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Daseke Crushes Q3 Estimates, 2021 Outlook Tamped Down

Daseke Crushes Q3 Estimates, 2021 Outlook Tamped Down

Flatbed carrier Daseke Inc. (NASDAQ: DSKE) reported third-quarter earnings per share (EPS) of 22 cents, well ahead of consensus estimates ranging from a loss of 1 to 3 cents. Excluding the costs related to the company's restructuring and other nonrecurring items, the carrier reported adjusted EPS of 31 cents, a new record.

"While we continue to face demand headwinds that have negatively impacted the company's freight volumes and revenues, the significant work we have undertaken to improve our operational performance and our financial returns helped to more than overcome those top-line challenges," CEO Chris Easter said.

Total revenue declined 17% year-over-year to $376 million, down only 6% when excluding the 2019 contribution from the company's oil rig transportation unit Aveda, which was recently divested. Steps the company has taken to streamline operations and improve equipment utilization drove a 5% increase in freight revenue per tractor in its specialized segment and a 1% increase in the flatbed division.

"While there are still pockets of weakness in certain end markets, we are encouraged by the recent stabilization and sequential improvements across much of our business," Easter continued.

Daseke's consolidated adjusted operating ratio (OR) was 90.9%, 610 basis points better year-over-year. Consolidating the separate flatbed companies, business improvement plans and headcount reductions led to the record OR performance.

Management tamped down the 2021 outlook, acknowledging the quarter benefited from high-margined project business.

Daseke CFO Jason Bates added, "We anticipate consolidated freight volumes to continue to incrementally improve into next year, but given the record contributions from the wind energy and high-security cargo projects, a broader-based recovery across our diverse slate of industrial end markets will need to accelerate for us to repeat the 2020 trajectory."

Daseke will host a conference call at 11 a.m. EDT Friday to discuss third-quarter results with analysts. Stay tuned to FreightWaves for more coverage on Daseke's earnings report.

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