the fourth quarter totaled $771 million, or 99 cents a share, compared with $843 million, or $1.01 a share, for the fourth quarter of 2018. Fourth-quarter revenue slipped 8% to $2.89 billion amid lane rationalizations for CSX’s intermodal segment, a softer industrial economy and declining coal volumes. Despite the drop in revenues, fourth-quarter costs were down amid continued efficiency gains and volume-related savings

Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) — 1/23/20

Union Pacific fourth-quarter net profit slips 10%

Union Pacific’s fourth-quarter net profit dipped 10% amid a drop in operating revenue. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled $1.44 billion, or $2.02/diluted share, compared with $1.55 billion, or $2.12/diluted share. Operating revenue in the fourth quarter was $5.2 billion, a 9% drop from the same period in 2018. Fourth-quarter operating revenue slipped amid fewer shipments of agricultural, premium (including intermodal) and energy products, although industrial volumes were flat, Union Pacific (UP) said Thursday. Freight revenue dipped 10% to $4.89 billion amid lower volumes and a decreased fuel surcharge revenue. Although revenue was down, operating expenses also fell in the fourth quarter. Operating expenses totaled $3.11 billion, a 12% decline from the fourth quarter of 2018.


Parkland Fuel Corp. (TSX: PKI) acquiring Kellerstrass Oil — 1/17/20

Canadian fuel distributor Parkland grows US footprint and fleet with Kellerstrass acquisition

Parkland Fuel Corp., a Canadian fuel distributor and seller, will acquire Kellerstrass Oil, growing its retail and commercial footprint and tanker fleet in the United States. Alberta-based Parkland announced the deal to buy Salt Lake City’s Kellerstrass January 16th without disclosing terms. 

The acquisition will expand Parkland’s presence in the Western U.S. with 84 dealer locations and add approximately 63 trucks to its fleet, based on U.S. Department of Transportation records.  

Mark-It Express Logistics acquiring Spirit Trucking Company — 1/20/20

Mark-It Express Logistics begins expansion efforts with acquisition of Spirit Trucking

Chicago-based Mark-It Express Logistics is taking steps toward the vision of its founder to become a national name with the acquisition of Spirit Trucking Co., also based in Chicago. Spirit has approximately 78 trucks, giving Mark-It a combined fleet total of 175 vehicles, with offices in Kansas City, Kansas, and Detroit in addition to Chicago.

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