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Earnings Watch: Saia Improves 7.7%, Universal Logistics Falls 43%

April 28, 2017

By Evan Lockridge

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Mainly less-than-truckload carrier Saia Inc. saw its profit move higher in the first quarter of the year while the muti-trucking service provider Universal Logistics Holdings Inc. saw lower net income despite more revenue.

Georgia-based Saia reported net income grew 7.7% from a year ago, totaling $11.4 million, or 44 cents per share, beating a consensus estimate by analysts by 3 cents, and versus 42 cents per share in the first quarter of 2016. The company said its bottom line benefitted from a lower effective tax rate. Revenue increased 9.4% to $317 million.

"We are encouraged by the improved LTL shipment trends we experienced in the first quarter," said Saia President and CEO Rick O'Dell. "Our first quarter was a very busy time for all of us at Saia, as our plan for expansion into Pennsylvania and New Jersey kicked into high gear.”

The expansion plans are the first steps in a corporate move to become a 48-state LTL service provider.

During the first quarter, LTL shipments increased 3.5% from a year earlier while tonnage pushed 2% higher. LTL revenue per hundredweight jumped 7.7%.

The company’s smaller truckload operation reported tonnage moved in the quarter increased 9.2% from a year earlier while revenue per shipment improved 1.8%.

Universal Logistics Holdings Profit Falls Despite Higher Revenue

Meantime, Universal Logistics Holdings reported its net income in the first three months of the year fell 43% from the same time in 2016, totaling $4.3 million.

Earnings per share were 15 cents, matching Wall Street expectations, compared to 26 cents a year earlier.

The declines came despite revenue increasing to $284.4 million from $260.4 million as it reported increased revenue from its truckload, brokerage, intermodal, dedicated, and value-added services segments.

According to the company, the overall decrease is primarily attributable to lower operating margins and higher launch costs at a few of its major value-added operations.

"We are very excited to see top-line revenue growth in every one of our service categories and even more so, to see double-digit growth in several of them,” said Jeff Rogers, CEO. “Despite numerous positive signs, we are still facing real challenges at a few of our large value-added programs.  We have experienced certain production issues and on-going launch costs that have depressed the performance of these operations. Although we are making progress, additional improvement is required in order to reach the level of profitability that we expect.”

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