ArcBest 2Q Results Show Silver Linings

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ArcBest Corp. of Fort Smith on Wednesday reported net income of $15.9 million, down 35% from $24.4 million, and earnings per share of 61 cents, down from 92 cents in the same quarter a year ago.

The publicly traded logistics company (Nasdaq: ARCB) said revenue was $627.4 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2020, a 19% drop from $771.5 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Earnings per share, adjusted for non-recurring costs and pretax expenses, were 67 cents per share, beating Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 3 cents per share.

ArcBest said results improved in the last month of the quarter after hitting a low point in April.

“The successes of the second quarter are rooted in the strength of our employees and the culture that we have cultivated here that unites all of us behind a set of shared values that drive excellence,” said CEO Judy McReynolds, who is also ArcBest’s president and chairwoman of the board. “I am incredibly proud of our employees, especially our front-line teams, who continue to work hard and serve our customers in the face of a global pandemic that continues to affect so many aspects of the economy.” 

ArcBest said cost-cutting measures implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic helped the company make a profit in the quarter. The measures included a 15% reduction in pay for its nonunion employees and the temporary suspension of its employer match for 401(k) plans.

The measures helped cut costs by $15 million in the quarter, the company said. ArcBest said because of the late-quarter turnaround, nonunion employees’ salaries and the 401(k) match would be restored for the third quarter.

“As an essential business, our employees have worked on the front lines in sacrifice, both personally and financially, to serve our customers and our nation,” McReynolds said. “We value our employees and appreciate their efforts, and are pleased to now be able to restore full wage levels.”

The company’s asset division reported revenue of $460.1 million, down from $559.1 million a year ago. The pandemic affected shipments with many customers temporarily closed or on reduced business levels; ArcBest shipments were down 13.3% in the quarter and total tonnage shipped was down 13.8%.

ArcBest’s logistics segment reported revenue of $151.5 million, down from $181.2 million, and its maintenance segment reported revenue of $46.4 million, down from $51.7 million. Business was hampered by lower demand for deliveries, which also meant fewer maintenance needs.

“I am pleased with what we have been able to accomplish over the last three months considering the dynamic nature of circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic,” McReynolds said. “We are working to carry this momentum forward as the second half of the year unfolds and will, as always, monitor trends and make adjustments where necessary.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)