Fleet Management

Earnings Watch: Daimler, Landstar Profit Moves Higher; Dana's Declines

July 23, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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Earning season continued on Thursday with results reported by the world’s largest truck manufacturer along with results from one component supplier and a major owner-operator trucking company.

The parent company to U.S. truck makers Freightliner and Western Star on Thursday saw its profit in the second quarter of the year increase 8% from the same time a year ago.

Germany’s Daimler AG (DAI) reported net earnings of 2.372 billion euros, equivalent to about $2.59 billion, while revenue increased 19% to 35.7 euros, or around $41 billion.

With total sales of 714,800 passenger cars and commercial vehicles, the company sold 14% more vehicles in the months of April through June than in the second quarter of last year, driven by an increase in sales of Mercedes Benz autos.

Daimler Trucks' sales of 125,100 vehicles in the second quarter were close to the level of the prior-year period, as lower unit sales in Latin America and Indonesia were mainly offset by increased sales in the North America region and Western Europe, accordign to the company.

In North America, Daimler Trucks reached a sales record of 49,400 vehicles, up more than 20% from a year earlier. Sales of 15,200 units in Western Europe were 15% higher than in the second quarter of last year, although Mercedes-Benz Trucks' market share contracted. In Latin America, demand for trucks continued to be affected by the difficult economic conditions with unit sales declining 28%. Unit sales in Asia were down 17%, almost solely due to a market-related slump of 51% in Indonesia. In Japan and India, Daimler Trucks increased its unit sales by 16% and 14%, respectively.

The truck division's revenue rose 19% to 9.4 billion euros and its earning before interest and taxes (EBIT) climbed to a new high of 682 million euros compared to 455 million euros the same time in 2014.

Looking ahead, Daimler said in the worldwide market for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, another drop in demand is expected in 2015 following last year's significant decrease.

“Market prospects are the most promising in the NAFTA region and Europe. In North America, the main economic indicators suggest that demand for trucks will remain favorable despite a slight cooling off, so the market should expand by between 10 and 15%. Thanks to the increasingly robust economic recovery in Europe, Daimler meanwhile anticipates market growth of between 10 and 15% also in that region,” the company said in a news release.

There are more details on the Daimler website.

Dana Income Drops

Meantime, the parent to the truck component manufacturer Dana reported a decline in second quarter income, totaling $59 million, compared with $86 million recorded in the same period in 2014 for Dana Holding Corp. (DAN).

Diluted adjusted earnings per share were 48 cents compared with 58 cents during the same time frame, reflecting reduced earnings, partially offset by a lower share count from the continued execution of the company's share repurchase program, according to Dana.

Sales for the quarter were $1.61 billion, $101 million lower than the same period in 2014.

"In the second quarter, Dana achieved a 4% increase in organic growth as a result of some markets improving and new business coming on line. We also continued to win new business to support our backlog through 2017 and beyond," said President and CEO Roger Wood. "Though currency continued to be a challenge, especially in Europe and South America, and we faced further weakness in South American market demand, we continued our focus on cost discipline, improving our margin over the first quarter.”

In Dana’s commercial vehicle driveline technologies business, sales were $431 million in the second quarter of 2015, compared with $463 million last year.

According to the company, strong market demand in North America was offset by significant weakness in South America, primarily in Brazil, where sales were lower by $26 million. Currency headwinds, principally from a weaker Brazilian real and euro, reduced sales by $45 million, which was partially offset by improved pricing and recoveries when compared with the same period last year.

The segment earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amoritization (EBITDA) for the second quarter of 2015 was $36 million, or 8.4% of sales, compared with last year's segment EBITDA of $47 million, or 10.2% of sales.

Dana last week announced that its board of directors named James K. Kamsickas president and CEO, effective Aug. 11. He will also serve as a director of Dana. He succeeds Wood who announced in January his plan to retire.

More information is on the Dana website.

Record Earnings for Landstar

Landstar System Inc. (LSTR) reported record quarterly revenue and diluted earnings per share for the second quarter of 2015.

Revenue increased to $868 million from $814 while earnings per share were 92 cents, up from 80 cents. Net income also increased, moving to $40.5 million from $35.9 million a year earlier for the Florida-based trucking company.

Truck transportation revenue hauled by Landstar independent contractor drivers and truck brokerage carriers in the 2015 second quarter was $809.2 million, or 93% of revenue, compared to $764.7 million, or 94% of revenue, in the 2014 second quarter.

Truckload transportation revenue hauled via van equipment was $496.9 million compared to $458.7 million a year earlier. Truckload transportation revenue hauled via unsided/platform equipment was $291 million compared to $285.5 million in the 2014 second quarter.

Revenue hauled by rail, air and ocean cargo carriers was $48.1 million, or 6% of revenue, in the 2015 second quarter compared to $39.9 million, or 5% of revenue, in the 2014 second quarter.

"The number of loads hauled via truck exceeded the 2014 second quarter by 9% and the number of loads hauled via railroads, ocean cargo carriers and air cargo carriers increased 31% over the 2014 second quarter,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Gattoni. “The growth in the number of loads hauled via truck was driven by increased volumes for unsided/platform equipment, van equipment and less-than-truckload of 10%, 8% and 20%, respectively.”

According to the company, as expected, revenue per load on loads hauled via truck softened in the 2015 second quarter compared to the 2014 second quarter. Truck revenue per load in the 2015 second quarter was 3% lower compared to the 2014 second quarter, mostly due to the record truck revenue per load experienced last year and the effect of lower diesel fuel costs on loads hauled via truck brokerage carriers this year.

“I expect the number of loads hauled via truck in the 2015 third quarter to increase in a mid-to-upper single digit percentage range over the 2014 third quarter,” Gattoni said. “As it pertains to revenue per load on loads hauled via truck, year-over-prior-year comparisons continue to be difficult due to the all-time high revenue per load reported in the 2014 third quarter along with the effect of lower diesel fuel costs on loads hauled via truck brokerage carriers in 2015.”

He said during the first few weeks of fiscal July, revenue per load on loads hauled via truck has been consistent with that experienced in June, yet lower than during July 2014, and he does not expect a significant change in these recent trends over the remainder third quarter.

According to Landstar, assuming the current environment continues throughout the 2015 third quarter, revenue for the 2015 third quarter is expected to be in a range of $830 million to $880 million with diluted earnings per share to be in a range of 87 cents to 92 cents per share compared to 82 cents per diluted share in the 2014 third quarter.

Further details are on the Landstar website.

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