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Marten sets several records in a strong third quarter

Photo: Truckstockimages

Truckload carrier Marten Transport (NASDAQ: MRTN) recorded record net income and revenue in the third quarter, with its comparisons to the third quarter of last year coming in strong.

The comparisons to last year are significant, because companies started to warn last quarter that the comparisons they posted between the second quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of 2017 would start to narrow this quarter, given that the third quarter of 2017 was the start of the freight market’s bull run. But Marten’s numbers still showed strong “comps.”

The net income for the mostly refrigerated carrier was up 94.2% to $15.3 million, a record for any quarter, the company said in its earnings statement. Operating revenue was up 17% to just under $200 million. Excluding fuel surcharges, operating revenue was up 10.8% to $171.8 million.

However, higher expenses helped push down Marten’s operating ratio. The truckload OR declined to 89.3% from 93.7%; dedicated rose to 91.1% from 89.3%; intermodal slide to 90.3% from 92%; and the brokerage business rose to 94.2% from 93%. The company’s total consolidated OR was 90.5%, down from 92.4%, but in a prepared statement, chairman and CEO Randolph Marten said the company’s OR for the last 14 months, which was not disclosed, was a company record.

Expenses rose to $180.6 million for the quarter from $157.6 million, with compensation costs going to $64 million from $53.5 million in the third quarter of 2017.

The balance sheet at Marten held cash of $35.7 million at the end of the third quarter. At the start of the year, it was $15.8 million.

Marten does not hold an earnings call with investors.

According to SeekingAlpha, the company’s earnings per share based on GAAP parameters, at 28 cts per share, beat estimates by 3 cts. The revenue figure just under $200 million was a 17% “beat” against consensus projections.

Marten’s stock on Tuesday rose more than the broader market gains. Its stock closed at $20.06, up 59 cts for a gain of 3.03%. The broader S&P 500 was up 2.15%. 

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.