Arkansas Best Corp Earnings: Swung to a Profit but Missed Expectations

Arkansas Best Corporation (NASDAQ:ABFS) climbed to a profit in the fourth quarter, but still came up short of analyst expectations. Arkansas Best is a holding company that, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in motor carrier transportation operations.

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Arkansas Best Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Reported a profit of $1.4 million (5 cents per diluted share) in the quarter. Arkansas Best Corporation had a net loss of $3.1 million or a loss 12 cents per share in the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 5% to $463.2 million from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: ABFS reported adjusted net income of 8 cents per share. By that measure, the company fell short of mean estimate of 25 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $472.1 million.

Quoting Management: “Arkansas Best’s profitable results for the fourth quarter and full year reflect an improving business environment as characterized by revenue growth in each of our operating segments. ABF’s full-year results represent an important step toward achieving our goal of returning to historical profitability levels. For our non-asset-based businesses, 2011 was a year of management focus and investment that laid the foundation for more significant revenue and profit growth in the future,” said Judy R. McReynolds, Arkansas Best President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our employees are to be commended for their successful efforts to address customer needs in an ever-evolving marketplace. They continue to deliver a unique combination of complementary service offerings and value.”

Key Stats:

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 14.7% to $510.9 million in the third quarter. The figure rose 21.2% in the second quarter from the year earlier and climbed 20.9% in the first quarter from the year-ago quarter.

The company fell short of forecasts after beating estimates in the previous two quarters. In the third quarter, it topped the mark by 15 cents, and in the second quarter, it was ahead by 15 cents.

Looking Forward: Over the last 30 days, analysts have not been optimistic about the company’s next quarter performance. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year is now 3 cents per share, down from 5 cents. The average estimate for the fiscal year is 42 cents per share, a rise from 28 cents ninety days ago.

Competitors to Watch: YRC Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ:YRCW), Saia Inc. (NASDAQ:SAIA), Con-way Inc. (NYSE:CNW), J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:JBHT), Roadrunner Transportation Services Hold. (NYSE:RRTS), Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ:ODFL), USA Truck, Inc. (NASDAQ:USAK),  and Celadon Group, Inc. (NYSE:CGI).

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(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com