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USA Truck Announces First Quarter Results

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VAN BUREN, Ark., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- USA Truck, Inc. (NASDAQ: USAK) today announced base revenue of $97.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, a decrease of 1.8% from $99.7 million for the same quarter of 2011.  We incurred a net loss of $4.9 million ($0.47 per share) for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, compared to a net loss of $2.7 million ($0.26 per share) for the same quarter of 2011.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110114/DA30069LOGO)

Cliff Beckham, President and CEO, made the following statement concerning financial and operating results for the quarter ended March 31, 2012:

"Our results were mixed in the first quarter.  Since last August, we have been concentrating on driving sequential improvement in key performance metrics as the first step in building sustained, acceptable financial performance.  For the first quarter, several of these metrics continued to improve, while our SCS and Intermodal segments also progressed.  Our overall financial performance remained approximately the same as the third and fourth quarters of 2011.  The improvements in certain operating metrics were offset by an increase in unmanned tractors and higher fuel prices.

"We are pleased with the continued strong performance in our SCS segment, which posted growth in operating income of 15.8% to $1.5 million year-over-year despite a less robust freight environment that put pressure on our gross margins.  We are also encouraged by the improvement in our Intermodal segment in which our operating loss was reduced by 43.5% to a loss of $0.2 million compared to the first quarter of 2011. These two asset-light business units produced over 22% of base revenue for the quarter and contributed a reasonable gross margin.

"In our Trucking segment, the operating metrics were mixed. On the positive side, we saw meaningful improvement in equipment utilization (miles per tractor per week) and velocity (loads per tractor per week) over the second half of 2011.  This improvement was better than expected given the increase in unmanned tractors, which are included in the measurements.  We also saw improvement in our safety performance (measured by reportable accident frequency) and our core customer on-time service.

"We did experience a sequential decline in revenue per total mile; however, our first quarter total reflected an increase of approximately 0.7% over the same quarter of the prior year.  Base rate per loaded mile improved approximately 2.7% year-over-year, but higher empty miles offset some of this gain and also negatively impacted fuel surcharge revenue. 

"Also disappointing was an increase in our unmanned tractor count, which rose sharply in February and March. Prior to that, we had reduced unmanned tractors from a peak of 230 to approximately 100 in January.  A combination of network changes, less than optimal velocity, and seasonal job alternatives caused an increase in unmanned tractors back to 200 during March." 

The attached charts (Miles per Tractor per Week, Load Velocity, Loaded Revenue per Mile and Unmanned Tractors) reflect the results we have experienced for the past four quarters of some of our key operating metrics.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120419/DA89993)

Mr. Beckham also stated, "Higher empty miles (for which we do not receive fuel surcharges) negatively impacted our net fuel cost per mile both sequentially and year-over-year.  The Department of Energy average diesel price per gallon was $3.97 for the first quarter of 2012, compared with $3.57 for the first quarter of 2011 and $3.87 for the fourth quarter of 2011.  Although the delivery of new, fuel-efficient tractors during 2011 contributed to a year-over-year improvement in miles per gallon, the fuel price increase combined with higher empty miles led to an increase in our net fuel cost per mile.

"At March 31, our outstanding debt, less cash, represented 48.9% of our balance sheet capitalization, compared to 47.4% at December 31, 2011.  And at March 31, 2012 we were in compliance with all of our debt covenants.

"All-in-all, the pace of improvement in our one-way domestic truckload business is behind our expectations.  We are not yet achieving optimal operating efficiencies from our network which we must attain in order to most effectively improve yield and profitability.  In the near term, we believe improving velocity toward and above 3.5 loads per tractor per week is a key factor in achieving profitability.  Velocity improvement will require a combination of reducing unmanned tractors, continuing to optimize the network, and enhancing the proficiency of our customer service, load planning, and fleet management personnel.  In addition, we also believe improving base revenue per total mile is another key factor, which will require further reducing empty miles, improving freight mix, and obtaining rate increases where justified. We recognize that none of these key factors is a quick fix, and progress may be uneven as we shift assets, refine the network, and implement internal operations initiatives.  As we look ahead in 2012, we have pushed out our expectations for improvement over 2011 into the second half of the year." 

The following table summarizes the results of operations information of USA Truck, Inc. ("Company") for the three-month periods indicated:


(in thousands, except per share data)


Three Months Ended


March 31,


2012


2011


(unaudited)

Revenue:






Trucking revenue

$

75,937


$

82,874

Strategic Capacity Solutions revenue


17,595



11,568

Intermodal revenue


4,291



5,208

Base revenue


97,823



99,650

Fuel surcharge revenue


25,850



24,392

Total revenue


123,673



124,042







Operating expenses and costs:






Fuel and fuel taxes


34,770



34,727

Salaries, wages and employee benefits


35,514



33,100

Purchased transportation


26,978



25,379

Depreciation and amortization


11,157



12,614

Operations and maintenance


10,931



9,877

Insurance and claims


4,882



5,864

Operating taxes and licenses


1,507



1,398

Communications and utilities


1,023



985

Gain on disposal of assets, net


(542)



(915)

Other


4,089



4,195

Total operating expenses and costs


130,309



127,224

Operating loss


(6,636)



(3,182)

Other expenses (income):






Interest expense


986



743

Other, net


(75)



(11)

Total other expenses, net


911



732

Loss before income taxes


(7,547)



(3,914)

Income tax benefit


(2,674)



(1,198)

Net loss

$

(4,873)


$

(2,716)







Per share information:






Average shares outstanding (Basic)


10,300



10,298

Basic loss per share

$

(0.47)


$

(0.26)







Average shares outstanding (Diluted)


10,300



10,298

Diluted loss per share

$

(0.47)


$

(0.26)

The following table includes key operating results and statistics for our three operating segments:


Three Months Ended


March 31,


2012


2011


(unaudited)

Trucking:








Operating loss (in thousands) (1)                           

$

(7,956)



$

(4,117)


Operating ratio (2)


110.5

%



105.0

%

Total miles (in thousands) (3)


53,360




58,662


Empty mile factor                          


11.8

%



10.0

%

Weighted average number of tractors (4)


2,230




2,342


Average miles per tractor per period


23,928




25,048


Average miles per tractor per week


1,841




1,948


Average miles per trip                                   


527




556


Base Trucking revenue per tractor per week

$

2,619



$

2,752


Number of tractors at end of period (4)


2,250




2,338


Strategic Capacity Solutions:








Operating income (in thousands) (1)                        

$

1,544



$

1,333


Gross margin (5)


14.4

%



15.6

%

Intermodal:








Operating loss (in thousands) (1)                          

$

(224)



$

(398)


Gross margin (5)


21.5

%



6.0

%









 

(1) Operating (loss) income is calculated by deducting total operating expenses from total revenues.

(2) Operating ratio is calculated by dividing total operating expenses, net of fuel surcharge, by base revenue.

(3) Total miles include both loaded and empty miles.

(4) Tractors include Company-operated tractors in service plus tractors operated by independent contractors.

(5) Gross margin is calculated by taking total revenue less purchased transportation expense and dividing that amount by total revenue. This calculation includes intercompany revenues and expenses.

 

The following table reflects the condensed financial position of the Company as of the dates indicated:


(in thousands)


March 31,


December 31,


2012


2011


(unaudited)

Assets






Current assets:






Cash              

$

4,305


$

2,659

Receivables, net


61,912



56,941

Inventories


1,869



1,831

Prepaid expenses and other current assets


15,893



13,466

Total current assets


83,979



74,897







Property and equipment, at cost


403,758



419,561

Accumulated depreciation and amortization


(154,322)



(160,761)

Property and equipment, net


249,436



258,800

Note receivable


1,997



2,003

Other assets


539



491

Total assets

$

335,951


$

336,191







  Liabilities and Stockholders' equity






Current liabilities:






Bank drafts payable

$

5,098


$

5,044

Trade accounts payable


21,393



21,691

Current portion of insurance and claims accruals


3,826



3,418

Accrued expenses


8,975



7,790

Note payable


915



1,370

Current maturities of long-term debt and capital leases


16,251



19,146

Deferred income taxes


2,314



1,693

Total current liabilities                                   


58,772



60,152







Deferred gain


610



612

Long-term debt and capital leases, less current maturities


108,108



98,927

Deferred income taxes


41,839



45,193

Insurance and claims accruals, less current portion


4,515



4,335

Total stockholders' equity


122,107



126,972

Total liabilities and stockholders' equity

$

335,951


$

336,191


 

Selected other financial information:



(in thousands)


Three Months Ended March 31,


2012


2011


(unaudited)

Net cash (used in) provided by operating activities

$

(2,774)


$

4,717

Capital expenditures, net


1,423



16,834

This press release contains 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 statements generally may be identified by their use of terms or phrases such as "expects," "estimates," "anticipates," "projects," "believes," "plans," "goals," "intends," "may," "will," "should," "could," "potential," "continue," "future" and terms or phrases of similar substance.  Forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified, which could cause future events and actual results to differ materially from those set forth in, contemplated by, or underlying the forward-looking statements.  Accordingly, actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.  Readers should review and consider the factors that may affect future results and other disclosures by the Company in its press releases, Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or changes in the factors affecting the forward-looking information.  In light of these risks and uncertainties, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this press release might not occur.

All forward-looking statements attributable to us, or persons acting on our behalf, are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

References to the "Company," "we," "us," "our" and words of similar import refer to USA Truck, Inc. and its subsidiary.

USA Truck is a dry van truckload carrier transporting general commodities via our General Freight and Dedicated Freight service offerings.  We transport commodities throughout the continental United States and into and out of portions of Canada.  We also transport general commodities into and out of Mexico by allowing through-trailer service from our terminal in Laredo, Texas.  Our Strategic Capacity Solutions and Intermodal operating segments provide customized transportation solutions using our technology and multiple modes of transportation including our assets and the assets of our partner carriers.

This press release and related information will be available to interested parties at our web site, http://www.usa-truck.com under the "News Releases" tab of the "Investors" menu.

SOURCE USA Truck, Inc.



RELATED LINKS
http://www.usa-truck.com

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