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Marten Transport Announces First Quarter Results

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MONDOVI, Wis., April 16, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marten Transport, Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRTN) today reported a 31.1% improvement in net income to $13.5 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019, from $10.3 million, or 19 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2018.

Operating revenue improved 6.5% to $199.0 million for the first quarter of 2019 from $187.0 million for the first quarter of 2018, and improved 12.3% to $799.7 million for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2019 from $711.9 million for the similar period ended March 31, 2018. Excluding fuel surcharges, operating revenue improved 7.1% to $175.5 million for the 2019 quarter from $163.8 million for the 2018 quarter. Fuel surcharge revenue increased slightly to $23.6 million from $23.1 million over the same periods.

Operating income improved 30.4% to $17.7 million for the first quarter of 2019 from $13.6 million for the first quarter of 2018, and improved 31.8% to $74.5 million for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2019 from $56.5 million for the similar period ended March 31, 2018. 

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue improved to 91.1% for the first quarter of 2019 from 92.7% for the first quarter of 2018. Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, improved to 89.9% from 91.7% over the same periods.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue improved to 90.7% for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2019 from 92.1% for the similar period ended March 31, 2018. Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, improved to 89.3% from 91.1% over the same periods.

       
  Operating Results Comparison    
       
  Net income and diluted earnings per common share presented below for the TTM ended Mar. 31, 2018 exclude a $56.5 million deferred income tax benefit in the fourth quarter of 2017. Net income including the benefit for the TTM ended Mar. 31, 2018 was $92.4 million, or $1.68 per diluted share.      
       
      Percentage     Percentage  
      Change     Change  
      Three Months   Trailing Trailing Twelve  
    Three Months Ended   Twelve Months Months Ended  
    Ended Mar. 31, Mar. 31,   Ended Mar. 31, Mar. 31,  
  (Dollars in thousands, except share information) 2019 2018 2019 vs. 2018   2019 2018 2019 vs. 2018  
                                 
  Operating revenue  $ 199,023 $ 186,960   6.5    $ 799,657 $ 711,921    12.3 %  
                                   
  Operating income  $ 17,733 $ 13,594     30.4 %    $ 74,487 $ 56,518   31.8 %  
                                   
  Net income $ 13,546 $ 10,331   31.1 %   $ 58,242 $ 35,936   62.1 %  
                                   
  Diluted earnings per common share $ 0.25 $ 0.19   31.2 %   $ 1.06 $ 0.65   61.6 %  
                                 
  Operating ratio, excluding fuel surcharges   89.9 % 91.7 %         89.3 % 91.1 %      
       

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randolph L. Marten said, "We are pleased to report our continued strong top- and bottom-line results for this quarter, which produced our best-ever first-quarter operating revenue, operating income and net income. Our 30.4% year-over-year improvement in operating income for the first quarter consistently furthers our 31.8% operating income increase in the last twelve months. We expect to see strong demand throughout 2019 for our premium services with our diversified base of over 650 customers. We added 65 Truckload and 51 Dedicated tractors during the first quarter, and we expect to build on this success in recruiting and retaining the industry's top, experienced drivers to increase our capacity to service our existing and new customers. In addition, we enhanced our balance sheet position with $85.5 million in cash at March 31, 2019, up from $56.8 million at the beginning of the year."

"A number of our customer agreements included a shift beginning mid-first quarter last year from line haul to fuel surcharge revenue, which reduced our Dedicated and Truckload revenue excluding fuel surcharges by $2.9 million and $782,000, respectively, for this year's first quarter, and by $1.4 million and $282,000, respectively, for the first quarter of 2018. Our fuel surcharge revenue increased in both periods by the same amounts."

Marten Transport, with headquarters in Mondovi, Wis., is a multifaceted business offering a network of truck-based transportation capabilities across the Company's five distinct business platforms - Truckload, Dedicated, Intermodal, Brokerage and MRTN de Mexico. Marten is one of the leading temperature-sensitive truckload carriers in the United States, specializing in transporting and distributing food and other consumer packaged goods that require a temperature-controlled or insulated environment. Marten's dry freight services are expanding, with 1,596 dry vans operating as of March 31, 2019. The Company offers service in the United States, Canada and Mexico, concentrating on expedited movements for high-volume customers. Marten's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol MRTN.

This press release contains certain statements that may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These

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