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Covenant beats expectations, delivers upbeat forecast

Freight revenue increases 27% year-over-year to $267 million

Covenant had earnings per share of $1.07 and revenue of $294 million in Q4 2021. It was the second consecutive quarter the company topped analysts estimates for earnings and revenue. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Covenant Logistics Group reported Wednesday after the market close fourth-quarter earnings of $1.07 per share on total revenue of $294.2 million, a 31% increase compared to the same period in 2020.

Covenant beat analysts’ expectations for earnings per share of $1.04 and revenue of $282 million in Q4 2021. It was the second consecutive quarter the company topped estimates for earnings and revenue.

Covenant’s (NASDAQ: CVLG) total freight revenue excluding fuel surcharges increased 27% year-over-year to $267 million.

The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based truckload carrier said the outlook is for continued operational progress during 2022.

“For at least the first few months of 2022, we anticipate a strong freight market accompanied by constrained capacity due to a national driver and equipment shortage,” David R. Parker, Covenant’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.  

Covenant’s managed freight division posted the largest gain during the fourth quarter, increasing revenue $43.2 million, or 66.7%, year-over-year to $108.1 million.

“Managed freight’s favorable results for the quarter were primarily attributable to the robust freight market, executing various spot rate opportunities and handling overflow freight from both expedited and dedicated truckload operations,” Parker said.

Covenant Logistics GroupQ4/21Q4/20Y/Y% Change
Total Revenue$294.2$225.230.7%
Truckload Combined:
Freight Revenue (ex fuel)$142.6$131.48.5%
Average Tractors2,2942,480(7.5%)
Revenue per Loaded Mile$2.53$2.1119.9%
Revenue per Total Mile$2.24$1.9017.8%
Adjusted OR%96%97.9%(1.9%)
Managed Freight:
Adjusted Operating Income$11$5.5107%
Adjusted OR%89.8%91.5%(1.8%)
Expedited Freight:
Revenue (ex fuel)$71.7$69.43.3%
Adjusted Operating Income$5.5$6.1(9.8%)
Adjusted OR%92.2%91.2%1%
Dedicated Freight:
Revenue (ex fuel)$70.8$61.914.3%
Adjusted Operating Income$1.5$73k2042%
Adjusted OR%97.8%99.9%(2.1%)
Adjusted EPS$1.07$0.6175.4%
Revenue & operating income in millions

Revenue in the company’s combined truckload operations increased 16.5% to $169.7 million. Covenant’s tractor count for the quarter declined 7.5% to 2,294, while the trailer count declined 5.6% to 5,331.

Revenue per tractor per week increased 17% to $4,732. Miles per tractor declined less than 1% year-over-year to 27,805 during the fourth quarter, while freight revenue per total miles increased from $1.90 to $2.24.

The combined truckload segment posted a 96% adjusted operating ratio during the fourth quarter, compared to 97.9% during the same period in 2020.

Covenant’s expedited segment posted revenue of $71.7 million during the quarter, a 3.4% increase from the prior-year period. Dedicated freight saw revenue increase 14.4% year-over-year to $70.8 million.

For the fourth quarter, Covenant’s warehousing freight revenue increased 11.4% to $16.2 million.

The company will host a call at 10 a.m. Thursday to discuss the fourth-quarter results with analysts.

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Covenant Logistics Group (No. 45).

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]