published Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Chattanooga-based Covenant Transport expects better earnings

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    Covenant Transport is based southwest of downtown Chattanooga next to Interstate 24.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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Covenant Transport said today that its fourth quarter earnings in 2013 could double the year-ago levels due to higher freight volumes and margins.

Covenant CEO David Parker said the Chattanooga-based trucking giant should earn between 18 cents and 22 cents per share in the the fourth quarter, up from 10 cents a share a year earlier.

Analysts had forecast that Covenant would earn between 8 cents and 13 cents per share in the fourth quarter.

"The expected improvement in earnings per diluted share relates primarily to higher freight revenue per tractor (excluding fuel surcharge revenue) in our asset-based business, significant improvement in revenue and margins in our non-asset based Covenant Transport Solutions business, and lower costs of fuel (net of fuel surcharge recovery)," Parker said in a statement today. "During December, we experienced a significant increase in demand, particularly in our expedited team-driver operations, which supported higher than expected freight revenue per mile (excluding fuel surcharge revenue) and miles per tractor."

Parker said the December "was unusual and related, at least in part, to the compressed period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas" in 2013."

Covenant plans to release its year-end earnings report on Jan. 27.

The company's holiday shopping trends toward delivery of gifts purchased over the Internet, the volume carried by less-than-truckload and parcel delivery companies, and our customer exposure to the linehaul freight of these other transportation companies."

The company plans to release its fourth quarter earnings on Jan. 27.

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