USA Truck posts 3Q net loss, declines Celadon meeting

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USA Truck Inc. on Friday, Oct. 21, announced base revenue of $102.6 million for the 2011 third quarter ended Sept. 30, an increase of 1.9 percent from $100.8 million for the same quarter of 2010. Net loss was $4.3 million compared to net income of $0.6 million.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, base revenue increased 9.1 percent to $310.8 million from $284.9 million for the same period of 2010. The Van Buren, Ark.-based company incurred a net loss of $6.4 million compared to a net loss of $1.5 million.

“The third quarter of 2011 presented several challenges,” said Cliff Beckham, president and chief executive officer. “These included a major operating system transition, softer-than-expected freight volumes and a persistently high number of unmanned tractors. We were unable to overcome these challenges and produce sufficient revenue to operate profitably. We have addressed a number of the underlying problems, but we still have work to do in order to achieve sustained profitability.”

Beckham said driver wages, net fuel cost, equipment repairs, and insurance and claims all increased on a per-mile basis. “These increases more than offset our increase in trucking revenue per mile,” he said. “In addition, the decrease in tractor utilization less effectively covered our fixed costs, and increased empty miles percentage hurt fuel surcharge recovery as well as overall base revenue per mile.

USA Truck said its board of directors has considered the recent Schedule 13D filed by Celadon Group Inc., as well as Celadon’s request for a meeting with USA Truck’s management. After considering recent management changes and a desire to remain focused on increasing value through operational improvements, the board unanimously decided to decline a meeting. Celadon, based in Indianapolis, has purchased a 6.3% stake in USA Truck.