USA Truck Swings to 2Q Profit, Beats Analyst Estimates

by Worth Sparkman  on Thursday, Jul. 22, 2010 8:31 am  

A reduction of fuel expenses tied to the sale of a hedge contract helped USA Truck Inc. post a second quarter profit, the company said Thursday.

The Van Buren trucking company (Nasdaq: USAK) posted net income of $900,000 for the quarter ended June 30, or 9 cents per share, up from a net loss of $1.1 million for the same period a year ago.

Analysts called for the trucking firm's earnings to be 0 cents per share for the quarter, but actual earnings reached 9 cents. 

USA is still in the red for the year, however, with a net loss of $2.1 million for the first six months, better than the $3 million net losses in the same period last year.

The company's second quarter base revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, was up 16.8 percent to $94.9 million, compared to a year earlier.

The sale of the fuel hedge contract reduced fuel expenses by about $1.2 million, the company said.

"We made solid year-over-year progress this quarter and dramatically improved our performance sequentially from the first quarter this year," said Clifton R. Beckham, president and CEO in an earnings release. "Through disciplined execution of our long-term strategic plan, VEVA (Vision for Economic Value Added), and aided by an improving operating environment and the sale of a fuel contract, we achieved our near-term goal of returning to profitability by the second quarter 2010."

The company plans to stick to the execution of its strategic plan, but "We will not be distracted by the pursuit of short-term, but unsustainable, profits" in lieu of building for long-term return to its shareholders, Beckham said.

Other Arkansas freight firms have reported better-than-expected earnings. Wednesday, Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith said it lost $7.34 million for the quarter, half of the losses from a year earlier and last week, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell doubled its profit during the quarter.

USA said it will focus on reduced maintenance costs, building its freight network, keeping its tractors manned and deployed, and increasing its network yield.

Shares of USA Truck were trading at $15.22 on Thursday, up from a $14.88 close on Wednesday.



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