Market Overview

Rush Enterprises, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2018 Results and Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

Share:
  • Annual revenues of $5.5 billion; net income of $139.1 million
  • Earnings per diluted share of $3.45
  • Execution and expansion of strategic initiatives along with healthy economy contributed to
    strong financial performance
  • Annual absorption ratio 122.4%
  • Company declares cash dividend of $0.12 per share of Class A and Class B common stock

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rush Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:RUSHA, RUSHB)), which operates the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in North America, today announced that for the year ended December 31, 2018, the Company achieved revenues of $5.5 billion and net income of $139.1 million, or $3.45 per diluted share, compared with revenues of $4.7 billion and net income of $172.1 million, or $4.20 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2017.  Additionally, today the Company's Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.12 per share of Class A and Class B Common Stock, to be paid on March 15, 2019, to all shareholders of record as of February 25, 2019.

During 2018, the Company incurred a non-cash charge to amortization expense and a charge to selling, general and administrative expense totaling $20.9 million associated with the upgrade and replacement of certain components of the Company's Enterprise Resource Planning software platform (ERP Platform).  Excluding the charge related to the ERP Platform, the Company's adjusted net income in 2018 was $154.9 million ($3.85 per diluted share).  In 2017, pretax income was reduced by $7.2 million due to the Company's decision to pay a one-time discretionary bonus to all of its employees as a result of the tax reform legislation passed in December 2017.  Also as a result of the tax reform legislation, the Company's tax expense in 2017 was reduced by $82.9 million.  Excluding the one-time discretionary bonus and the one-time tax benefits, the Company's adjusted net income in 2017 was $93.7 million ($2.28 per diluted share).

"We are incredibly proud of our outstanding financial performance in 2018," said W.M. "Rusty" Rush, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Rush Enterprises, Inc.  "We remain committed to executing our strategic initiatives, including our aftermarket growth initiatives, which continue to positively impact our results.  In addition to our success in executing our strategic initiatives, the overall health of the economy, strong freight demand and continued activity in the markets we support also contributed to our success in 2018," he added.

"As always, it is important that I recognize our employees who once again did a great job supporting our customers and each other throughout 2018.  It is because of their valuable contributions that our company was able to have such a successful year," Rush said.

Operations

Aftermarket Solutions

Aftermarket products and services accounted for 63.4% of the Company's total gross profits in 2018, with parts, service and collision center revenues reaching $1.7 billion, up 13.5% over 2017.  The Company achieved an annual absorption ratio of 122.4%. 

"In 2018, we continued to focus on our strategic initiatives, which, along with the solid economy and widespread aftermarket activity, especially with respect to our refuse, construction and over-the-road customers, positively impacted our financial results," said Rush.  "Our team of talented service technicians grew by 12.5%, which allowed us to better utilize our facilities and serve customers across our dealership network.  This increase in technicians, along with the related investments we made in training and employee retention, demonstrate our commitment to achieving our parts and service goals and directly contributed to our strong aftermarket products and service performance in 2018," said Rush.

"Throughout 2018, we continued to invest in both internal and customer-facing technologies that allow us to work more efficiently and deliver best-in-class integrated solutions to our customers.  Our expanded all-makes parts product lines, additional parts and service locations and increased hours of service across our dealership network allow us to provide better support to customers and improve customer up time when and where they need us," Rush said.

"Though we expect parts and service activity to remain strong in 2019, we anticipate that the pace of growth in the industry-wide parts and service market will slow slightly in 2019 compared to 2018.  However, we expect our aftermarket strategic initiatives to enable us to outpace the industry in 2019 as we continue to invest in people and technology and implement certain customer-facing software solutions that we plan to roll out this year," said Rush.  "We also have ambitious recruiting objectives for both service technicians and aftermarket sales representatives in 2019 and expect the number of employees in these positions will continue to grow."

Truck Sales

In 2018, Rush Class 8 retail sales accounted for 5.7% of the total U.S. Class 8 market, compared to 6.6% in 2017.  The Company sold 14,666 Class 8 trucks in 2018, an increase of 12.1% compared to 2017.

"Widespread activity across all market segments and geographies, driven by a robust economy, contributed to our strong Class 8 new truck sales performance in 2018," said Rush.  "Our market share is down somewhat compared to 2017, primarily due to the timing of customer purchases and the industry increase in large over-the-road fleet deliveries in 2018, but we remain proud of our solid performance.  It is important to note that our fourth quarter new truck sales improved by 42% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, making it the strongest truck sales quarter in our company's history," he added.

ACT Research forecasts U.S. retail sales of Class 8 trucks to total 259,500 units in 2019, a 1.5% increase compared to 2018.

"The industry-wide new truck order backlog for 2019 is nearly full, and we believe truck sales in the first half of 2019 will continue at the same pace as the second half of 2018," Rush said.  "While the current outlook for 2019 Class 8 retail truck sales is strong, our team will closely monitor cancellations, used truck values, freight rates and other market factors which could impact sales volumes in the latter half of 2019," he added.

"We believe our Class 8 new truck sales in 2019 will remain on pace with the industry," Rush said.  "We continue to support customers with a broad range of vehicle technologies, and we are proud to represent manufacturers who continue to introduce innovative new products to the market," noted Rush.

"Our used truck sales increased 13.6% in 2018 compared to 2017 due to steady demand resulting from healthy freight rates and extended delivery times for new truck orders," said Rush.  "Used truck values remained stable throughout 2018, but the expected increase in used truck supply in 2019, coupled with expected flatter freight rates, will likely put pressure on used truck values," said Rush.  "We carefully monitor the used truck market and believe we are well positioned to support demand with our current inventory and pricing levels," he said.  

Rush's U.S. Class 4-7 medium-duty truck sales reached 12,949 units in 2018, an 18.2% increase compared to 2017.  Rush's medium-duty new truck sales accounted for 5.0% of the total U.S. Class 4-7 market in 2018. "Similar to Class 8 sales, our Class 4-7 new unit sales increased 37% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017," said Rush.

"With our focus on providing ready-to-roll medium-duty inventory nationwide, particularly to customers in the construction sector, our Class 4-7 truck sales significantly outpaced the market in 2018, resulting in a record year for new Class 4-7 truck sales," said Rush. 

ACT Research forecasts U.S. retail sales of Class 4-7 vehicles to reach 262,300 units in 2019, a 1.6% increase over 2018.

"We expect another strong year in the Class 4-7 market in 2019, and we believe our performance will be consistent with 2018 due to continued growth across the markets we support and our unparalleled ability to provide customers with work-ready inventory across the country," Rush added.

Financial Highlights

For the year ended December 31, 2018, the Company's gross revenues totaled $5.5 billion, compared to gross revenues of $4.7 billion reported in 2017.  The Company reported net income for the year of $139.1 million, or $3.45 per diluted share, compared with net income of $172.1 million, or $4.20 per diluted share in 2017.  During 2018, the Company incurred a non-cash charge to amortization expense and a charge to selling, general and administrative expense totaling $20.9 million associated with the upgrade and replacement of certain components of the Company's Enterprise Resource Planning software platform (ERP Platform).  Excluding the charge related to the ERP Platform, the Company's adjusted net income in 2018 was $154.9 million ($3.85 per diluted share).  In 2017, pretax income was reduced by $7.2 million due to the Company's decision to pay a one-time discretionary bonus to all of its employees as a result of the tax reform legislation passed in December 2017.  Also as a result of the tax reform legislation, the Company's tax expense in 2017 was reduced by $82.9 million.  Excluding the one-time discretionary bonus and the one-time tax benefits, the Company's adjusted net income in 2017 was $93.7 million ($2.28 per diluted share).

Aftermarket products and services revenues were $1.7 billion in the year ended 2018, compared to $1.5 billion in the year ended 2017.  The Company sold 37,797 new and used commercial vehicles in 2018, a 15.4% increase compared to 32,756 new and used commercial vehicles in 2017.  The Company delivered 14,666 new heavy-duty trucks, 12,949 new medium-duty commercial vehicles, 2,161 new light-duty commercial vehicles and 8,021 used commercial vehicles during 2018, compared to 13,083 new heavy-duty trucks, 10,952 new medium-duty commercial vehicles, 1,661 new light-duty commercial vehicles and 7,060 used commercial vehicles during 2017.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company's gross revenues totaled $1.5 billion, compared to gross revenues of $1.2 billion reported for the fourth quarter of 2017.  Net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 was $47.0 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, compared to $105.9 million, or $2.54 per diluted share, in the quarter ended December 31, 2017.  In 2017, pretax income was reduced by $7.2 million due to the Company's decision to pay a one-time discretionary bonus to all of its employees in December 2017.  Also as a result of the tax reform legislation passed in December 2017, the Company's tax expense in 2017 was reduced by $82.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.  Excluding the one-time discretionary bonus and the one-time tax benefits, the Company's adjusted net income in the fourth quarter of 2017 was $27.6 million ($0.66 per diluted share).

Aftermarket product and services revenues were $420.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to $378.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.  The Company's absorption ratio was 124.3% in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to 128.0% in the fourth quarter of 2017.  The Company delivered 4,811 new heavy-duty trucks, 3,421 new medium-duty commercial vehicles, 487 new light-duty commercial vehicles and 1,895 used commercial vehicles during the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to 3,378 new heavy-duty trucks, 2,498 new medium-duty commercial vehicles, 394 new light-duty commercial vehicles and 1,863 used commercial vehicles during the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Company increased its lease and rental revenues by 9.6% and expanded leasing and rental margins in 2018, primarily due to increased rental fleet demand and utilization, along with reduced operating costs and successful execution of its leasing service model designed to maximize uptime for customers.  Rush Truck Leasing now operates 45 PacLease and Idealease franchises in markets across the country with more than 8,100 trucks in its lease and rental fleet and more than 1,000 trucks under contract maintenance agreements.

"As in previous years, employee benefits and payroll taxes will negatively impact expenses in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the fourth quarter of 2018," said Rush. 

"During 2018, we repurchased $125.2 million of stock, and in October, we adopted a repurchase plan that allows us to repurchase $150 million of stock through December 31, 2019.  As of December 31, 2018, there is $84.1 million remaining to spend under the plan.  Further, we paid two cash dividends totaling $9.3 million to shareholders, reflecting our focus on enhancing shareholder value and our commitment to our capital allocation strategy.  In addition to our commitment to our shareholder return programs, we also continued to invest in our strategic initiatives, and we ended the year in a strong financial position with $131.7 million in cash," Rush said.

Network Expansion

"As always, we remain committed to expanding our commercial vehicle dealership network," said Rush.  "Since the beginning of 2018, we have opened full-service Peterbilt dealerships in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Victoria and Beaumont, Texas.  We also opened new parts and service locations in Adairsville and Savannah, Georgia, a used truck location in Miami, Florida, and a location in Memphis, Tennessee, which offers used truck sales as well as all-makes parts and service.   In addition, we expanded our Rush Truck Leasing facility in Birmingham, Alabama to offer used trucks and all-makes parts," Rush added. 

"Last week, we announced that one of our subsidiaries plans to enter into an agreement with Tallman Group, the largest International Truck dealer in Canada, to form Rush Truck Centres of Canada Limited, which will operate Tallman Group's network of commercial vehicle dealerships in the Province of Ontario, Canada.  Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to customary closing conditions, a subsidiary of the Company will purchase 50% of the equity in Rush Truck Centres of Canada Limited.   This is a significant transaction for Rush Enterprises because it is our first investment in operations outside of the United States.  The transaction is scheduled to close on February 25, and we are looking forward to providing Tallman Group's customers with best-in-class service by combining our technology solutions with the operational abilities of Tallman Group," Rush said. 

"I am also pleased to announce that we acquired certain assets of Country Ford, a Ford commercial vehicle dealership in Ceres, California on February 11, 2019.  This dealership is operating as Rush Truck Center – Ceres and offers of a full range of Ford trucks, as well as parts and service," Rush added.

Conference Call Information

Rush Enterprises will host its quarterly conference call to discuss earnings for the fourth quarter and year-end on Thursday, February 14, 2019, at 10 a.m. Eastern/9 a.m. Central.  The call can be heard live by dialing 877-638-4557 (US) or 914-495-8522 (International), conference ID 8859977 or via the Internet at http://investor.rushenterprises.com/events.cfm

For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, the webcast will be available on our website at the above link until April 15, 2019.  Listen to the audio replay until February 21, 2019, by dialing 855-859-2056 (US) or 404-537-3406 (International) and entering the conference ID 8859977.

About Rush Enterprises, Inc.

Rush Enterprises, Inc. is the premier solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry. The Company owns and operates Rush Truck Centers, the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in the United States, with more than 100 dealership locations in 22 states. These vehicle centers, strategically located in high traffic areas on or near major highways throughout the United States, represent truck and bus manufacturers, including Peterbilt, International, Hino, Isuzu, Ford, Mitsubishi, IC Bus and Blue Bird. They offer an integrated approach to meeting customer needs — from sales of new and used vehicles to aftermarket parts, service and collision center operations plus financing, insurance, leasing and rental. Rush Enterprises' operations also provide vehicle upfitting, CNG fuel systems and vehicle telematics products. Additional information about Rush Enterprises' products and services is available at www.rushenterprises.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @rushtruckcenter and on Facebook at facebook.com/rushtruckcenters.

Certain statements contained herein, including those concerning current and projected market conditions, sales forecasts, market share forecasts, demand for the Company's services, the impact of strategic initiatives and the Company's capital allocation strategy, including future issuances of cash dividends and future repurchases of the Company's common stock, are "forward-looking" statements (as such term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995). Because such statements include risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, competitive factors, general U.S. economic conditions, economic conditions in the new and used commercial vehicle markets, customer relations, relationships with vendors, the interest rate environment, governmental regulation and supervision, product introductions and acceptance, changes in industry practices, one-time events and other factors described herein and in filings made by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the declaration and payment of cash dividends and authorization of future share repurchase programs remains at the sole discretion of the Company's Board of Directors and the issuance of future dividends and authorization of future share repurchase programs will depend upon the Company's financial results, cash requirements, future prospects, applicable law and other factors that may be deemed relevant by the Company's Board of Directors.

 
-Tables and Additional Information to Follow-
 
 
 
RUSH ENTERPRISES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In Thousands, Except Shares and Per Share Amounts)
 
  December 31,   December 31,
    2018       2017  
   (Unaudited)    
Assets      
Current assets:      
  Cash and cash equivalents $   131,726     $   124,541  
  Accounts receivable, net     190,650         183,875  
  Note receivable affiliate   12,885       11,914  
  Inventories, net   1,339,923       1,033,294  
  Prepaid expenses and other     10,491         11,969  
  Assets held for sale   2,269       9,505  
Total current assets   1,687,944       1,375,098  
Investments   –        6,375  
Property and equipment, net   1,184,053       1,159,595  
Goodwill   291,391       291,391  
Other assets, net     37,962         57,680  
Total assets $ 3,201,350     $ 2,890,1
View Comments and Join the Discussion!