USA Truck Posts Record Quarterly Loss

USA Truck Inc. on Friday reported a third-quarter net loss of $6.1 million, or 59 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $4.3 million, or 42 cents per share for the year-ago quarter.

It was the Van Buren company's biggest quarterly loss ever.

Revenue fell to $100.3 million for the third quarter compared with $102.6 million for third-quarter 2011.
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, USA Truck lost $14.4 million, or $1.40 per share, compared with $6.4 million, or 62 cents per share, for the same period in 2011.

The third-quarter loss was affected by increases in reserves for workers' compensation and health claims, accounting for a loss of 11 cents per share, and the write-off of the costs of deferred debt issuance, accounting for 3 cents per share, the company said.

CEO Cliff Beckham said weak freight demand had contributed to the quarterly loss, adding that "we did not experience the level of increase in freight volumes during the quarter that we normally expect. We attribute this to slower growth in the United States economy, a slight contraction in manufacturing activity, and one fewer business day than in the 2011 quarter."

Beck also noted that fuel prices had risen during the quarter, saying that had hurt profitability, and that a driver shortage had driven up expenses.