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J.B. Hunt falls short in Q4

J.B. Hunt reported a large headline miss to the fourth-quarter consensus estimate Wednesday before the market opened. Earnings per share of $1.92 were more than 50 cents below analysts’ expectations. However, the number included a $64 million increase in casualty claim expenses, which was a 46 cent hit.

Specific details regarding the incremental expenses were not provided but J.B. Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ: JBHT) scheduled a conference call for 9 a.m. Wednesday to discuss results with analysts.

“JBHT’s underlying operating profit came in at $346 million vs. consensus of $348 million. We exclude the $64 million of pre-tax casualty insurance expense, which likely included some year-end true ups given the magnitude of the charge,” Deutsche Bank’s (NYSE: DB) Amit Mehrotra explained to investors following the release.

Consolidated revenue increased 4% year over year (y/y) to $3.65 billion but was down 3% y/y excluding the impact from fuel surcharges.

Brokerage revenue fell 33% y/y to $496 million as loads were down 27% and revenue per load fell 9%. Truckload volumes on the platform were off 21% y/y. Excluding the impact from claims expense, operating income in the segment was $12.2 million, a 42% y/y decline.

Intermodal revenue was up 11% y/y to $1.75 billion as revenue per load increased 12% (up 6% excluding fuel) and loads dipped 1%.

The dedicated unit had another solid performance in the quarter. Revenue increased 24% y/y to $880 million as average trucks in service jumped 14% and revenue per truck per week increased 9% (up 3% excluding fuel). Higher pricing and improved utilization were the drivers of the increase.

Revenue in the company’s truckload unit was up 6% y/y but down 2% excluding fuel surcharges. Revenue per load (excluding fuel) was down 8% in the quarter. Loads were up 6%.

Stay tuned to FreightWaves for continuing coverage of J.B. Hunt’s earnings announcement.

More FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden