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Werner Enterprises Reports First Quarter 2021 Results

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First Quarter 2021 Highlights (all metrics compared to first quarter 2020)

  • Total revenues of $616.4 million, up 4%

  • Operating income of $62.5 million, up 101%; non-GAAP adjusted operating income of $62.7 million, up 68%

  • Operating margin of 10.1%, up 490 bps; non-GAAP adjusted operating margin of 10.2%, up 390 bps

  • Diluted EPS of $0.68, up 106%; non-GAAP adjusted diluted EPS of $0.68, up 72%

OMAHA, Neb., April 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Werner Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WERN), one of the nation’s largest transportation and logistics companies, today reported record first quarter operating income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.

“Werner achieved record first quarter operating income and earnings per share through superior operational execution,” said Derek J. Leathers, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our experienced and talented team delivered outstanding safety and customer service performance, despite the significant challenges of a disruptive winter and a difficult driver market.

“We are increasingly positive on our outlook for Werner for 2021 and beyond. Our continuing efforts toward enhancement of our “5T’s plus S” strategy are producing structural and durable improvements throughout our Company.”

Total revenues for the quarter were $616.4 million, an increase of $23.7 million compared to the prior year quarter, due primarily to Logistics revenues growth of $25.7 million. Logistics revenues growth resulted primarily from higher pricing in Truckload Logistics and Intermodal.

Operating income of $62.5 million increased $31.4 million, or 101%, while operating margin of 10.1% increased 490 basis points. On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted operating income of $62.7 million increased $25.4 million, or 68%. Adjusted operating margin of 10.2% improved 390 basis points from 6.3% for the same quarter last year. First quarter 2020 GAAP and non-GAAP results included $10.0 million of insurance and claims expense for a serious truck accident that occurred in first quarter 2020.

We generated margin expansion from significantly higher revenues per total mile, strong safety performance, effective cost management and improved gains on sales of trucks and trailers. These improvements were partially offset by lower miles per truck due to severe winter weather, a higher percentage of Dedicated trucks to total trucks, fewer driver teams and higher driver pay per mile.

Interest expense of $0.8 million decreased from $1.6 million due to lower average borrowings. The effective income tax rate during the quarter was 24.9% compared to 23.3% in first quarter 2020.

Net income of $46.5 million increased 102% compared to the prior-year quarter. On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted net income increased 69% to $46.7 million compared to $27.7 million for the same quarter last year. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter of $0.68 increased 106%. On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted diluted EPS of $0.68 increased 72% compared to $0.40 in first quarter 2020.

Key Consolidated Financial Metrics

Three Months Ended
March 31,

(In thousands, except per share amounts)

2021

2020

Y/Y Change

Total revenues

$

616,446

$

592,703

4

%

Truckload Transportation Services revenues

462,949

464,863

0

%

Werner Logistics revenues

137,853

112,164

23

%

Operating income

62,471

31,066

101

%

Operating margin

10.1

%

5.2

%

490 bps

Net income

46,492

23,058

102

%

Diluted earnings per share

0.68

0.33

106

%

Adjusted operating income (1)

62,716

37,278

68

%

Adjusted operating margin (1)

10.2

%

6.3

%

390 bps

Adjusted net income (1)

46,674

27,686

69

%

Adjusted diluted earnings per share (1)

0.68

0.40

72

%

(1) See GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation schedule.

Noteworthy Developments In First Quarter 2021

  • Made an equity investment in TuSimple, an autonomous trucking technology company, to take an active role in developing technologies that will enhance the lives of our professional drivers and customers; announced customer advisory partnerships with another autonomous technology company and an electrified powertrain solutions company; continued to test an OEM electric truck and will test an OEM electric hydrogen fuel cell truck

  • Completed the previously announced sale of the Werner Global Logistics (WGL) freight forwarding services for international ocean and air shipments in February 2021 to focus on providing superior truckload and logistics services in North America; realized a gain of $1.0 million or $0.01 per share

Truckload Transportation Services (TTS) Segment

  • Revenues of $462.9 million decreased $1.9 million

  • Operating income of $57.6 million increased $28.5 million, or 98%; non-GAAP adjusted operating income of $58.9 million increased $23.6 million, or 67%

  • Operating margin of 12.4% increased 610 basis points from 6.3%; non-GAAP adjusted operating margin of 12.7% increased 510 basis points from 7.6%.

  • Non-GAAP adjusted operating margin, net of fuel, of 14.2% increased 570 basis points from 8.5%

  • Average segment trucks in service totaled 7,790, a decrease of 72 trucks year over year, or 0.9%

  • Dedicated unit trucks at quarter end totaled 4,920 or 64% of the total TTS segment fleet, compared to 4,685 trucks, or 60%, a year ago

  • 1.3% increase in TTS average revenues per truck per week

In our Dedicated and One-Way Truckload fleets, freight demand was seasonally strong in first quarter 2021. Freight demand has continued to be strong so far in second quarter 2021.

As a result of a decrease in miles per truck caused by winter weather, a higher percentage of Dedicated trucks to total trucks and fewer trucks, in first quarter 2021, TTS company truck miles decreased by approximately 12.0 million miles, and independent contractor miles decreased by approximately 5.8 million miles.

Comparisons of key financial metrics for the TTS segment, including operating ratios (actual and net of fuel surcharge revenues), are shown in the table that follows. Fluctuating fuel prices and fuel surcharge revenues impact the total company operating ratio and the TTS segment’s operating ratio when fuel surcharges are reported on a gross basis as revenues versus netting against fuel expenses. Eliminating fuel surcharge revenues, which are generally a more volatile source of revenue, provides a more consistent basis for comparing the results of operations from period to period.

Key Truckload Transportation Services Segment Financial Metrics

Three Months Ended
March 31,

(In thousands)

2021

2020

Y/Y Change

Trucking revenues, net of fuel surcharge

$

410,652

$

409,098

0

%

Trucking fuel surcharge revenues

47,459

51,041

(7

)

%

Non-trucking and other revenues

4,838

4,724

2

%

Total revenues

$

462,949

$

464,863

0

%

Operating income

57,628

29,089

98

%

Operating margin

12.4

%

6.3

%

610 bps

Operating ratio

87.6

%

93.7

%

(610) bps

Adjusted operating income

58,886

35,301

67

%

Adjusted operating margin

12.7

%

7.6

%

510 bps

Adjusted operating margin, net of fuel surcharge

14.2

%

8.5

%

570 bps

Adjusted operating ratio

87.3

%

92.4

%

(510) bps

Adjusted operating ratio, net of fuel surcharge

85.8

%

91.5

%

(570) bps

Werner Logistics Segment

  • Revenues of $137.9 million increased $25.7 million, or 23%

  • Gross margin of 12.6% decreased 190 bps

  • Operating income of $4.6 million increased $3.5 million, or 322%

  • Operating margin of 3.3% increased 230 bps

Truckload Logistics revenues (63% of total Logistics revenues) increased 20%. Truckload Logistics volume decreased 1%, and revenues per load increased 22%. Intermodal revenues (24% of Logistics revenues) increased 30%, due to volume growth of 23% and 6% higher revenues per load.

The gross margin percentage decreased 190 bps due to higher spot truckload and dray rates which significantly increased the cost of capacity for contractual brokerage shipments and Intermodal shipments in first quarter 2021. The Logistics adjusted operating margin increased 160 bps to 2.6% as gross profits increased 7% while other operating expenses declined 9% due to improved automation and efficiency.

Key Werner Logistics Segment Financial Metrics

Three Months Ended
March 31,

(In thousands)

2021

2020

Y/Y Change

Total revenues

$

137,853

$

112,164

23

%

Rent and purchased transportation expense

120,527

95,932

26

%

Gross profit

17,326

16,232

7

%

Other operating expenses

12,752

15,147

(16

)

%

Operating income

4,574

1,085

322

%

Gross margin

12.6

%

14.5

%

(190) bps

Operating margin

3.3

%

1.0

%

230 bps

Adjusted operating income

3,561

1,085

228

%

Adjusted operating margin

2.6

%

1.0

%

160 bps

Cash Flow and Capital Allocation

Cash flow from operations in first quarter 2021 was $135.9 million compared to $133.4 million in first quarter 2020, an increase of 2%.

Net capital expenditures in the first quarter 2021 were $37.9 million compared to $18.8 million in first quarter 2020, an increase of 101%. We plan to continue to invest in new trucks and trailers and our terminals to improve our driver experience, increase operational efficiency and more effectively manage our maintenance, safety and fuel costs. The average ages of our truck and trailer fleets remain low by industry standards and were 2.0 years and 4.0 years, respectively, as of March 31, 2021.

Gains on sales of equipment in first quarter 2021 were $10.5 million, or $0.11 per share, compared to $2.5 million, or $0.03 per share, in first quarter 2020. Year over year, we sold significantly more trucks and more trailers and realized substantially higher average gains per truck and trailer due to improved pricing in the market for our used equipment. As a reminder, gains on sales of assets are reflected as a reduction of Other Operating Expenses in our income statement.

During the quarter, we repurchased 130,446 shares of common stock for a total cost of $5.5 million, or an average price of $42.22 per share. As of March 31, 2021, we had 2.7 million shares remaining under our share repurchase authorization.

As of March 31, 2021, we had $83 million of cash and over $1.2 billion of stockholders’ equity. Total debt outstanding decreased $25 million during the quarter to $175 million at March 31, 2021. After considering letters of credit issued, we had available liquidity consisting of cash and available borrowing capacity, of $357 million.

2021 Guidance Metrics and Assumptions

The following table summarizes our updated 2021 guidance and assumptions:

2021 Guidance

Prior
(as of 2/4/21)

Actual
(as of 3/31/21)

New
(as of 4/28/21)

Commentary

TTS truck
growth from
BoY to EoY

1% to 3%
(annual)

(1)%
(1Q21)

1% to 3%
(annual)

Continue to expect modest fleet
growth for full year 2021

Gains on sales
of equipment

$12M to $15M
(annual)

$10.5M
(1Q21)

$7M to $10M
(2Q21)

Strong pricing market;
expect lower unit sales in
2Q21 vs. 1Q21

Net capital
expenditures

$275M to $300M
(annual)

$38M
(1Q21)

$275M to $300M
(annual)

TTS Guidance

Dedicated
RPTPW*

growth

3% to 5%
(1H21 vs. 1H20)

2.1%
(1Q21 vs. 1Q20)

3% to 5%
(annual)

Temporary effect of winter
weather lowered 1Q21 miles per
truck

One-Way
Truckload
(OWT) RPTM*
growth

7% to 10%
(1H21 vs. 1H20)

9.5%
(1Q21 vs. 1Q20)

13% to 16%
(2Q21 vs. 2Q20)

Pricing market strengthened
during 1Q21; expect continued
strong pricing and favorable YoY
comparisons in
2Q21 vs. 2Q20

Assumptions

Effective
income tax rate

24.5% to 25.5%
(annual)

24.9%
(1Q21)

24.5% to 25.5%
(annual)

Truck age
Trailer age

2.0 years
Low-to-mid “4” years

2.0 years
4.0 years

2.0 years
Low-to-mid “4” years

Reinvesting to maintain young
fleet

* Net of fuel surcharge revenues

Conference Call Information

Werner Enterprises, Inc. will conduct a conference call to discuss first quarter 2021 earnings today beginning at 4:00 p.m. CT. The news release, live webcast of the earnings conference call, and accompanying slide presentation will be available at www.werner.com in the “Investors” section under “News & Events” and then “Webcasts & Presentations.” To participate in the conference call, please dial (844) 701-1165 (domestic) or (412) 317-5498 (international). Please mention to the operator that you are dialing in for the Werner Enterprises call.

A replay of the conference call will be available on April 28, 2021 at approximately 6:00 p.m. CT through May 28, 2021 by dialing (877) 344-7529 (domestic) or (412) 317-0088 (international) and using the access code 10150330. A replay of the webcast will also be available at www.werner.com in the “Investors” section under “News & Events” and then “Webcasts & Presentations.”

About Werner Enterprises

Werner Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WERN) delivers superior truckload transportation and logistics services to customers across the United States, Mexico and Canada. With 2020 revenues of $2.4 billion, an industry-leading modern truck and trailer fleet, nearly 13,000 talented associates and our innovative Werner Edge technology, we are an essential solutions provider for customers who value the integrity of their supply chain and require safe and exceptional on-time service. Werner provides Dedicated and One-Way Truckload services as well as Logistics services that include truckload brokerage, freight management, intermodal and final mile. As an industry leader, Werner is deeply committed to promoting sustainability and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Such forward-looking statements are based on information presently available to the Company’s management and are current only as of the date made. Actual results could also differ materially from those anticipated as a result of a number of factors, including, but not limited to, those discussed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020.

For those reasons, undue reliance should not be placed on any forward-looking statement. The Company assumes no duty or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, although it may do so from time to time as management believes is warranted or as may be required by applicable securities law. Any such updates or revisions may be made by filing reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, through the issuance of press releases or by other methods of public disclosure.

To supplement our financial results presented on a GAAP basis, we provide certain non-GAAP financial measures, including adjusted operating income, adjusted net income and adjusted diluted earnings per share. We believe these non-GAAP financial measures provide a more useful comparison of our performance from period to period because they exclude the effect of items that, in our opinion, do not reflect our core operating performance. Our non-GAAP financial measures are not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for comparable GAAP measures and should be read only in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP. There are limitations to using non-GAAP financial measures. Although we believe that they improve comparability in analyzing our period to period performance, they could limit comparability to other companies in our industry if those companies define these measures differently. Because of these limitations, our non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered measures of income generated by our business. Management compensates for these limitations by primarily relying on GAAP results and using non-GAAP financial measures on a supplemental basis.

Contact:
John J. Steele
Executive Vice President, Treasurer
and Chief Financial Officer
(402) 894-3036

Source: Werner Enterprises, Inc.

INCOME STATEMENT

(Unaudited)

(In thousands, except per share amounts)

Three Months Ended
March 31,

2021

2020

$

%

$

%

Operating revenues

$

616,446

100.0

$

592,703

100.0

Operating expenses:

Salaries, wages and benefits

204,853

33.2

205,997

34.8

Fuel

50,838

8.2

48,771

8.2

Supplies and maintenance

46,147

7.5

45,721

7.7

Taxes and licenses

23,233

3.8

22,850

3.9

Insurance and claims

22,056

3.6

36,064

6.1

Depreciation

63,951

10.4

68,837

11.6

Rent and purchased transportation

146,493

23.8

126,442

21.3

Communications and utilities

3,022

0.5

3,808

0.7

Other

(6,618

)

(1.1

)

3,147

0.5

Total operating expenses

553,975

89.9

561,637

94.8

Operating income

62,471

10.1

31,066

5.2

Other expense (income):

Interest expense

838

0.1

1,591

0.2

Interest income

(297

)

(626

)

(0.1

)

Other

42

45

Total other expense (income)

583

0.1

1,010

0.1

Income before income taxes

61,888

10.0

30,056

5.1

Income tax expense

15,396

2.5

6,998

1.2

Net income

$

46,492

7.5

$

23,058

3.9

Diluted shares outstanding

68,223

69,609

Diluted earnings per share

$

0.68

$

0.33


GAAP TO NON-GAAP RECONCILIATION

(Unaudited)

(In thousands, except per share amounts)

Three Months Ended
March 31,

2021

2020

Operating revenues

$

616,446

$

592,703

Operating expenses

553,975

561,637

Operating income

62,471

31,066

Total other expense (income)

583

1,010

Income before income taxes

61,888

30,056

Income tax expense

15,396

6,998

Net income

$

46,492

$

23,058

Diluted shares outstanding

68,223

69,609

Diluted earnings per share

$

0.68

$

0.33

Adjusted for:

Operating expenses

$

553,975

$

561,637

Insurance and claims (1)

(1,258

)

(1,198

)

Gain on sale of Werner Global Logistics (2)

1,013

Depreciation (3)

(5,014

)

Adjusted operating expenses

553,730

555,425

Adjusted operating income (4)

62,716

37,278

Total other expense (income)

583

1,010

Adjusted income before income taxes

62,133

36,268

Adjusted income tax expense

15,459

8,582

Adjusted net income (4)

$

46,674

$

27,686

Diluted shares outstanding

68,223

69,609

Adjusted diluted earnings per share (4)

$

0.68

$

0.40

(1) During first quarter 2021 and 2020, we accrued pre-tax insurance and claims expense for interest related to a previously disclosed excess adverse jury verdict rendered on May 17, 2018 in a lawsuit arising from a December 2014 accident. The Company is appealing this verdict. Additional information about the accident was included in our Current Report on Form 8-K dated May 17, 2018. Under our insurance policies in effect on the date of this accident, our maximum liability for this accident is $10.0 million (plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interest) with premium-based insurance coverage that exceeds the jury verdict amount. Interest is accrued at $0.4 million per month until such time as the outcome of our appeal is finalized. Management believes excluding the effect of this item provides a more useful comparison of our performance from period to period. This item is included in the Truckload Transportation Services segment in our Segment Information table.

(2) During first quarter 2021, we sold Werner Global Logistics (“WGL”) freight forwarding services for international ocean and air shipments to Scan Global Logistics Group, which resulted in the pre-tax gain on sale. Management believes excluding the effect of this unusual and infrequent item provides a more useful comparison of our performance from period to period. This item is included in the Werner Logistics segment in our Segment Information table.

(3) During first quarter 2020, we changed the estimated life of certain trucks expected to be sold in 2020 to more rapidly depreciate these trucks to their estimated residual values due to the weak used truck market. These trucks continued to depreciate at the same higher rate per truck, until all were sold. Management believes excluding the effect of this unusual and infrequent item provides a more useful comparison of our performance from period to period. This item is included in the Truckload Transportation Services segment in our Segment Information table.

(4) Our definition of the non-GAAP measures adjusted operating income, adjusted net income and adjusted diluted earnings per share begins with (a) operating expenses, the most comparable GAAP measure. We subtract the insurance and claims jury verdict interest accrual and the additional depreciation expense and add the gain on sale of WGL to (a) to arrive at adjusted operating expenses, which we subtract from operating revenues to arrive at (b) adjusted operating income. We subtract (c) total other expense (income) from (b) adjusted operating income to arrive at (d) adjusted income before income taxes. We calculate adjusted income tax expense by applying the incremental income tax rate excluding discrete items to the net pre-tax adjustments and adding this additional income tax to GAAP income tax expense. We then subtract adjusted income tax expense from adjusted income before income taxes to arrive at adjusted net income. The adjusted net income is divided by the diluted shares outstanding to calculate the adjusted diluted earnings per share.

SEGMENT INFORMATION

(Unaudited)

(In thousands)

Three Months Ended
March 31,

2021

2020

Revenues

Truckload Transportation Services

$

462,949

$

464,863

Werner Logistics

137,853

112,164

Other (1)

15,399

15,068

Corporate

379

619

Subtotal

616,580

592,714

Inter-segment eliminations (2)

(134

)

(11

)

Total

$

616,446

$

592,703

Operating Income

Truckload Transportation Services

$

57,628

$

29,089

Werner Logistics

4,574

1,085

Other (1)

866

2,900

Corporate

(597

)

(2,008

)

Total

$

62,471

$

31,066

(1) Other includes our driver training schools, transportation-related activities such as third-party equipment maintenance and equipment leasing, and other business activities.

(2) Inter-segment eliminations represent transactions between reporting segments that are eliminated in consolidation.

OPERATING STATISTICS BY SEGMENT

(Unaudited)

Three Months Ended
March 31,

2021

2020

% Chg

Truckload Transportation Services segment

Average trucks in service

7,790

7,862

(0.9

)

%

Average revenues per truck per week (1)

$

4,055

$

4,003

1.3

%

Total trucks (at quarter end)

Company

7,360

7,350

0.1

%

Independent contractor

375

485

(22.7

)

%

Total trucks

7,735

7,835

(1.3

)

%

Total trailers (at quarter end)

22,710

21,910

3.7

%

One-Way Truckload

Trucking revenues, net of fuel surcharge (in 000’s)

$

156,839

$

177,849

(11.8

)

%

Average trucks in service

2,856

3,271

(12.7

)

%

Total trucks (at quarter end)

2,815

3,150

(10.6

)

%

Average percentage of empty miles

11.35

%

11.83

%

(4.1

)

%

Average revenues per truck per week (1)

$

4,224

$

4,182

1.0

%

Average % change YOY in revenues per total mile (1)

9.5

%

(3.7

)

%

Average % change YOY in total miles per truck per week

(7.7

)

%

5.1

%

Average completed trip length in miles (loaded)

853

863

(1.2

)

%

Dedicated

Trucking revenues, net of fuel surcharge (in 000’s)

$

253,813

$

231,249

9.8

%

Average trucks in service

4,934

4,591

7.5

%

Total trucks (at quarter end)

4,920

4,685

5.0

%

Average revenues per truck per week (1)

$

3,957

$

3,874

2.1

%

Werner Logistics segment

Average trucks in service

39

32

21.9

%

Total trucks (at quarter end)

39

30

30.0

%

Total trailers (at quarter end)

1,440

1,625

(11.4

)

%

(1) Net of fuel surcharge revenues

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION

(Unaudited)

(In thousands)

Three Months Ended
March 31,

2021

2020

Capital expenditures, net

$

37,866

$

18,840

Cash flow from operations

135,867

133,376

Return on assets (annualized)

8.6

%

4.4

%

Return on equity (annualized)

15.4

%

8.3

%


CONDENSED BALANCE SHEET

(In thousands, except share amounts)

March 31,
2021

December 31,
2020

(Unaudited)

ASSETS

Current assets:

Cash and cash equivalents

$

83,130

$

29,334

Accounts receivable, trade, less allowance of $8,897 and $8,686, respectively

347,902

341,104

Other receivables

44,363

23,491

Inventories and supplies

11,919

12,062

Prepaid taxes, licenses and permits

12,876

17,231

Other current assets

32,719

33,694

Total current assets

532,909

456,916

Property and equipment

2,410,791

2,405,335

Less – accumulated depreciation

873,449

862,077

Property and equipment, net

1,537,342

1,543,258

Other non-current assets (1)

159,275

156,502

Total assets

$

2,229,526

$

2,156,676

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

Current liabilities:

Accounts payable

$

113,064

$

83,263

Current portion of long-term debt

25,000

Insurance and claims accruals

91,097

76,917

Accrued payroll

41,912

35,594

Accrued expenses

25,350

25,032

Income taxes payable

19,226

7,824

Other current liabilities

17,112

20,384

Total current liabilities

307,761

274,014

Long-term debt, net of current portion

175,000

175,000

Other long-term liabilities

41,485

43,114

Insurance and claims accruals, net of current portion (1)

235,850

231,638

Deferred income taxes

241,700

237,870

Stockholders’ equity:

Common stock, $.01 par value, 200,000,000 shares authorized; 80,533,536

shares issued; 67,918,148 and 67,931,726 shares outstanding, respectively

805

805

Paid-in capital

114,588

116,039

Retained earnings

1,478,616

1,438,916

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

(23,098

)

(22,833

)

Treasury stock, at cost; 12,615,388 and 12,601,810 shares, respectively

(343,181

)

(337,887

)

Total stockholders’ equity

1,227,730

1,195,040

Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity

$

2,229,526

$

2,156,676

(1) Under the terms of our insurance policies, we are the primary obligor of the damage award in the previously mentioned adverse jury verdict, and as such, we have recorded a $79.2 million receivable from our third party insurance providers in other non-current assets and a corresponding liability of the same amount in the long-term portion of insurance and claims accruals in the unaudited condensed balance sheets as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020.