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Earnings Watch: Saia, Heartland Report Lower Profits

October 28, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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One trucking company serving mainly the less-than-truckload market and another in the truckload sector have both reported lower third quarter earnings.

Georgia-based Saia Inc. (SAIA) had net income of $11.8 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, compared to $16.3 million, or 64 cents per diluted share, a year earlier.

Revenue declined from $332.5 million in the third quarter of 2014 to $317.2 million in the most recent quarter as operating income decreased 27% to $19.8 million.

LTL shipments were down 4.2% and LTL tonnage declined 6.7% in the most recent quarter compared to same time in 2014. However, LTL revenue per hundredweight increased 2.2% despite lower year-over-year fuel surcharges, according to the company.

"Our disappointing third quarter results were primarily the result of declining tonnage trends during the quarter, which made it difficult to offset higher investments in driver wages,” said Saia President and CEO Rick O'Dell. “Additionally, we incurred increased expenses associated with self-insurance claims. In this type of volume environment we will more aggressively manage costs and maintain a constant focus on mix management to ensure that proper compensatory pricing is in place,"

He said despite the lower year-over-year earnings results, Saia improved pricing and LTL yield for the 21st consecutive quarter.

More details are on the Saia website.

Heartland Express Inc. (HTLD) reported simlar results, with net income of $15.1 million, compared to $22.7 million in the third quarter of 2014, a 33.5% decrease.

Diluted earnings per share fell to 17 cents, down from 26 cents a year earlier.

Revenue totaled $182.5 million compared to $217.1 million, a 15.9% decrease to the third quarter of 2014. Operating revenues decreased 8.1% excluding fuel surcharges.

According to the Iowa-based company, operating results for the quarter were hurt by a $3.9 million decrease in gains on sales of equipment and $2.2 million increase in insurance and claims activity, along with lower than anticipated freight volume compared to the second quarter of this year.

“While driver attrition has slowed, since implementation of our updated pay package in late 2014 and early 2015, attracting and retaining professional drivers that meet our high standards of safety continues to be an ongoing challenge,” Heartland said in a news release. “Driver challenges coupled with our yield management efforts and current freight demand has resulted in lower revenues and earnings period over period compared to 2014, although our operating ratio and net margin continue to show good improvement for the year ended Sept. 30, 2015.”

Heartland also disclosed it has been taking delivery of new equipment. Its dry-van trailer fleet, excluding specialty equipment, will be 100% 2012 and newer model years by the end of 2015.

More information on Heartland’s financial performance is on the Globe Newswire website.

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