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USA Truck’s adjusted Q2 loss modestly better than expected

Second-quarter loss was carrier’s smallest in a year

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)


Truckload (TL) carrier USA Truck (NASDAQ: USAK) reported a second-quarter 2020 adjusted net loss of $513,000, or 6 cents per share, compared to analysts’ forecasts for a 9-cent-per-share loss.

Consolidated revenue declined 7.4% year-over-year to $124 million, down only 3% excluding fuel surcharge revenue.

“The second quarter of 2020 was unlike any quarter we have seen in transportation, producing unprecedented day to day and week to week swings in freight and pricing due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated President and CEO James Reed in the company’s Monday press release issued after the market close.

The company’s trucking division reported an 8% year-over-year decline in revenue as revenue per tractor per week fell 10.4%. Average tractor count increased 126 units compared to the year-ago period, but loaded miles per tractor per week declined 4.9% with revenue per loaded mile dropping 5.7%.

The carrier reported that approximately 80% of its customer base is considered “essential/quasi-essential,” forcing it to take on “lower priced spot freight” and driving revenue per tractor lower in the quarter. Even with the headwinds, the division’s adjusted operating ratio improved 80 basis points year-over-year to 97.8%. As a percentage of base revenue, fuel expense was 500 basis points lower year-over-year and insurance and claims expense was 260 basis points lower.

USA Truck’s key performance indicators

Load count in the logistics segment increased 16% year-over-year, but revenue per load declined 15.6% as spot prices “alternated between near all-time lows and near all-time highs all within the same quarter.” Revenue per load was down 11.8% sequentially from the first quarter. Gross margins were 430 basis points lower at 12.2%. The division posted a $172,000 adjusted operating loss compared to $1.1 million in adjusted operating income in the 2019 second quarter.

The carrier ended the quarter with $189.4 million in net debt including lease liabilities. Net debt-to-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and rent (EBITDAR) was 4.1x compared to 4.2x at the end of the first quarter and 3.7x at the end of 2019. USA Truck had $38 million available to borrow under its credit facility at the end of the period.

“We believe we are well positioned as market capacity is tightening: we continue to focus on providing great service to our customers, improving utilization on our trucks, and increasing volumes through our USAT Logistics segment,” Reed concluded.

The company will host a conference call to discuss second-quarter results Tuesday at 9 a.m. Stay tuned to FreightWaves for more coverage on USA Truck’s earnings report.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.