Landstar System, Inc. (LSTR - Free Report) reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues in the third quarter of 2018. The company’s earnings came in at $1.63 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.60. Moreover, the bottom line soared 61.4% year over year.
Revenues totaled $1,202.1 million, marginally above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,201.8 million. The top line also rose 27.4% year over year.
Gross profit (revenues excluding the cost of purchased transportation and commissions to agents) of $171.3 million, increased 22% from the year-ago period. Meanwhile, operating income surged 44% to $87.1 million. Additionally, total operating expenses soared 26.3% to $1.12 billion in the quarter under review.
Total revenues in the truck transportation segment — accounting for bulk (93%) of the top line — were $1.12 billion, up 27.4%. Rail intermodal revenues were $34.44 million, up 42.2%. Other revenues jumped 50.2% to $18.14 million.
Total number of loads hauled by trucks increased 6.7% year over year to 522.85 million, courtesy of a 7% volume expansion through van equipment and a 5% increase each in less-than-truckload volumes and unsided/platform equipment volumes. Additionally, loads hauled via railroads, ocean cargo carriers and air cargo carriers climbed 25% to 21.64 million, primarily as a result of 21% ascent in rail intermodal volume and 46% increase in ocean volume.
Bullish Q4 Projections
Landstar anticipates truck revenue per load to increase in an upper-single digit percentage range compared with the fourth quarter of 2017. Additionally, number of loads hauled via truck is expected to expand approximately 8-10% year over year.
Revenues in the fourth quarter are estimated in the range of $1.180 billion-$1.230 billion, reflecting an increase of 12-17% from the fourth quarter of 2017. Further, earnings per share are forecast between $1.56 and $1.62 in the final quarter of 2018, compared with $1.54 in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter earnings stands at $1.60 per share on revenues of $1.22 billion.
Landstar’s board declared a quarterly cash dividend of 16.5 cents per share, payable to its shareholders on Dec 7, of record as of Nov 13.
Liquidity and Buyback
As of Sep 30, 2018, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company had $213.97 million compared with $242.42 million at the end of December 2017. Additionally, long-term debt (excluding current maturities) totaled $72.89 million in the period, compared with $83.06 million at December-end. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Investors interested in the broader Zacks Transportation sector are keenly awaiting third-quarter earnings reports from key players like SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) , C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW - Free Report) and Triton International Limited (TRTN - Free Report) . While SkyWest and C.H. Robinson will report third-quarter earnings on Oct 30, Triton International will release the same on Nov 2.
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