The trucking company Marten Transport Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRTN) on Tuesday announced slightly lower earnings for the fourth quarter of the year while seeing a 19.8% increase in its annual profit compared to a year earlier.

The Wisconsin-based operation had net income of $8.8 million in the final three months of last year, or 26 cents per diluted share, compared to $9 million, or 27 cents per diluted share a year earlier, which was a record.

The latest per share performance was 1-cent better than an estimate from Zacks Investment Research.

That was improved from the third quarter of 2015 when the company reported net income of $8.4 million or 25 cents per diluted share.

For 2015, net income totaled $35.7 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, up from $29.8 million or 89 cents per diluted share, during 2014.

Adjusted earnings for last year, which include disposing of facilities, diluted earnings per share were 26 cents for the fourth quarter and 99 cents for 2015. Net income improved 11.7% to $33.3 million, marking the highest adjusted net income for any year in Marten's history, according to the company.

Reflecting substantially lower fuel surcharges last year, revenue was $168.8 million for the 2015 quarter compared with $173.5 million for the 2014 quarter, and it was $665 million last year compared with $672.9 million for 2014.

"We have continued to demonstrate the strength of our multifaceted business model in 2015 despite a soft freight market since the second quarter,” said Chairman and CEO Randolph L. Marten.

He said the company increased its truckload and dedicated tractor count by 340 tractors, or 14.6%, during 2015 due to the continued expansion of its dedicated operations.

Total dedicated revenue increased 63.9% in the most recent quarter from a year ago to $36 million as fuel surcharge revenue fell 27.3%.

In Marten’s truckload operation, total revenue fell 14.7% from the final quarter of 2014 to $95.8 million in the most recent quarter but declined only 6.5% to $85.9 million with fuel surcharges removed.

Intermodal total revenue declined 20.2% from a year earlier to $17.7 million as revenue in the segment minus fuel surcharge declined 10.6% to $15.6 million.

Total brokerage revenue increased 13.2% in the final quarter of 2015 from the same time in 2014 to $19.2 million.

Overall operating income for Marten fell 7% in the most recent quarter to $15.2 million from a year earlier but was up 19.7% in 2015 from 2014 totaling $61.1 million

On the more positive note, Randolph Marten said, “In 2015, we organically grew our truckload and dedicated revenue, net of fuel surcharges, by 9.7%; our brokerage revenue by 24.8%; and our intermodal revenue, net of both fuel surcharges and revenue from our discontinued dry container service, by 14.2% while improving our operating ratio and earning the highest net income for any year in our history.”

More details on Marten Transport’s financial performance can be found on its website.

 

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