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J.B. Hunt Profit Increases to $115 Million

October 14, 2015

By Evan Lockridge

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (JBHT) announced on Wednesday third quarter net earnings of $115.1 million, or diluted earnings per share of 99 cents, compared to third quarter 2014 net earnings of $102.4 million, or 87 cents per diluted share.

Total operating revenue for the current quarter was $1.59 billion, compared with $1.60 billion for the third quarter 2014 for the Arkansas-based, multi-modal freight transportation provider.

Earnings beat expectations from Zacks Investment Research, with a consensus estimate of 96 cents per share, but missed its estimate of $1.62 billion in revenue.

Operating income for the current quarter totaled $194 million versus $172 million for the third quarter of 2014.

The increase in operating income from load growth, higher productivity and customer rate increases was partially offset by lower box turns from slower train speeds in some regions, increases in rail purchase transportation rates, increases in driver wages and recruiting costs and higher equipment ownership costs compared to third quarter 2014, according to the company.

J.B. Hunt’s truck operation had revenue of $98 million, up 2%, as operating income totaled $11.2 million, a 159% increase, with 2,100 tractors on the road at the end of the quarter compared to 1,843 a year earlier.

Segment revenue for the current quarter increased 2% from the same period in 2014. Revenue excluding fuel surcharge increased 10%, primarily from increased truck count and core rate increases of approximately 4.5%, but was partially offset by lower asset utilization, according to the company.

Operating income increased by 159% compared to third quarter 2014. The company reported favorable changes in core rates, increased fleet count, lower equipment maintenance costs, lower safety and insurance costs and improved fuel economy were partially offset by increased driver and independent contractor costs per mile, increased driver hiring costs, and lower asset utilization compared to third quarter 2014

The company’s intermodal segment reported revenue of $949 million; down 2% while operating income increased 1% to $126.1 million as overall freight volumes increased 3% over the same period in 2014.

Its dedicated segment had revenue $370 million, up 3%, while operating income was $45.1 million, a 32% improvement. It saw a year-over-year net addition of 413 revenue producing trucks, while there were 195 net additions compared to second quarter 201.. Approximately 56% of these additions represent private fleet conversions versus traditional dedicated capacity services and primarily reflect new contract implementations in this and prior periods, according to J.B. Hunt.

In its truck brokerage segment, revenue fell 7% to $173 million but operating income improved 36% to $11.5 million as load volume increased 9% while its gross profit margin moved higher to 15.9%.

A more detailed breakdown of J.B. Hunt's financial performance is on the company website.

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