J.B. Hunt results top 2nd-quarter forecast

Per-share earnings up 50% in year

A view of the break area inside the new expansion Thursday, July 6, 2017, at the J.B. Hunt Transport headquarters in Lowell. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/BEN GOFF)

J.B. Hunt Transportation Services Inc. reported revenue and profits Tuesday afternoon that beat analyst estimates with all of its operating segments showing growth.

The Lowell-based trucking and logistics company reported earnings of $255.3 million for the quarter, which ended June 30, up from $172.1 million in the second quarter of 2021. The company booked earnings of $2.42 per share, up 50% from $1.61 from the year-ago period. A consensus of 22 analysts predicted an earning per share at $2.31 for the quarter, according to Yahoo Finance.

Revenue for the second quarter stood at $3.8 billion, up 32% from $2.9 billion for the same quarter last year. Revenue as expected to be $3.6 billion based on a consensus of 18 analysts.

The company released its earnings report after market close on Tuesday.

Shares of J.B. Hunt closed at $174.46, up $6.36 or nearly 4% in trading on the Nasdaq. Shares of J.B. Hunt have traded as low as $153.92 and as high as $218.18 over the past year.

During a conference call Tuesday, Shelley Simpson, chief commercial officer at J.B. Hunt, said while the current market is dynamic and challenging, J.B. Hunt is meeting the needs of its customers through the raft of services it offers. She said the company expects a good second half of the year.

In a report issued to investors after J.B. Hunt released its earnings, Justin Long, an analyst with Stephens Inc., said the company took a hit in the second quarter with a $18.4 million charge related to higher casualty claims and workman's compensation benefits.

"While the insurance related items made this a somewhat messy quarter to evaluate, at first glance, the operation results seem solid after peeling back the onion," Long wrote.

J.B. Hunt's intermodal segment's revenue for the quarter grew 42% to $1.83 billion, on an 8% increase in volume and a 32% increase in revenue per load. The segment added 1,300 containers during the quarter. Operating income for the segment was $202.5 million, up 50% from the same time last year.

Dedicated contract services saw revenue of $83.6 million in the second quarter, up 39% when compared with the year-ago period, with a 21% increase in average revenue producing trucks and a 14% gain in fleet productivity. Operating income for the segment was $89.2 million, up 13% and affected by both driver and non-driver wages and benefits along with higher driver recruiting costs.

The integrated capacity solutions, or asset-light brokerage segment saw revenue of $623 million, up 3% when compared with the same quarter of 2021. The segment saw improved efficiencies in part because of customers using the company's J.B. Hunt 360 platform. The segment's operating income was $23.6 million, up 658% when compared to the year-ago quarter, in part due to higher revenue and gross profit margins.

The truckload segment saw its revenue jump 46% to $269 million for the quarter. Excluding fuel surcharges revenue was up 37% with higher load volume and increased revenue per load. Operating income for the segment was $25 million, an increase of 76%

The final mile services segment's revenue increased 21% to $257 million, helped by J.B. Hunt's recent acquisition of Zenith Freight Lines LLC, which closed in February. Operating income was $12.8 million up 20%.

Earlier this month, J.B. Hunt said it opened a transload facility on the in the Los Angeles area to handle international cargo, a first for the company. The new facility will help J.B. Hunt to accelerate the delivery of overseas freight though a long-term multi-vessel deal, the company said. The company opened a similar operation in New York in November. Transloading refers to the transfer of goods from one mode of transportation to another.

On Tuesday, the American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.7% in June after rising 0.3% in May.

"Essentially, the market is transitioning back to pre-pandemic shares of contract versus spot market," ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. "Second, and perhaps equally important, while economic growth is expected to be soft overall in the second quarter, the goods-economy wasn't as bad as feared."