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ArcBest sees ‘record profitability’ in Q1

ArcBest announced Friday “record profitability” during the 2022 first quarter. The transportation and logistics company reported adjusted earnings per share of $3.08, well ahead of the $2.13 consensus estimate as reported by Seeking Alpha.

“Our strategy is working, underscored by improved operating margins across the business, and we are aggressively investing in our vision to ensure we continue innovating, developing our talent, enhancing our ability to serve customers and driving incremental revenue growth,” Judy McReynolds, chairman, president and CEO, stated in a press release.

ArcBest’s (NASDAQ: ARCB) asset-based segment, which includes less-than-truckload operations, reported a 27% year-over-year increase in revenue to $705 million. Revenue per hundredweight, or yield, was up 21%, with tonnage increasing 4%. Higher yields pushed most expense lines lower as a percentage of revenue. The salaries, wages and benefits line declined 690 basis points even though ABF Freight added more than 600 employees in the quarter.

The division posted an 87.7% operating ratio, 570 bps better year-over-year. The asset-based unit normally sees 250 bps of margin erosion from the fourth to the first quarter.

Preliminary results for April show asset-based revenue per day is up 23% year-over-year, with higher yields (+21% on average) leading the way. Tonnage per day is up only 2% in the month, but that compares to an April 2021 comp (+29%) that benefited from soft demand in April 2020 as the pandemic shut down large portions of the economy.

“Excluding comparisons to the last two pandemic years, the year-over-year and sequential changes in total tonnage in April 2022 were some of the best in the last eleven years,” a separate filing read. 

The asset-light segment saw revenue more than double to $674 million. The revenue jump included the November acquisition of Chicago-based truckload broker MoLo Solutions. “Enhanced customer demand and higher market rates” were cited as driving 40 bps of OR improvement to 95.9%.

Revenue per day in the asset-light unit is up 124% year-over-year so far in April.

On Thursday, ArcBest announced that a continuation of strong cash flows prompted the board to raise the company’s share repurchase authorization to $75 million from the $42 million remaining. It also raised the quarterly dividend 50% to 12 cents per share.

The company completed a $100 million accelerated share repurchase in January.

ArcBest will host a call at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday with analysts to discuss results. Stay tuned to FreightWaves for continuing earnings coverage of ArcBest

Table: ArcBest’s key performance indicators

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The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Schneider (No. 7), ArcBest (No. 26) and Forward Air (No. 37).