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Marten Transport Ltd. Reports Operating Results (10-Q)

November 09, 2009 | About:
10qk

10qk

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Marten Transport Ltd. (MRTN) filed Quarterly Report for the period ended 2009-09-30.

Marten TransportLtd. is a long-haul truckload carrier providing protective service and time- sensitive transportation. `Protective service transportation` means temperature controlled or insulated carriage of temperature-sensitive materials and general commodities. Marten Transport Ltd. has a market cap of $383.21 million; its shares were traded at around $17.51 with a P/E ratio of 21.62 and P/S ratio of 0.63. Marten Transport Ltd. had an annual average earning growth of 5.6% over the past 10 years. GuruFocus rated Marten Transport Ltd. the business predictability rank of 4-star.

Highlight of Business Operations:

Our operating revenue decreased $89.6 million, or 19.2%, in the first nine months of 2009. This decrease was primarily due to fuel surcharge revenue decreasing by $70.3 million, or 64.3%, caused by significantly lower fuel prices in the first nine months of 2009. Our operating revenue, net of fuel surcharges, decreased $19.3 million, or 5.4%, compared with the first nine months of 2008. Truckload segment revenue, net of fuel surcharges, decreased 9.3% primarily due to a decrease in our average truckload revenue, net of fuel surcharges, per tractor per week of 10.5% in the first nine months of 2009. Our average miles per tractor decreased by 11.0% in the first nine months of 2009 due to the difficult freight environment and our reduced length of haul. This was partially offset by a 0.2% increase in our average truckload revenue, net of fuel surcharges, per total mile as a result of the positive impact that a reduced length of haul has on rates, negated by the effects of the difficult freight environment. The changes in our operating statistics are consistent with the continued development and growth of our regional temperature-controlled operations. By focusing on shorter lengths of haul in certain defined areas, we are addressing customer trends toward regional distribution to lower their transportation expense, furthering our own objectives of reducing fuel consumption per load, and matching some of our drivers desires to stay closer to home. The concentration of a portion of our fleet in these markets is evident in a 9.5% reduction from the first nine months of 2008 in average length of haul to 781 miles. Our average fleet size increased by 40 tractors in the first nine months of 2009 from the same period of 2008. Logistics segment revenue, net of intermodal fuel surcharges, increased 11.3% compared with the first nine months of 2008. The increase in logistics revenue primarily resulted from our continued emphasis on expansion of and volume growth in each of our internal brokerage and intermodal services, partially offset by a decrease in revenue generated by MWL. Logistics revenue represented 21.0% of our operating revenue in the first nine months of 2009.

Our profitability on the expense side is impacted by variable costs of transporting freight for our customers, fixed costs and expenses containing both fixed and variable components. The variable costs include fuel expense, driver-related expenses, such as wages, benefits, training, and recruitment, and independent contractor costs, which are recorded under purchased transportation. Expenses that have both fixed and variable components include maintenance and tire expense and our total cost of insurance and claims. These expenses generally vary with the miles we travel, but also have a controllable component based on safety, fleet age, efficiency and other factors. Our main fixed costs relate to the acquisition and financing of long-term assets, such as revenue equipment and operating terminals. We expect our annual cost of tractor and trailer ownership will increase in future periods as a result of higher prices of new equipment. Although certain factors affecting our expenses are beyond our control, we monitor them closely and attempt to anticipate changes in these factors in managing our business. For example, fuel prices fluctuated dramatically at various times during the last several years, with the D.O.E. national average cost of fuel decreasing to $2.38 per gallon in the first nine months of 2009 from $4.10 per gallon in the first nine months of 2008. We manage our exposure to changes in fuel prices primarily through fuel surcharge programs with our customers, as well as through volume fuel purchasing arrangements with national fuel centers and bulk purchases of fuel at our terminals. To help further reduce fuel expense, we have installed auxiliary power units in our tractors to provide climate control and electrical power for our drivers without idling the tractor engine. For our Logistics segment, our profitability on the expense side is impacted by the percentage of logistics revenue we pay to providers for the transportation services we arrange.

Our operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, or operating ratio, was 94.4% in the first nine months of 2009 compared with 95.2% in the first nine months of 2008. Our earnings per diluted share decreased to $0.55 in the first nine months of 2009 from $0.56 in the same period of 2008. The decreased profitability in the first nine months of 2009 was primarily due to the decrease in revenue per tractor per week in our Truckload segment, partially offset by the improvement in our overall cost structure.

Our business requires substantial, ongoing capital investments, particularly for new tractors and trailers. At September 30, 2009, we had approximately $11.4 million of cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities, net of checks issued in excess of cash balances, $1.4 million of long-term debt, including current maturities, and $270.7 million in stockholders equity. In the first nine months of 2009, net cash flows provided by operating activities were primarily used to purchase new revenue equipment, net of proceeds from dispositions, in the amount of $49.8 million. In 2008, cash flows were primarily used to pay down our long-term debt to strengthen our liquidity. We estimate that capital expenditures, net of proceeds from dispositions, will be approximately $25 million for the remainder of 2009. We believe our sources of liquidity are adequate to meet our current and anticipated needs for at least the next twelve months. Based upon anticipated cash flows, existing cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities balances, current borrowing availability and other sources of financing we expect to be available to us, we do not anticipate any significant liquidity constraints in the foreseeable future.

(1) Logistics revenue is net of $2.1 million and $4.5 million of inter-segment revenue in the 2009 and 2008 periods, respectively, for loads transported by our tractors and arranged by MWL that have been eliminated in consolidation.

Our operating revenue decreased $34.0 million, or 20.8%, to $129.4 million in the 2009 period from $163.4 million in the 2008 period. This decrease was primarily due to fuel surcharge revenue decreasing to $15.7 million in the 2009 period from $41.3 million in the 2008 period, caused by significantly lower fuel prices in the 2009 period. Our operating revenue, net of fuel surcharges, decreased $8.4 million, or 6.9%, to $113.7 million in the 2009 period from $122.1 million in the 2008 period. The decrease in operating revenue, net of fuel surcharges, was due to a decrease in truckload revenue, net of fuel surcharges, partially offset by growth in logistics revenue.

Read the The complete ReportMRTN is in the portfolios of NWQ Managers of NWQ Investment Management Co.

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10qk
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