J.B. Hunt Transport (JBHT) shares gained ~6% in the extended trading session on January 17 after the company reported overwhelming fourth-quarter results. The largest trucking company’s top and bottom-line results fared better than analysts’ expectations and marked significant YoY (year-over-year) growth.
J.B. Hunt’s fourth-quarter adjusted EPS of $1.78 beat analysts’ consensus estimate of $1.48 and registered 70% YoY growth. The strong bottom-line growth was mainly driven by higher revenues and reduced share counts. The bottom-line growth was partially offset by increased operating expenses. The company witnessed over 50% earnings growth in the last three quarters of 2018.
The fourth-quarter revenues were $2.32 billion—marginally higher than analysts’ estimate of $2.30 billion. The quarterly revenues grew 16% YoY due to the higher revenue per load, increased customer rates, and favorable freight mix.
J.B. Hunt reported revenue growth across all of its segments. The Intermodal segment’s sales grew 15% YoY due to a 16% increase in the revenue per load, a better freight mix, and higher customer rates. The Dedicated Contract Service segment reported a 25% rise in its revenues due to improved productivity and higher customer rates. The Integrated Capacity Solutions segment’s revenues grew 7% due to higher volumes. The growth was partially offset by lower revenue per load. The Truck segment’s unit sales rose 21% due to 10% higher revenue per load and an 18% increase in the rates per loaded mile.
Despite strong revenue growth, the company’s fourth-quarter operating income declined 15.8% YoY to $122.7 million mainly due to an increase in rail purchase transportation costs, a rise in driver wages, higher independent contractor rates per mile, and higher salary and wage expenses for non-driving personnel.
Fiscal 2018 performance
For fiscal 2018, J.B. Hunt reported revenues of $8.62 billion, which beat analysts’ expectations of $8.58 billion and grew 19.8% YoY. The adjusted EPS of $5.69 beat the consensus estimate by 30 cents and improved 59% YoY.
In the transportation sector, apart from J.B. Hunt, CSX (CSX) reported its 2018 results. CSX’s fiscal 2018 adjusted EPS of $3.85 grew 67% YoY due to 7% higher revenues, lower costs, and reduced taxes.