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Saia Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

JOHNS CREEK, Ga., Feb. 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Saia, Inc. (Nasdaq: SAIA), a leading transportation provider offering multi-regional less-than-truckload (LTL), non-asset truckload, expedited and logistics services, today reported fourth quarter 2019 financial results.  Diluted earnings per share in the quarter were $0.81 compared to $0.97 in the fourth quarter of 2018. Fourth quarter earnings per share include a $0.07 per share positive impact from tax credits for years 2018 and 2019, enacted in the fourth quarter.  Full year diluted earnings per share were $4.30 in 2019 compared to $3.99 in 2018.

Highlights from the fourth quarter and full year operating results were as follows:

Fourth Quarter 2019 Compared to Fourth Quarter 2018 Results

  • Revenue was $443.1 million, an 8.9% increase
  • Operating income was $27.4 million, a 17.7% decrease
  • Operating ratio of 93.8 compared to 91.8
  • LTL shipments per workday rose 6.3%
  • LTL tonnage per workday increased by 4.3%
  • LTL revenue per hundredweight increased 3.7%
  • LTL revenue per shipment rose 1.8% to $238.45

Full Year 2019 Results Compared to Full Year 2018 Results

  • Revenue was $1.8 billion, an 8.0% increase
  • Operating income was $152.6 million, an 8.1% increase
  • Operating ratio of 91.5 compared to 91.5
  • LTL shipments per workday rose 4.3%
  • LTL tonnage per workday increased by 0.4%
  • LTL revenue per hundredweight increased 7.4%
  • LTL revenue per shipment rose 3.4% to $234.81

The increase in fourth quarter revenue was offset by the investment in Northeast expansion, wage increase and continued inflationary healthcare costs.  The Company also experienced a spike in claims and insurance expense in the fourth quarter, primarily related to increased accident severity.  Finally, depreciation and amortization expense increased 17% year-over-year as a result of the Company’s continued investments in revenue equipment, properties and technology.

“While the fourth quarter results did not meet our expectations, 2019 revenue of $1.8 billion was a record and overall, I am pleased with what was accomplished this year,” said Saia Chief Executive Officer, Rick O’Dell.  “We opportunistically accelerated our expansion plans mid-year and of the nine terminals opened in the year, six were opened between mid-September and the end of October.  While these second half openings and the associated expenses were a drag in the back-half of the year, I believe that the longer term benefit of offering customers 48-state coverage is well worth the short-term challenges associated with the expansion,” O’Dell continued. “We have opened 18 terminals in new markets in the Northeast since our organic expansion began in May 2017, and we are now on an annualized revenue run rate of more than $280 million of business into and out of this region,” concluded O’Dell.

Saia’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Fritz Holzgrefe, commented on the current environment, “Our yield in the fourth quarter improved for the 38th consecutive quarter and we remain committed to pricing for improved profitability.  Despite the sluggish industrial backdrop, we view the pricing environment as rational.”

“After a year of aggressive expansion and investment in our business in 2019, our plan for 2020 includes a very light terminal opening schedule.  Instead, our focus shifts to service execution across all of the new terminals and margin improvement through cost leverage,” Holzgrefe said. 

Financial Position and Capital Expenditures

Total debt was $136.4 million at December 31, 2019 and inclusive of the cash on-hand, net debt to total capital was 14.3%.  This compares to total debt of $122.9 million and net debt to total capital of 14.8% at December 31, 2018.

Net capital expenditures in 2019 were $287.2 million, including equipment acquired with capital leases.  This compares to $251.7 million in net capital expenditures during 2018.  In 2020, we anticipate net capital expenditures of approximately $250 million.

Conference Call

Management will hold a conference call to discuss quarterly results today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. To participate in the call, please dial 800-367-2403 or 334-777-6978 referencing conference ID #6815355.  Callers should dial in five to ten minutes in advance of the conference call.  This call will be webcast live via the Company website at  A replay of the call will be offered two hours after the completion of the call through March 2, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  The replay will be available by dialing 888-203-1112.

Saia, Inc. (Nasdaq: SAIA) offers customers a wide range of less-than-truckload, non-asset truckload, expedited and logistics services.  With headquarters in Johns Creek, GA, Saia LTL Freight operates 168 terminals across 43 states.  For more information on Saia, Inc. visit the Investor Relations section at

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

The Securities and Exchange Commission encourages companies to disclose forward-looking information so that investors can better understand the future prospects of a company and make informed investment decisions. This news release may contain these types of statements, which are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “believe,” “should” and similar words or expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements reflect the present expectation of future events of our management as of the date of this news release and are subject to a number of important factors, risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements. These factors, risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, but are not limited to, (1) general economic conditions including downturns in the business cycle; (2) effectiveness of Company-specific performance improvement initiatives, including management of the cost structure to match shifts in customer volume levels; (3) the creditworthiness of our customers and their ability to pay for services; (4) failure to achieve acquisition synergies; (5) failure to operate and grow acquired businesses in a manner that supports the value allocated to these acquired businesses; (6) economic declines in the geographic regions or industries in which our customers operate; (7) competitive initiatives and pricing pressures, including in connection with fuel surcharge; (8) loss of significant customers; (9) the Company’s need for capital and uncertainty of the credit markets; (10) the possibility of defaults under the Company’s debt agreements (including violation of financial covenants); (11) possible issuance of equity which would dilute stock ownership; (12) integration risks; (13) the effect of litigation including class action lawsuits; (14) cost and availability of qualified drivers, fuel, purchased transportation, real property, revenue equipment, technology and other assets; (15) the effect of governmental regulations, including but not limited to Hours of Service, engine emissions, the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative, the Food and Drug Administration, compliance with legislation requiring companies to evaluate their internal control over financial reporting, Homeland Security, environmental regulations, tax law changes and potential changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement and to certain international tariffs; (16) changes in interpretation of accounting principles; (17) dependence on key employees; (18) inclement weather; (19) labor relations, including the adverse impact should a portion of the Company’s workforce become unionized; (20) terrorism risks; (21) self-insurance claims and other expense volatility; (22) risks arising from international business operations and relationships; (23) cost and availability of insurance coverage, including the possibility the Company may be required to pay additional premiums under its auto liability policy; (24) increased costs of healthcare and prescription drugs, including as a result of healthcare reform legislation; (25) social media risks; (26) disruption in or failure of the Company’s technology or equipment, including services essential to operations of the Company and/or cyber security risk; (27) failure to successfully execute the strategy to expand the Company’s service geography into the Northeastern United States; and (28) other financial, operational and legal risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the Company’s SEC filings. 

As a result of these and other factors, no assurance can be given as to our future results and achievements. Accordingly, a forward-looking statement is neither a prediction nor a guarantee of future events or circumstances and those future events or circumstances may not occur. You should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. We are under no obligation, and we expressly disclaim any obligation, to update or alter any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT:  Saia, Inc.
Investor Relations 

Saia, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
(Amounts in thousands)
  December 31,
 December 31,
Cash and cash equivalents $248  $2,194 
Accounts receivable, net  196,119   181,612 
Prepaid expenses and other  36,012   29,567 
Total current assets  232,379   213,373 
Cost  1,739,222   1,521,341 
Less: accumulated depreciation  686,623   628,283 
Net property and equipment  1,052,599   893,058 
 OTHER ASSETS  29,049   27,312 
Total assets $1,415,693  $1,133,743 
Accounts payable $83,621  $78,994 
Wages and employees' benefits  49,668   48,116 
Other current liabilities  69,532   64,118 
Current portion of long-term debt  19,405   18,082 
Current portion of operating lease liability  19,020    
Total current liabilities  241,246   209,310 
Long-term debt, less current portion  117,025   104,777 
Operating lease liability, less current portion  86,239    
Deferred income taxes  111,555   86,893 
Claims, insurance and other  44,402   36,899 
Total other liabilities  359,221   228,569 
Common stock  26   26 
Additional paid-in capital  260,871   254,738 
Deferred compensation trust  (3,871)  (3,381)
Retained earnings  558,200   444,481 
Total stockholders' equity  815,226   695,864 
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $1,415,693  $1,133,743 

Saia, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Operations
For the Quarters and Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018
(Amounts in thousands, except per share data)
  Fourth Quarter Years
   2019   2018  2019   2018 
OPERATING REVENUE $443,065  $406,750 $1,786,735  $1,653,849 
Salaries, wages and employees' benefits  239,708   216,557  947,911   872,722 
Purchased transportation  31,565   28,659  129,980   123,904 
Fuel, operating expenses and supplies  86,926   79,818  340,056   325,000 
Operating taxes and licenses  14,032   12,779  54,397   50,089 
Claims and insurance  12,537   8,339  43,073   38,425 
Depreciation and amortization  31,877   27,188  119,135   102,153 
Loss (gain) from property disposals, net  (1,010)  74  (403)  379 
Total operating expenses  415,635   373,414  1,634,149   1,512,672 
OPERATING INCOME  27,430   33,336  152,586   141,177 
Interest expense  1,534   1,328  6,688   5,418 
Other, net  (260)  310  (754)  (74)
Nonoperating expenses, net  1,274   1,638  5,934   5,344 
INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES  26,156   31,698  146,652   135,833 
Income tax expense  4,737   6,318  32,933   30,852 
NET INCOME $21,419  $25,380 $113,719  $104,981 
Average common shares outstanding - basic  26,000   25,791  25,952   25,762 
Average common shares outstanding - diluted  26,498   26,289  26,435   26,291 
Basic earnings per share $0.82  $0.98 $4.38  $4.08 
Diluted earnings per share $0.81  $0.97 $4.30  $3.99 

Saia, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
For the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018
(Amounts in thousands)
   2019   2018 
Net cash provided by operating activities $272,876  $256,436 
Net cash provided by operating activities  272,876   256,436 
Acquisition of property and equipment  (287,655)  (223,672)
Proceeds from disposal of property and equipment  6,624   1,088 
Net cash used in investing activities  (281,031)  (222,584)
Borrowing (repayment) of revolving credit agreement, net  25,929   (23,000)
Proceeds from stock option exercises  2,927   4,165 
Shares withheld for taxes  (3,471)  (1,396)
Other financing activity  (19,176)  (16,147)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities  6,209   (36,378)
Equipment financed with finance leases $6,169  $29,090 

Saia, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Financial Information
For the Quarters Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018
        Fourth Quarter  
  Fourth Quarter  %       Amount/Workday  %
   2019   2018  Change  2019 2018 Change
Workdays      62 62  
Operating ratio 93.8%  91.8%        
LTL tonnage (1) 1,164   1,115  4.3  18.77 17.99 4.3
LTL shipments (1) 1,794   1,687  6.3  28.94 27.22 6.3
LTL revenue/cwt.$18.38  $17.72  3.7       
LTL revenue/shipment$238.45  $234.33  1.8       
LTL pounds/shipment 1,297   1,322  (1.9)      
LTL length of haul (2) 846   837  1.1       
(1)In thousands.           
(2)In miles.           
Note:LTL operating statistics exclude transportation and logistics services where pricing is generally not determined by weight. The LTL operating statistics also exclude the adjustment required for financial statement purposes in accordance with the Company's revenue recognition policy.

Saia, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Financial Information
For the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018
        Year Over Year  
  Year Over Year  %       Amount/Workday  %
   2019   2018  Change  2019 2018 Change
Workdays      253 253  
Operating ratio 91.5%  91.5%        
LTL tonnage (1) 4,820   4,801  0.4  19.05 18.97 0.4
LTL shipments (1) 7,409   7,103  4.3  29.28 28.08 4.3
LTL revenue/cwt.$18.05  $16.80  7.4       
LTL revenue/shipment$234.81  $227.08  3.4       
LTL pounds/shipment 1,301   1,352  (3.8)      
LTL length of haul (2) 840   837  0.4       
(1)In thousands.
(2)In miles.           

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