All three grew fourth-quarter revenue by at least 6 percent compared to 2017, but net income dipped.
Old Dominion Freight Line, Werner Enterprises and Echo Global Logistics all announced this week growth in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the same period from 2017, but net income in the fourth quarter was down across the board.
Old Dominion experienced the largest year-over-year fourth-quarter revenue increase of the three companies, growing 15.2 percent to $1.03 billion in the three-month period ending Dec. 31. The North Carolina-based company’s yearly total revenues grew 20.4 percent in 2018 to $4.04 billion.
Greg Gantt, president and CEO, credited the rise in fourth-quarter revenue to Old Dominion’s 12.9 percent increase in less than truckload (LTL) revenue per hundredweight and a 2.9 percent jump in LTL tonnage. The LTL tonnage increase included a 6.5 percent increase in LTL shipments, which were partially offset by a 3.3 percent decrease in LTL weight per shipment.
Operating income in the fourth quarter increased 52.6 percent to $218.85 million and nearly 42 percent in 2018 to $817.05 million.
Net income in the fourth quarter was $159.46 million, which was down 19.2 percent from 2017. Still, Old Dominion’s yearly profit grew 30.6 percent from 2017 to $605.67 million.
Old Dominion’s capital expenditures were $118.4 million in the fourth quarter and $588.3 million for the year. The company expects capital expenditures in 2019 of about $490 million, which includes $220 million for real estate and service center expansion projects, $175 million for tractors and trailers and $95 million for technology and other assets.
Werner reported a 14 percent increase in its 2018 fourth-quarter revenues, which grew to $646.37 million. Overall, the company’s yearly revenue grew 16 percent to $2.46 billion in 2018.
Fourth-quarter operating income rose 66 percent to $74.93 million and the 2018 full-year operating income increased 56 percent to $224.22 million.
The Omaha, Neb.-based company reported a 75 percent increase in net capital expenditures in 2018 from 2017, totaling $349 million. Net capital expenditures are “expected to moderate” in 2019, according to a press release.
“Beginning three years ago, we made significant investments in our ‘five Ts’ strategy of trucks, trailers, talent, technology and terminals,” said Derek Leathers, president and CEO. “Those investments, combined with our commitment to raise the bar on customer service, are delivering results.”
The company reported a 61 percent drop in fourth-quarter net income, which fell to $54.56 in the final three months of 2018. Net income also fell to $168.15 million in 2018, down 17 percent from the previous year.
Werner also is appealing a $90 million judgment against from May in which a jury in Houston found the company liable for a fatal 2014 crash. The company accrued $1.2 million of insurance and claims expense during the fourth quarter for post-judgment interest related to the verdict. The company expects to accrue $1.2 million every quarter until the outcome of the appeal is finalized.
Echo Global Logistics
Echo’s fourth-quarter revenue increase was the smallest among the three companies — up 6.4 percent from 2017 to $583 million — but its 2018 full-year revenue grew the most, increasing 25.6 percent to $2.44 billion.
The Chicago-based company reported its fourth-quarter net income was $6.9 million. The income was a 48 percent drop from the same 2017 period, which included an $8.9 million income tax benefit resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Overall in 2018 Echo’s net income grew to $28.7 million, a 127.5 percent jump from 2017.
Echo’s fourth-quarter managed transportation revenue increased 13.7 percent to $133.6 million, and its transactional revenue increase 3.7 percent to $449.3 million.
“We expect full-year 2019 revenue to be in the range of $2.35 billion to $2.55 billion,” said Echo CFO Kyle Sauers. “We also expect first-quarter revenue to be between $530 million and $570 million.”