Celadon Group reported its net income plummeted 20.5 percent to $6.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014, which ended Sept. 30, 2013, from $8.3 million in the same period last year.
However, quarterly revenue for the North American motor carrier, No. 35 on JOC’s list of the Top 50 Trucking Companies, was $175.1 million, increasing 14.2 percent year-over-year from $153.3 million. Freight revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, rose 16.3 percent to $142.0 million, compared with $122.1 million. Additionally, adjusted revenue from trucking was $147.7 million in the first quarter, compared with $134.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, ending Sept. 30, 2012, and revenue from asset-light operations was $13.2 million, versus $10.9 million. Intermodal revenue was $7.5 million, up from $5.2 million.
“We are pleased with our overall improvement in our operating statistics,” said Paul Will, president and CEO, in a written statement.
The company’s average seated tractor count increased 10.5 percent in the first quarter versus the same quarter in the previous year, which in turn helped increase revenue, Will said. He noted that the gain resulted from expanding recruiting efforts at terminal locations, following the establishment of a driving school and training program at the company’s Indianapolis headquarters, as well as the acquisitions of Houg Special Services, Land Span, TCI Logistics and Hoss Cartage and Distribution, which were all completed this quarter.
During the company’s first quarter earnings conference call, transcribed by Seeking Alpha, Will said that when the driver training school opened in October 2012, they were accepting around three to four new people every week, but now they’re enrolling about 25 to 30 people each week. He also noted that about 22 percent of Celadon’s fleet was represented by owner-operators in the first quarter, or about 680 tractors out of 3,024, up from 404 tractors last year. Furthermore, the company’s quarterly average seated tractor count rose 10.5 percent year-over-year.
Additionally, Will said that Celadon recently saw more acquisition activity than in the past because of individuals wanting to exit “aged” financial situations or that particular line of business.
“The business generated from these acquisitions should help us continue to add truck capacity and density in our current operating lanes, while benefiting from future operating synergies over time,” Will said. “This strategy should position Celadon to better serve our customers now and especially in the near future as we believe truck capacity will continue to tighten for the truckload industry.”