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Earnings Watch: UPS, USA Truck, Ryder Report Profit Gains

February 2, 2016

By Evan Lockridge

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UPS Inc. (NYSE:UPS) on Tuesday announced its profit skyrocketed in the fourth quarter of the year. Beating an earnings forecast, its profit totalled $1.33 billion compared to $453 million a year earlier. USA Truck and Ryder also reported higher profits.

Diluted earnings per share increased to $1.48 from 49 cents. Total revenue for the Atlanta-based trucking and parcel delivery giant moved just 1% higher to $16.05 billion, negatively affected by foreign currency exchange rates and lower fuel surcharges.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share, which exclude certain charges related to pension and health care benefits, increased 26% to $1.57 per share. That was 16 cents better than expectations from Zacks Investment Research. Adjusted net income grew 23.1% to $1.4 billion.

In the company’s supply chain and freight segment, adjusted operating profit increased 11%, to $199 million over adjusted 2014 fourth-quarter results. Total segment revenue increased 6% to $2.6 billion.

The inclusion of Coyote Logistics revenue, which UPS purchased last year, more than offset the impact of softer markets, lower fuel surcharges and actions to improve revenue quality in the other business units, according to the company.

UPS Freight less-than-truckload revenue per hundredweight increased 2.1%. However, lower fuel surcharges drove the growth rate lower by about 5.5%. This improvement was offset by a 12% tonnage decline that lowered revenue. Adjusted operating profit for the segment increased 11.2% to $199 million.

U.S. domestic package revenue increased 2.6%, to $10.3 billion, led by strong demand by e-commerce retailers. Adjusted operating profit increased $209 million, or more than 18% over the fourth-quarter 2014 adjusted results.

International package adjusted operating profit was up 16%, to $624 million, in the fourth quarter, led by strong performance in Europe.

“This was the fourth consecutive quarter that UPS exceeded our financial expectations,” said Richard Peretz, UPS chief financial officer. “Our business generated strong results in 2015. While we face uncertain macro-economic conditions, we are continuing to invest for profitable growth."

UPS' guidance for 2016 full-year diluted earnings per share is $5.70 to $5.90, an increase of 5% to 9% over adjusted 2015 results.

For 2015, UPS net income totaled $4.84 billion, up 59.8% from 2014, while adjusted net income improved 12.2% to $4.92 billion. Revenue last year increased 0.2% from 2014 to $58.36 billion.

More details are on the UPS website.

USA Truck Nearly Doubles Annual Income

Trucking and logistics provider USA Truck Inc. (NASDAQ: USAK) saw its fourth quarter 2015 net income rise to $3.9 million, or 39 cents per diluted share, from $3.6 million a year earlier, or 36 cents per diluted share.

On an adjusted basis, the company achieved earnings per diluted share of 38 cents for the 2015 fourth quarter, leaping past expectations of 23 cents from Zacks Investment Research.

For the fourth quarter of 2015, revenue was $118 million compared to $150.1 million for the prior year, with improved pricing offset by lower volume, according to the company. Base revenue, which excludes fuel surcharges, was $106.5 million compared to $125.8 million for the same period in the prior year.

“Our fourth-quarter results reflect the progress we have made improving profitability in our trucking operations," said Vice Chairman Tom Glaser. "The many initiatives we implemented to reenergize our trucking turnaround, combined with trucking’s strengthened leadership and the refreshing of our fleet, have enabled us to accelerate the progress underway.

"Our improved fourth-quarter results, particularly the 260-basis-point improvement in trucking’s year-over-year operating ratio, illustrate the significant operating leverage the company can build on as we move into 2016.”

For 2015, revenue was $507.9 million compared to $602.5 million during the year before, while base revenue was $449 million compared to $494.3 million. Net income last year increased to $11.1 million from $6.3 million for 2014, as earnings per diluted share increased to $1.06 from 60 cents for the same period in the prior year.

In the company’s trucking segment, fourth quarter revenue fell to $80.3 million from $106.2 million a year earlier, but operating income increased to $4.5 million from $3.2 million. The improvement in operating income was even bigger for last year as a whole, moving from an operating loss of $3.1 million in 2014 to operating income of $11.1 million in 2015.

“The progress made in such a short period in our trucking business under our new leadership team is impressive, and I look forward to working closely with them to generate further improvements,” said President and CEO Randy Rogers, who joined the company in January.

There is more information on USA Truck’s financial performance on its website.

Ryder Profit Jumps, But Below Expectations

The fleet management, dedicated transportation and supply chain systems provider Ryder System Inc. (NYSE: R) on Tuesday reported increased profits for the final quarter of 2015 and for all of last year.

Net income jumped to $76.2 million, or $1.43 per diluted share, in the final three months of 2015, from $11.1 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, a year earlier, due in large part to pension settlement costs a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings per share increased from $1.60 in the fourth quarter of 2014 to $1.66 in the most recent three-month period, missing expectations of $1.75 per share from Zacks Investment Research.

Total revenue increased to $1.67 billion in the final quarter of 2014 from $1.66 billion a year earlier.

The company reported record fourth quarter operating revenue (revenue excluding all fuel and subcontracted transportation) of $1.44 billion, reflecting higher full service lease and commercial rental revenue in Fleet Management Solutions (FMS), new business and increased volumes in Dedicated Transportation Solutions (DTS) and Supply Chain Solutions (SCS), partially offset by negative impacts from foreign exchange.

“We delivered another year of record performance with full-year operating revenue growth of 6% and a double-digit increase in comparable earnings, in the face of a more challenging used vehicle sales environment in the second half of the year,” said Ryder Chairman and CEO Robert Sanchez. “We saw continued growth across all contractual product lines, driven by secular trends and our sales and marketing initiatives. We were especially pleased with the continued strong sales activity and fleet growth in our core full service lease product."

Ryder ended 2015 with record lease fleet growth of 6,800 vehicles, significantly exceeding its initial full-year plan of 4,000 vehicles, Sanchez noted -- the fourth consecutive year of organic lease fleet growth.

There are more details, including a breakdown of the company’s segment by segment performance, on its website.

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