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    3.6%
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    -17.950
    -0.1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.680
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    159.000
    19.000
    13.6%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
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  • DATVF.DALLAX
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    4%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
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  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.968
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  • DATVF.PHLCHI
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  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.159
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  • DATVF.VEU
    1.717
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  • DATVF.VNU
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    2.1%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.327
    0.009
    0.7%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.563
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    3.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    12,193.510
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  • OTRI.USA
    19.070
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  • OTVI.USA
    12,187.120
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  • TLT.USA
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  • WAIT.USA
    159.000
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Company earningsLogisticsNewsTrucking

Universal Logistics ekes out flat Q4 in promising end to rough 2019

Company posts expected $8.6 million profit as intermodal helps offset declines from trucking and other divisions as new CEO looks to better performance in 2020.

Universal Logistics Holdings (NASDAQ: ULH) reported a modest drop in profits and revenue during the fourth quarter  – results that look pretty good in the context of a rough 2019.

The Warren, Mich,-based transportation and logistics provider posted net income of $8.6 million, or $0.32 per share on revenues of $375.9 million, in line with analysts expectations. The results are essentially flat compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, which saw a net income of $9.0 million, or $0.32, on revenues of $386.4 million.

Universal’s intermodal business surged during the quarter, increasing by $28.4 million to $112 million. Intermodal strength helped offset declines all of Universal’s other segments, led by a 20.8% decline in truckload services revenue. 

“We faced a soft freight environment, prolonged strike at a major customer and resolved a couple legacy legal matters. With much of these headwinds behind us, I firmly believe Universal is well positioned for even greater success in the future,” Universal’s newly appointed CEO Tim Phillips said in a statement. 

Phillips took over as CEO in January on the heels of a dismal third quarter. The company reported a net loss of $8.4 million in October citing a weak freight environment coupled with the General Motors strike and litigation costs.  Layoffs of port and intermodal drivers followed in December.

For the full year, Universal had net income of $37.6 million on revenue of $1.5 billion, versus a net income of $52.2 million in $1.46 billion in revenue in 2018.

Universal Logistics Holdings’ stock performance as seen on FreightWaves’ SONAR platform.

Universal said it expects slow growth in 2020, with operating revenues of $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion with margins in the 7% to 9% range.

The asset-light company discusses the results with analysts on Friday morning.

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Nate Tabak, Border & North America Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist who covers Canada for FreightWaves. He spent seven years as an investigative reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley. Contact Nate at ntabak@freightwaves.com.

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