Fleet Management

Earnings Watch: Knight-Swift, C.H. Robinson Report Better Profits

January 30, 2018

By Evan Lockridge

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Truckload carrier Knight-Swift Transportation Tuesday reported the biggest gain in earnings seen so far this earnings season, while third-party logistics provider C.H Robinson Worldwide reported a more modest increase in profits.

Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. reported fourth quarter 2016 net income skyrocketed more than 1,900% from the same time a year ago, totaling $447.6 million, or $2,50 per share, a more than 800% increase.

Total revenue jumped 370% to nearly $1.36 billion. Operating income also rose more than 300% to $143.8 million.

Included in the results is an income tax benefit of $364.2 million representing the company’s estimate of the net impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by Congress during the quarter.

Also included in the results for the quarter are $10.3 million of amortization expense related to the intangible assets recorded in the 2017 merger between Knight and Swift and a $1.9 million charge for legal reserves related to settlement of certain class action lawsuits for Knight.

Excluding these special items, adjusted earnings per diluted share for the fourth quarter were 52 cents compared with 29 cents a year earlier.

For all of 2017, net income increased more than 400% to $484.3 million while revenue moved nearly 117% higher to more than $2.4 billion.

The company noted as it reported numbers that include results after the Sept. 8, 2017, merger with Swift, “comparisons to prior periods are not meaningful.”

“Our results for our first full quarter after the merger were encouraging, reflecting favorable market developments in freight demand as well as our early progress on synergies, sharing best practices between our brands and cost control,” said Dave Jackson, CEO. "The freight environment continued to strengthen in the fourth quarter and showed more staying power than is typical into late December and January.”

C.H. Robinson 4th Quarter Profit Rises Nearly 25%

At C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., fourth quarter 2017 net income improved 24.7% to $152.6 million, or to $1.08 per share, as net revenues moved 16% higher to a little less than $4 billion.

The increase in total revenues was driven by increased customer pricing, volume, and fuel costs in most transportation services, according to the company. Its total net revenues increased 12.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, totaling $631.8 million.

During the fourth quarter of 2017, the provision for income taxes decreased by $19.7 million, or 40.1%, due to the benefit of deductions under the Internal Revenue Code and $12.1 million due to the impact of the tax reform package, according to the company.

C.H. Robinson said the $12.1 million benefit resulting from tax reform was primarily the result of the revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities due to the decrease in the corporate federal income tax rate from 35% to 21% and was partially offset by the impact of certain transition taxes and other impacts of new tax package.

For all of 2017, the company reported net income declined 1.7% from the year before, totaling $504.9 million. In contrast, total revenue grew 13.1% from 2016 to more than $14.8 billion.

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