USA Truck 2Q Profit Falls 33 Percent

USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren on Thursday returned to profitability in the second quarter, but that profit was down 33 percent compared to the second quarter of 2010.

The trucking company reported a profit of $600,000, or 6 cents per share, compared to profit of $900,000, or 9 cents per share, during the same quarter last year.

In a news release (PDF), the company (Nasdaq: USAK) said earnings came on base revenue of $108.5 million, up 14.3 percent from $94.9 million during the same quarter last year.

On a six-month basis, however, the company's net loss deeped, growing to $2.12 million,  or 21 cents per share, from a net loss of $2.10 million, 20 cents per share, during the same period in 2010. But base revenue increased 13 percent to $208.1 million for the six-month period.

"Despite a relatively soft freight environment in the first six weeks of the quarter, we nearly tripled our earnings excluding the effect of last year's fuel hedge gain, which amounted to approximately $1.2 million pretax, or 7 cents per share," Cliff Beckham, president and CEO, said in a news release.

During the second quarter of 2010, the company sold a fuel hedge contract that resulted in a reduction of fuel expense on a pre-tax basis of about $1.2 million. On a net-of-tax basis, the reduction was about $700,000, or 7 cents per share.

That contract sale allowed the company to swing from a quarterly loss to a profit during the second quarter of 2010.

"As we progress toward full implementation of our VEVA (Vision for Economic Value Added) strategic plan, we believe our diversified model of integrated and complimentary service offerings exhibits more signs of maturity," Beckham said.

While trucking segment revenue increased 2 percent during the quarter, the company said a lack of qualified drivers kept the segment from growing even more. With a shortage of drivers, driver compensation costs grew by 3 cents per mile.