Revenue Rises But Loss Widens for USA Truck

USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $4.6 million, or 45 cents per share, a bigger loss than the $3.2 million, or 31 cents per share, it reported in the same quarter last year.

The loss came on revenue of $141.6 million, up 5 percent from $134.8 million during the same quarter last year.

For the full year, the trucking company reported a loss of $9.1 million, or 88 cents a share, a bigger loss than the $17.6 million, or $1.71, it reported last year.

Still, company executives were upbeat about the results, pointing to improvement in underlying areas of the operation.

"The fourth quarter capped a turning point year for USA Truck, with improvements in virtually every area of our business," President and CEO John Simone said in a news release. "Our results reflect the growing positive momentum of our strategic plan, which focuses on three critical areas – operational execution, profitable revenue growth and cost effectiveness."

Simone cited a 6 percent increase in quarterly base revenue growth, the company's first quarter of positive operating income since the second quarter of 2011, improvement in cash flow that allowed the company to cut debt the second consecutive quarter and "sustained sequential quarterly improvements throughout 2013."

Last week, the company announced that it had reached a settlement with Knight Transportation Inc. of Phoenix, which agreed to end its unsolicited attempt to takeover the company. In return, USA Truck dropped a breach of contract lawsuit it had filed against Knight.

On Tuesday, USA Truck said that during the fourth quarter it recorded about $1.5 million, or 9 cents per share, in "legal and other defense costs" in connection with the unsolicited takeover attempt.