Heartland Express Loses Profit, Even As Sales Climb

Heartland Express Buys Interstate Distributor Co.

Net profit dropped 19.1 percent at Heartland Express to $18.2 million, as the trucking firm increased second quarter revenue 1.8 percent to $139.7 million.

The slow increase in revenue, compared with a 5.6 percent gain for Heartland in the first quarter, is another sign of slower economic growth.

The modest year-over-year gain was the highlight of the report, particularly against the backdrop of a freight economy that is moving sideways, Jefferies analyst Peter Nesvold said.

Our best sense is that (Heartland’s) rates were up only in the low single digits and that volumes were flattish, Nesvold said in a July 19 note to investors.

Despite the year-over-year earnings drop, Heartland remained a highly profitable truckload carrier, with a 13 percent net margin and 80.9 percent operating ratio.

Heartland’s operating ratio in the previous two quarters was 82.4 percent and 79.5 percent, a sign that overall profitability improved from the first quarter.

The company has maintained a net margin in the 12 to 13 percent range over the past three quarters. Last year, Heartland generated a $69.9 million net profit.

Find out what’s causing the financial trouble for Heartland Express at The Journal Of Commerce.