Arkansas Best Corporation Announces First Quarter 2012 Results

FORT SMITH, Ark., April 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Arkansas Best Corporation (Nasdaq: ABFS) today announced a first quarter 2012 net loss of $18.2 million, or $0.71 per share, compared to a net loss of $12.8 million, or $0.51 per share in the first quarter of 2011.  Arkansas Best's first quarter 2012 results were impacted by a number of unusual items which are listed below with the corresponding diluted per share effect:

  • Low corporate tax benefit rate – ($0.18/share)
  • High ABF workers' compensation costs – ($0.13/share)
  • Investments in sales, customer service and IT for all subsidiaries – ($0.12/share)

The unusually low corporate tax benefit rate is below historical levels because of limitations on the amount of deferred tax assets that could be recorded during the quarter.  Depending on the financial results during the remainder of the year, Arkansas Best's quarterly tax rates will vary and the 2012 full year tax rate could be substantially lower than past, full year tax rates.  ABF's workers' compensation claims costs were significantly above ten-year historical averages due to unfavorable severity on new and existing claims and increases in loss development, driven by claims experience.  This cost increase is very unusual for ABF.  On a positive note, organic investments are being made for ABF and the non-asset based subsidiaries in sales, customer service and information technology ("IT") to improve operating efficiencies and support specific growth opportunities.  The investments being made are expected to improve the operating results of these companies during 2012. 

In addition to the above-referenced unusual items, ABF results were also impacted by decisions to maintain customer service levels despite lower daily tonnage in the first quarter.  ABF's daily tonnage levels were impacted by pricing actions taken throughout 2011, and an economic environment that was sluggish and inconsistent, despite some improvement throughout the first quarter.  First quarter 2011 results included the effects of adverse weather which dampened that period's tonnage growth by approximately two percent.  As a result, first quarter 2012 tonnage is effectively below last year by over twelve and a half percent.  It is typical in the first quarter of each year for ABF to have lower business levels and changes in freight mix that reduce capacity utilization and cause a higher portion of ABF's cost structure to become fixed in nature, relative to the seasonally stronger periods of the year.  However, the level of daily tonnage declines in this year's first quarter exacerbated that effect.  An umber of items of note:

"Although first quarter results do not meet our expectations, we are positioning our company for longer term success," said Arkansas Best President and CEO, Judy R. McReynolds.  "The pricing measures we have taken have improved the incremental profitability of ABF's account base for future periods.  Our deliberate actions of adding personnel and developing enhanced information technology systems, all designed to advance a high level of service and facilitate future growth, are essential investments for our company.  Our customers value our reliability and dependability.  They are looking for a business partner who works closely with them to meet their unique logistics needs and requirements."

April 2012 Update

On a sequential basis versus the same period in March, tonnage trends in April 2012 are the best ABF has experienced in over 20 years.  The recent strength in business is associated with freight from new customers, additional shipments from existing accounts and the return of previously lost customers in response to service failures by competitors. Although, as expected, ABF's April 2012 tonnage is below the same period last year, the comparative trends are above expectations and encouraging. 

Continuing a trend that began in the second quarter of 2011, ABF was able to achieve superior, quarterly price increases in a multi-year effort to restore adequate pricing levels while emerging from the depths of a severe recession.  April 2012 revenue per hundredweight including fuel surcharge continues to be positive, reflecting an improved pricing environment.

Recent operational changes to ABF's labor contract were implemented, in a phased approach, from late March through the latter portion of April.  A positive impact from these changes should result from improved efficiencies, more flexible utilization of employees and enhancements in ABF's on-time delivery service.  This is an example of positive changes allowed by our existing contract that can benefit ABF, its customers and its employees.

Arkansas Best Corporation

Consolidated Results of Operations

First Quarter 2012

  • Revenue of $440.9 million, a per day increase of 0.6% over the prior year quarter of $434.9 million
  • Net loss of $0.71 per share compared to a net loss of $0.51 per share in the prior year quarter

Freight Transportation(1)

Results of Operations

First Quarter 2012

  • Revenue of $400.6 million compared to $397.3 million in first quarter 2011, unchanged on a per day basis
  • Tonnage per day decrease of 10.6% versus first quarter 2011
  • Total billed revenue per hundredweight of $27.60 compared to $24.76 in first quarter 2011, an increase of 11.5%
  • Operating loss of $22.0 million compared to an operating loss of $23.1 million in first quarter 2011
  • Operating ratio of 105.5% compared to an operating ratio of 105.8% in first quarter 2011

Truck Brokerage & Management(2)

Results of Operations

First Quarter 2012

  • Revenue of $8.0 million compared to $5.1 million in first quarter 2011, an increase of 57.6%
  • An increase in total shipments of 56.7% compared to first quarter 2011
  • Operating income of $0.4 million in both first quarter 2012 and 2011

Emergency and Preventative Maintenance(3)

Results of Operations

First Quarter 2012

  • Revenue of $22.4 million compared to $22.3 million in first quarter 2011, an increase of 0.5%
  • A decrease in customer emergency and maintenance service events of 9.4% compared to first quarter 2011 related to the effects of mild weather conditions
  • Operating loss of $0.1 million compared to operating income of $0.9 million in first quarter 2011

Special Services Logistics(4)

Results of Operations

First Quarter 2012

  • Revenue of $15.1 million compared to $15.9 million in first quarter 2011, a decrease of 5.2%
  • A decrease in total shipments of 9.0% compared to first quarter 2011
  • Operating loss of $0.8 million compared to operating income of $0.1 million in first quarter 2011

Conference Call

Arkansas Best Corporation will host a conference call with company executives to discuss the 2012 first quarter results.  The call will be today, Friday, April 27, at 9:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. CT).  Interested parties are invited to listen by calling (800) 926-5085.  Following the call, a recorded playback will be available through the end of the day on May 30, 2012.  To listen to the playback, dial (800) 633-8284 or (402) 977-9140 (for international callers).  The conference call ID for the playback is 21588087.  The conference call and playback can also be accessed, through May 30, on Arkansas Best's website at arkbest.com.

Company Description

Arkansas Best Corporation, headquartered in Fort Smith, Arkansas, is a freight transportation services and solutions provider.  Through its various subsidiaries, Arkansas Best offers a wide variety of logistics solutions including: domestic and global transportation of less-than-truckload ("LTL") and full load shipments, expedited and time-definite delivery solutions, freight brokerage, oversight of roadside assistance and equipment services for commercial vehicles, and household goods moving market services for consumers, corporations and the military. More information is available at arkbest.com and abf.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

The following is a "safe harbor" statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements contained in this report that are not based on historical facts are "forward-looking statements." Terms such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "intend," "plan," "predict," "prospects," "scheduled," "should," "would," and similar expressions and the negatives of such terms are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are by their nature subject to uncertainties and risk including, but not limited to, general economic conditions and related shifts in market demand that impact the performance and needs of industries served by Arkansas Best Corporation's subsidiaries and limit our customers' access to adequate financial resources; relationships with employees, including unions; union and nonunion employee wages and benefits, including changes in required contributions to multiemployer pension plans; competitive initiatives, pricing pressures, the effect of volatility in fuel prices and the associated changes in fuel surcharges on securing increases in base freight rates and the inability to collect fuel surcharges; availability of fuel; availability and cost of reliable third-party services; the timing and amount of capital expenditures; future costs of operating expenses such as fuel and related taxes; self-insurance claims and insurance premium costs; governmental regulations and policies; future climate change legislation; availability and cost of capital and financing arrangements; the cost and timing of growth initiatives; the impact of our brand and corporate reputation; the cost, integration, and performance of any future acquisitions; costs of continuing investments in technology and the impact of cyber incidents; weather conditions; and other financial, operational, and legal risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in Arkansas Best Corporation's Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") public filings.

The following tables show financial data and operating statistics on Arkansas Best Corporation and its subsidiary companies.

(1)

This segment includes the results of operations of Arkansas Best's largest subsidiary, ABF Freight System, Inc.®

(2)

This segment includes the results of operations of Arkansas Best's freight brokerage services operating as FreightValue®.

(3)

This segment includes the results of operations of Arkansas Best's subsidiary FleetNet America, Inc. which provides roadside assistance and equipment services for commercial vehicles.

(4)

This segment includes the results of operations of Arkansas Best's subsidiaries Albert Companies, Inc. and Moving Solutions, Inc. which provide services to the consumer, corporate, and military household goods moving market. Self-move services (U-Pack®) provided by ABF Freight System, Inc. continue to be reported in the "Freight Transportation" segment.

 

ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS



Three Months Ended

March 31



2012


2011


(Unaudited)


($ thousands, except share and per share data)


OPERATING REVENUES

$

440,867


$

434,931







OPERATING EXPENSES AND COSTS


463,854



456,923







OPERATING LOSS


(22,987)



(21,992)







OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)






Interest and dividend income


253



243

Interest expense and other related financing costs


(1,142)



(994)

Other, net


1,340



2,610



451



1,859







LOSS BEFORE INCOME TAXES


(22,536)



(20,133)







INCOME TAXES (BENEFITS)


(4,374)



(7,346)







NET LOSS


(18,162)



(12,787)







LESS:  NONCONTROLLING INTEREST IN NET INCOME OF SUBSIDIARY




21







NET LOSS ATTRIBUTABLE TO ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION

$

(18,162)


$

(12,808)







LOSS PER COMMON SHARE(1)






Basic

$

(0.71)


$

(0.51)

Diluted


(0.71)



(0.51)







AVERAGE COMMON SHARES OUTSTANDING






Basic


25,455,607



25,296,854

Diluted


25,455,607



25,296,854







CASH DIVIDENDS DECLARED PER COMMON SHARE

$

0.03


$

0.03







(1) The Company uses the two-class method for calculating earnings per share. This method, as calculated below, requires an allocation of dividends paid and a portion of undistributed net income (but not losses) to unvested restricted stock for calculating per share amounts.







NET LOSS ATTRIBUTABLE TO ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION

$

(18,162)


$

(12,808)







EFFECT OF UNVESTED RESTRICTED STOCK AWARDS(1)


(34)



(30)







ADJUSTED NET LOSS FOR CALCULATING EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE

$

(18,196)


$

(12,838)



ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS



March 31

2012


December 31

2011


(Unaudited)


Note


($ thousands, except share data)

ASSETS












CURRENT ASSETS






Cash and cash equivalents

$

138,516


$

141,295

Short-term investments


45,167



33,960

Restricted cash equivalents and short-term investments


29,544



52,693

Accounts receivable, less allowances (2012 – $5,052; 2011 – $5,957)


150,183



149,665

Other accounts receivable, less allowances (2012 – $1,264; 2011 – $1,226)


7,556



7,538

Prepaid expenses


12,984



11,363

Deferred income taxes


33,643



35,481

Prepaid and refundable income taxes


6,962



6,905

Other


5,958



6,186

        TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS


430,513



445,086







PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT






Land and structures


242,665



242,120

Revenue equipment


565,385



569,303

Service, office and other equipment


176,592



174,740

Leasehold improvements


21,758



21,426



1,006,400



1,007,589

Less allowances for depreciation and amortization


605,150



592,171



401,250



415,418

OTHER ASSETS


55,424



55,716








$

887,187


$

916,220







LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY












CURRENT LIABILITIES






Bank overdraft and drafts payable

$

10,780


$

20,836

Accounts payable


67,647



66,517

Income taxes payable


108



169

Accrued expenses


159,295



151,887

Current portion of long-term debt


30,142



24,262

TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES


267,972



263,671







LONG-TERM DEBT, less current portion


34,795



46,750







PENSION AND POSTRETIREMENT LIABILITIES


105,241



106,578







OTHER LIABILITIES


12,819



13,751







DEFERRED INCOME TAXES


16,911



19,855







STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY






Common stock, $0.01 par value, authorized 70,000,000 shares;

    issued 2012: 27,140,482 shares; 2011: 27,099,819 shares


271



271

Additional paid-in-capital


287,478



286,408

Retained earnings


276,149



295,108

Treasury stock, at cost, 1,677,932 shares


(57,770)



(57,770)

Accumulated other comprehensive loss


(56,679)



(58,402)

TOTAL STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY


449,449



465,615








$

887,187


$

916,220

Note: The balance sheet at December 31, 2011 has been derived from the audited financial statements at that date but does not include all of the information and footnotes required by generally accepted accounting principles for complete financial statements.



ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS



Three Months Ended

March 31


2012


2011


(Unaudited)


($ thousands)

OPERATING ACTIVITIES






Net loss

$

(18,162)


$

(12,787)

Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash provided by operating activities:






Depreciation and amortization


19,320



17,918

Other amortization


57



73

Share-based compensation expense


1,442



1,446

Provision for losses on accounts receivable


275



298

Deferred income tax benefit


(4,301)



(6,606)

Gain on sale of property and equipment


(285)



(95)

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:






Receivables


(859)



(16,174)

Prepaid expenses


(1,621)



(1,840)

Other assets


(153)



(168)

Income taxes


1,793



(974)

Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities


7,371



12,555

NET CASH PROVIDED BY (USED IN) OPERATING ACTIVITIES


4,877



(6,354)







INVESTING ACTIVITIES






Purchases of property, plant and equipment


(2,388)



(2,586)

Proceeds from sales of property and equipment


1,315



612

Purchases of short-term investments


(14,335)



(5,880)

Proceeds from sales of short-term investments


3,185



2,940

Capitalization of internally developed software and other


(1,618)



(1,027)

NET CASH USED IN INVESTING ACTIVITIES


(13,841)



(5,941)







FINANCING ACTIVITIES






Payments on long-term debt


(6,075)



(3,443)

Net change in bank overdraft and other


(10,056)



127

Change in restricted cash equivalents and short-term investments


23,149



(31)

Deferred financing costs


(36)



(127)

Payment of common stock dividends


(797)



(788)

Proceeds from the exercise of stock options




763

NET CASH PROVIDED BY (USED IN) FINANCING ACTIVITIES


6,185



(3,499)







NET DECREASE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS        


(2,779)



(15,794)

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period


141,295



102,578

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS AT END OF PERIOD

$

138,516


$

86,784







NONCASH INVESTING ACTIVITIES






Accruals for equipment received

$

2,060


$

2,145















ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION

FINANCIAL STATEMENT OPERATING SEGMENT DATA AND OPERATING RATIOS



Three Months Ended

March 31





2012


2011



(Unaudited)



($ thousands)


OPERATING REVENUES









Freight Transportation(1)

$

400,555



$

397,272



Truck Brokerage and Management(2)


8,039




5,100



Emergency and Preventative Maintenance(3)


22,378




22,277



Special Services Logistics(4)


15,052




15,871



Other revenues and eliminations


(5,157)




(5,589)



Total consolidated operating revenues

$

440,867



$

434,931












OPERATING EXPENSES AND COSTS

Freight Transportation(1)








Salaries, wages and benefits

$

265,517

66.3%


$

262,300

66.0%

Fuel, supplies and expenses


80,765

20.2



79,117

19.9

Operating taxes and licenses


10,801

2.7



11,421

2.9

Insurance


4,884

1.2



6,480

1.6

Communications and utilities


3,804

0.9



3,974

1.0

Depreciation and amortization


18,581

4.6



17,201

4.3

Rents and purchased transportation


36,758

9.2



38,355

9.7

Gain on sale of property and equipment


(282)

(0.1)



(99)

Other


1,704

0.5



1,581

0.4



422,532

105.5%



420,330

105.8%









Truck Brokerage and Management(2)


7,645




4,715


Emergency and Preventative Maintenance(3)


22,515




21,355


Special Services Logistics(4)


15,844




15,734


Other expenses and eliminations


(4,682)




(5,211)










Total consolidated operating expenses and costs

$

463,854



$

456,923










OPERATING INCOME (LOSS)








Freight Transportation(1)

$

(21,977)



$

(23,058)


Truck Brokerage and Management(2)


394




385


Emergency and Preventative Maintenance(3)


(137)




922


Special Services Logistics(4)


(792)




137


Other loss and eliminations


(475)




(378)


Total consolidated operating loss

$

(22,987)



$

(21,992)













(1)

This segment includes the results of operations of Arkansas Best's largest subsidiary, ABF Freight System, Inc.®.

(2)

This segment includes the results of operations of Arkansas Best's transportation brokerage services operating as FreightValue®.

(3)

This segment includes the results of operations of Arkansas Best's roadside vehicle assistance and commercial equipment services subsidiary FleetNet America, Inc.

(4)

This segment includes the results of operations of Arkansas Best's subsidiaries Albert Companies, Inc. and Moving Solutions, Inc. which provide services to the consumer, corporate, and military household goods moving market.



ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION

UNUSUAL FIRST QUARTER 2012 COST INCREASES













Workers'
Compensation


% of
Freight
Revenue


Sales,
Customer
Service & IT


% of
Freight
Revenue


Total

% of
Freight
Revenue


(Unaudited)


($ thousands, except per share data)

Unusual Cost Increases – Pre-Tax















Freight Transportation

$

5,345


1.3%


$

2,714



0.7%


$

8,059

2.0%

Truck Brokerage and Management






445






445


Emergency and Preventative Maintenance






650






650


Special Services Logistics






1,029






1,029



$

5,345




$

4,838





$

10,183

















Per Share Impact of Cost Increase

$

0.13




$

0.12





$

0.25
































Per Share Impact of Lower Tax

  Benefit Rate(1)












$

0.18



















(1)

The per share effect is calculated as the difference between the first quarter 2012 effective tax benefit rate of 19.4% compared to the previously expected effective tax rate for the first quarter 2012 of 40.0%. During the fourth quarter 2011 earnings conference call, an estimated tax rate range of 38% - 42% was provided.









ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION

OPERATING STATISTICS







Three Months Ended


March 31


2012


2011

% Change


(Unaudited)





Freight Transportation (1)











Workdays


64.0



63.5









Billed Revenue(2) / CWT       

$

27.60


$

24.76

11.5%








Billed Revenue(2) / Shipment

$

367.36


$

335.11

9.6%








Shipments                                


1,095,158



1,195,267

(8.4)%








Shipments / Day


17,112



18,823

(9.1)%








Tonnage (tons)                        


728,809



808,998

(9.9)%








Tons / Day


11,388



12,740

(10.6)%















(1)  Operating statistics for the Freight Transportation segment do not include the results from ABF's Global Supply Chain Services.

(2)  Billed Revenue does not include revenue deferral required for financial statement purposes under the company's revenue recognition policy.








Truck Brokerage and Management














Shipments                                


3,948



2,520

56.7%








Emergency and Preventative Maintenance














Events                                       


65,190



71,949

(9.4)%








Special Service Logistics














Shipments                                


3,302



3,628

(9.0)%





Contact:     

Mr. David Humphrey, Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications


Telephone: (479) 785-6200

SOURCE Arkansas Best Corporation



RELATED LINKS
http://www.arkbest.com
http://www.abf.com

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