Universal Logistics Reports Net Loss of $8.4 Million

Universal Logistics Holdings Inc. reported a third-quarter net loss of $8.4 million, compared with $15.1 million net income in the third quarter of 2018.

Universal said earnings per share were minus 30 cents, compared with 53 cents per share a year ago.

Revenue was $375.5 million for the period ended Sept. 28, up 0.3% from $374.3 million a year before.

The Warren, Mich.-based logistics company said factors leading to the net loss included $24.8 million in a pre-tax charge for a previously disclosed legal settlement and an additional $2.2 million charge for unrelated ongoing litigation. Universal also estimated the impact of the United Auto Workers labor strike against General Motors Co. to have reduced operating income by $4 million.

Company officials said the UAW strike, which began Sept.16, shuttered activity at Universal’s operations supporting General Motors across the United States. To maintain labor continuity, Universal continued to pay employees during the strike despite the lost production, company officials said. Universal officials said the UAW and General Motors’ tentative agreement could end the strike in late October.

“The third quarter of 2019 proved to be very challenging for Universal,” CEO Jeff Rogers said. “While navigating a soft freight environment, Universal’s third quarter was further impacted by the settlement of a personal injury case and then a labor strike at our largest customer.”

By segment, operating revenue from truckload services decreased $17.6 million, or 21.9%, to $62.6 million, compared with $80.2 million for the same period last year, Universal said. The decrease in truckload services reflects a 22.7% decrease in the number of loads hauled. During the third quarter, Universal moved 56,510 loads, down from 73,117 during the same period last year.

For the brokerage segment, revenue decreased $4.4 million, or 4.4%, to $94.4 million, compared with $98.8 million one year earlier. The decrease primarily is due to a 9.1% decrease in the average operating revenue per load, Universal said. During the third quarter, Universal brokered 61,072 loads, compared with 58,147 loads during the same period last year. The average operating revenue load fell to $1,494 from $1,643 per load in 2018.

Intermodal revenue increased 41.6%, or $27.3 million, to $93 million in the third quarter from $65.7 million during the year-ago period. Universal said included in intermodal revenue was $34.6 million of incremental revenue from acquired companies.

Universal provides transportation and logistics services, including dry van and flatbed truckload, intermodal and freight brokerage, dedicated contract carriage, and warehousing and distribution.

Universal ranks No. 27 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies in North America.