USA Truck Narrows 1Q Net Loss

USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren said Monday that it has narrowed its first-quarter loss, reporting a loss of $2.5 million or 24 cents per share, less than the $4.9 million or 47 cents per share loss it reported in the first quarter last year.

Base revenue reached about $105 million, up 7 percent from $98 million in the same quarter last year.

In a news release, the company's new CEO, John Simone, said the firm also held operating costs to a 3.5 percent increase, which improved operating margin by more than 400 basis points.

"Our operational execution continues to improve, helping us overcome difficult weather conditions across our operating areas and fewer business days due to leap year and an early Easter," he said. "We are pleased with our progress, and our top priority is returning to profitability as quickly as possible and restoring shareholder value."

Simone said the company's trucking segment drove USA Truck's second-quarter performance, improving operating results by 50 percent on revenue growth of 5.1 percent. He said the division improved miles per truck and productivity while controlling costs.

"We believe significant opportunities exist to remove costs from our operations," he said. "Those opportunities are in the areas of equipment operating costs, fuel consumption and safety (in fact, most of the year-over-year increase in insurance and claims dollars was the result of a single claim occurring on the final working day of the quarter).

"We are conducting a broad assessment of our processes in those three areas, among others, and are designing and deploying initiatives that we believe will unlock the earnings leverage in our trucking model," he said.

Simone, who joined the company in February and has been evaluating USA Truck's strategy, said he has been encouraged by the trucking firm's assets, people and customers.

"We expect to build upon that foundation and momentum by adding greater clarity, focus and execution," Simone said. "Our strategy: return to profitability and restore shareholder value through operational excellence, profitable revenue growth and cost efficiencies. 

"We have identified, developed and begun executing high-leverage activities in each of these critical areas. We look forward to reporting our progress in future communications."