Saia swings to $700,000 1Q profit

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Saia on Thursday, April 28, reported first-quarter 2011 net income of $700,000 compared to a loss of $3.2 million during the year-ago period. Revenue was up 15 percent to $243 million, reflecting both stronger tonnage and improved yield. Operating income was $4.1 million compared to a $2.1 million operating loss. Saia’s operating ratio was 98.3 vs. 101.0.

Less-than-truckload tonnage per workday was up 3.9 percent, LTL shipments per workday were up 2.2 percent with a 1.7 percent increase in weight per shipment, and LTL yield was up 8.2 percent due to pricing actions and increased fuel surcharge.

“Measured pricing actions initiated in 2010 continued successfully through the first quarter,” said Rick O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Saia, based in Johns Creek, Ga. “The resulting higher yield combined with the increased demand for our services were the primary drivers of our 2.7 point improvement in our operating ratio.”

O’Dell said meaningful margin advancement was achieved in spite of higher costs from purchased transportation, maintenance, accident severity and unusually harsh winter weather. “While our margins are not back to historical levels or our targeted returns, I am pleased with our progress, particularly with respect to achieving both significant yield improvement and tonnage gains,” he said. “Improving market fundamentals have allowed us to advance our targeted initiatives to secure customers that value our service quality, resulting in improving yields and business mix.”

O’Dell said he believes the industry remains in the early stages of the current yield recovery, with additional opportunities ahead. “During 2011, we will continue to focus on our core strategy of building density, enhancing customer satisfaction and reducing costs supported by engineered process improvements,” he said. “With industry dynamics improving, we feel that Saia’s broad coverage, strong service offering, focused pricing discipline and consistent cost execution provide a solid foundation for long-term profitable growth and increased shareholder and customer value.”