Freight broker Echo Global Logistics rides a hot transportation market one last time, publicly at least, to beat third-quarter estimates on Tuesday. The company reported adjusted earnings of 93 cents per share, 20 cents ahead of consensus and more than double the year-ago result of 40 cents.
Echo’s consolidated revenue was up 43% year-over-year to $986 million in the quarter. A significant increase in revenue per load sent both truckload and less-than-truckload revenue higher.
Brokered TL volumes increased 15% year-over-year with revenue up 51% to $738 million. Less-than-truckload volumes were up 3% with revenue per load making up the rest of the 25% top-line increase to $220 million.
Transactional revenue accounted for 77% of total revenue with managed transportation providing the rest.
Adjusted gross profit increased 39% year-over-year to $139 million. The 14.1% adjusted gross profit margin was 40 basis points lower than the third quarter of 2020.
Brokerage companies continue to be top M&A targets for investors.
Last week, Hub Group (NASDAQ: HUBG) acquired refrigerated truck broker Choptank Transport for $130 million in cash. ArcBest (NASDAQ: ARCB) announced it is acquiring Chicago-based TL broker MoLo Solutions in September. That deal could easily exceed the initial $235 million purchase price. Uber Freight (NYSE: UBER) acquired Transplace in July for $2.25 billion.
The transaction for Echo still needs the blessing of shareholders and regulators but is expected to close in the fourth quarter. If successful, the deal represents a 54% premium to the Echo’s share price at the time of the announcement.
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