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ArcBest Q4 beats forecasts

Second consecutive year of bonuses to union employees

LTL tonnage up double-digits in Q4 (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Logistics provider ArcBest Corp. (NASDAQ: ARCB) reported Tuesday fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 97 cents, 5 cents ahead of consensus and 41 cents ahead of the 2019 period.

The asset-based segment, which includes less-than-truckload operations, reported an 8% year-over-year increase in revenue as tonnage increased by a similar amount with revenue per hundredweight, or yield, moving slightly higher.

LTL tonnage was up double-digit percentages, with weight per shipment increasing 10%. Yield was up in the low-single digits, excluding fuel surcharges, for traditional published LTL freight.

The division posted a 93.7% adjusted operating ratio, 130 basis points better year-over-year. The company reached a full-year OR of 95.3%, 94.2% on an adjusted basis, qualifying its union employees for a profit-sharing bonus for the second consecutive year.

A strong housing market was noted as a contributor to improved demand and heavier weights per shipment. Dockworker optimization and improved fleet metrics aided in the OR improvement.

“Year-over-year fourth-quarter revenue growth of nearly 14% and non-GAAP operating income growth of nearly 86% reflects improvements in the demand for our integrated capacity solutions in this environment and effective cost management,” said Chairman, President and CEO Judy McReynolds.

The asset-light segment reported a 27% year-over-year increase in revenue with a 130-bp improvement in OR. A tight market for “logistics equipment and carrier resources” were the reasons for the improvement.

“Our execution during this unprecedented period is worth noting. As an essential business, our logistics solutions are aiding our customers and our society as we all navigate an uncertain event. I’m very proud of the way our employees are responding to customers’ needs for changes and continuing to strengthen our relationships while being flexible and adaptive,” McReynolds concluded.

The company will host a call at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday with analysts to discuss these results. Stayed tuned to FreightWaves for more earnings coverage of ArcBest.

Table: ArcBest’s key performance indicators

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Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.