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TFI profits jump by 33 percent in first quarter

TFI International’s truckload business includes U.S.-based CFI. Photo: TruckStockImages.com

TFI International (TSX:TFII) reported a robust start to 2019, as profits grew by 33 percent on solid performance across the company, including its core truckload business.

The Canadian transportation firm reported a net income of C$65.1 million or C$0.74 per share. (A Canadian dollar currently is valued at US$0.74.) for the first three months of 2019. This compares to C$50.4 million, or C$0.55 per share, during the first quarter of 2018.

TFI recorded revenue of $C1.23 billion, or C$1.10 billion excluding fuel surcharges, reflecting a 3 percent increase compared to 2018.

“The year is off to a strong start at TFI International, continuing our momentum that grew throughout 2018. We produced record first-quarter results due to our relentless focus on strong execution and profitable growth, regardless of the economic cycle,”  TFI CEO Alain Bédard said in a statement.

Improved execution was reflected in an improved adjusted operating ratio – 91.2 percent compared to 93.8 percent during the first quarter of 2018.

Operating income increased by 41 percent, to $C106.3 million, compared to $75.4 million in 2018. TFI saw higher incoming from each of its business segments.

Truckload, TFI’s largest business segment, generated income of $C50.7 million on revenues of $C527.1 million, compared to C$36.3 million on $C490 million during the first quarter of 2018.

The notable soft spot came from the logistics and last-mile segment, which saw revenue decline by 5 percent to C$224 million. Logistics and last-mile income remained relatively flat at $15.2 million despite the decline.

The results followed a record fourth quarter and full-year results reported in February. Annual adjusted net income rose by 67 percent, driven by strength in its truckload business and improved operating ratios.

Bédard subsequently told analysts that he expected 2019 would be a good year for TFI, though “probably not a stellar year for market conditions.”

TFI has been pushing outward with recent acquisitions in the U.S. and Canada. It announced in April that it will acquire assets of bankrupt Atlanta-based courier BeavEX.

That acquisition follows three acquisitions in the specialty truckload business in 2019: Schili, Aulick Leasing and Toronto Tanklines.

Montreal-based TFI has 26,487 trailers and 7,465 power units, and operates throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico.

TFI will discuss its earnings during a call with analysts on April 24.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

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