J.B. Hunt's Q3 earnings grew 14% from a year ago to US$78.2M as operating revenue grew to 10.5% US$1.3B; trucking segment revenue fell 8%, mainly due to a 9% drop in fleet size

LOWELL, Arkansas , October 12, 2012 (press release) – J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., (JBHT) announced third quarter 2012 net earnings of $78.2 million, or diluted earnings per share of 65 cents vs. third quarter 2011 net earnings of $68.7 million, or 57 cents per diluted share.

Total operating revenue for the current quarter was $1.3 billion, compared with $1.17 billion for the third quarter 2011. Load growth of 15% in Intermodal (JBI) and 38% in Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS) helped drive 15% and 30% increases in segment revenue, respectively. Dedicated Contract Services (DCS) segment increased operating revenue by only 1% primarily driven by the start up of new accounts occurring later than expected, while Truck (JBT) segment revenue declined primarily due to operating approximately 9% fewer trucks. Current quarter total operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 10.5% vs. the comparable quarter 2011.

Operating income for the current quarter totaled $133 million vs. $119 million for the third quarter 2011, as positive results from load growth and improved network balance in JBI and load growth in ICS were partially offset by cost pressures experienced in DCS and JBT.

Net earnings rose 14% to $78.2 million in the current quarter from $68.7 million in 2011, primarily due to the growth of revenue, slightly less interest expense and a slightly lower tax rate. The effective income tax rate for the quarter was in 38.25% in 2012 and 38.5% in 2011.

Segment Information:

Intermodal (JBI)

  • Third Quarter 2012 Segment Revenue: $794 million; up 15%
  • Third Quarter 2012 Operating Income: $97.9 million; up 25%
JBI segment revenue grew 15% on load volume that increased a similar 15% over the third quarter of 2011. Eastern network load growth and transcontinental load growth were 22% and 11%, respectively, primarily from the continued customer conversion of highway traffic to intermodal. The combination of traffic mix, customer rate increases and changes in fuel surcharges kept revenue per load virtually flat compared to a year ago.

Operating income increased 25% over the prior year. Positive results from steady load growth, improved container utilization and drayage efficiencies contributed to better overall network balance. Cost increases in rail purchase transportation and from shortages in the available driver market partially offset the benefits of improved operations.

Dedicated Contract Services (DCS)
  • Third Quarter 2012 Segment Revenue: $273 million; up 1%
  • Third Quarter 2012 Operating Income: $25.6 million; down 14%
DCS revenue increased 1% during the current quarter while revenue excluding fuel surcharges also increased 1%. Productivity (revenue per truck per week) decreased approximately 2% vs. 2011. New accounts provided a net additional 338 revenue producing trucks over the same period 2011.

Operating income decreased by 14% from a year ago primarily related to implementation costs incurred during the current quarter from several new customer accounts starting during the past four months. These implementation costs include, but are not limited to, significant efforts in driver hiring due to shortened lead times for contract start dates, personnel travel and relocation costs, equipment repositioning and costs to establish necessary telecommunications and operational system infrastructure. In addition to the higher implementation costs incurred during the quarter, safety, worker’s compensation and employee health care costs were a combined 15% higher than same quarter 2011.

Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS)
  • Third Quarter 2012 Segment Revenue: $121 million; up 30%
  • Third Quarter 2012 Operating Income: $5.5 million; up 43%
ICS revenue increased 30% in the current quarter, mostly due to a 38% increase in load volume compared to third quarter 2011. Both transactional and contractual business realized increased volumes, however, contractual business grew at a faster pace to become 64% of total volumes vs. 56% in third quarter 2011.

Operating income increased 43% over the same period 2011, primarily due to higher operating revenue and improved productivity from a more experienced workforce. Gross profit margin decreased to 12.8% in the current quarter vs. 13.5% last year. While there was some volatility in the market during the current quarter, customer demand remained relatively constant and purchased transportation costs were higher from a generally tighter supply of qualified transportation providers compared to a year ago. Our carrier base increased 12% and our employee count increased 16% vs. third quarter 2011.

Truck (JBT)
  • Third Quarter 2012 Segment Revenue: $117 million; down 8%
  • Third Quarter 2012 Operating Income: $4 million; down 41%
JBT revenue decreased 8% from the same period in 2011 on an approximate 9% reduction in fleet size. Revenue excluding fuel surcharges decreased 7%. Rates per mile, excluding fuel surcharge, increased 5.9% due largely to freight mix changes, spot pricing, and temporary customer fleet activity related to one-time weather events. Rates from consistent shippers increased 2.6% compared to same quarter a year ago. At the end of the period, JBT operated 2,381 tractors compared to 2,605 a year ago.

Operating income decreased 41% compared to third quarter 2011 as improved rates were not sufficient to offset lower utilization and increases in empty miles, employee health care costs, driver wages, and costs to attract independent contractors.

Cash Flow and Capitalization:

At September 30, 2012, we had a total of $645 million outstanding on various debt instruments compared to $768 million at September 30, 2011 and $749 million at December 31, 2011.

Our net capital expenditures for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 approximated $279 million compared to $324 million for the same period 2011. At September 30, 2012, we had cash and cash equivalents of $5.7 million compared to $7.7 million at September 30, 2011.

We did not purchase any shares of our common stock during the quarter. At September 30, 2012 we had approximately $503 million remaining under two separate share repurchase authorities. Actual shares outstanding at September 30, 2012 approximated 118.3 million.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements, which are based on information currently available. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors, including, but not limited to, those discussed in Item 1A of our Annual Report filed on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to the extent we become aware that it will not be achieved for any reason. This press release and additional information will be available immediately to interested parties on our web site, www.jbhunt.com.

J.B. HUNT TRANSPORT SERVICES, INC.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings
(in thousands, except per share data)
(unaudited)
                       
      Three Months Ended September 30
      2012       2011
          % Of           % Of
      Amount   Revenue       Amount   Revenue
                       
Operating revenues, excluding fuel surcharge revenues   $ 1,046,769         $ 947,381    
Fuel surcharge revenues     249,023           223,889    
Total operating revenues     1,295,792   100.0%       1,171,270   100.0%
                       
Operating expenses                      
Rents and purchased transportation     646,049   49.9%       552,509   47.2%
Salaries, wages and employee benefits     260,911   20.1%       255,982   21.9%
Fuel and fuel taxes     114,694   8.9%       117,779   10.1%
Depreciation and amortization     57,773   4.5%       54,404   4.6%
Operating supplies and expenses     48,281   3.7%       43,164   3.7%
Insurance and claims     13,745   1.1%       11,042   0.9%
General and administrative expenses, net of asset dispositions     9,369   0.6%       6,114   0.5%
Operating taxes and licenses     7,451   0.6%       7,095   0.6%
Communication and utilities     4,467   0.3%       4,501   0.4%
Total operating expenses     1,162,740   89.7%       1,052,590   89.9%
Operating income     133,052   10.3%       118,680   10.1%
Net interest expense     6,346   0.5%       7,145   0.6%
Earnings before income taxes     126,706   9.8%       111,535   9.5%
Income taxes     48,465   3.8%       42,885   3.6%
Net earnings   $ 78,241   6.0%     $ 68,650   5.9%
Average diluted shares outstanding     120,281           121,126    
Diluted earnings per share   $ 0.65         $ 0.57    
                       
                       
J.B. HUNT TRANSPORT SERVICES, INC.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings
(in thousands, except per share data)
(unaudited)
                       
      Nine Months Ended September 30
      2012       2011
          % Of           % Of
      Amount   Revenue       Amount   Revenue
                       
Operating revenues, excluding fuel surcharge revenues   $ 2,990,971         $ 2,703,670    
Fuel surcharge revenues     725,873           618,235    
Total operating revenues     3,716,844   100.0%       3,321,905   100.0%
                       
Operating expenses                      
Rents and purchased transportation     1,818,890   48.9%       1,542,901   46.4%
Salaries, wages and employee benefits     766,820   20.6%       743,470   22.4%
Fuel and fuel taxes     348,332   9.4%       347,030   10.4%
Depreciation and amortization     170,120   4.6%       158,312   4.8%
Operating supplies and expenses     133,632   3.6%       120,789   3.6%
Insurance and claims     37,385   1.0%       32,531   1.0%
General and administrative expenses, net of asset dispositions     19,718   0.5%       20,511   0.7%
Operating taxes and licenses     21,916   0.6%       20,626   0.6%
Communication and utilities     13,166   0.4%       13,789   0.4%
Total operating expenses     3,329,979   89.6%       2,999,959   90.3%
Operating income     386,865   10.4%       321,946   9.7%
Net interest expense     20,263   0.5%       22,286   0.7%
Earnings before income taxes     366,602   9.9%       299,660   9.0%
Income taxes     140,225   3.8%       115,219   3.4%
Net earnings   $ 226,377   6.1%     $ 184,441   5.6%
Average diluted shares outstanding     120,022           122,784    
Diluted earnings per share   $ 1.89         $ 1.50    

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