VAN BUREN, Ark. — USA Truck Inc. had the best performance of any Arkansas publicly traded company in the first quarter, gaining 42 percent in the past three months, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Friday in a story on the front page of the paper’s business section.
It was a significant turnaround for the Van Buren based trucking company whose stock was the worst performer in 2012, losing 55 percent of its value.
The big gain after the poor performance last year wasn’t surprising, Bob Williams, senior vice president and managing director of Delta Trust Investments Inc. in Little Rock, told the newspaper.
“The stock price reflects improving operating fundamentals that began in the third quarter last year and continued into the fourth quarter,” Williams said.
The stocks of all the publicly traded trucking companies in the Arkansas — USA Truck, Arkansas Best, J.B. Hunt Transport Services and P.A.M. Transportation Services — have been performing well, Lane Kidd, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association, told the paper. A major reason is because the economy is doing well, Kidd said.
J.B. Hunt has been a leader among trucking firms throughout the country with its diversified business, Kidd said. J.B. Hunt has excelled with its dedicated division that contracts with customers to handle all their freight, Kidd said.
“That has proven to be a really effective strategy,” Kidd told the newspaper.
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USA Truck recently appointed John Simone as president and CEO and he also joined the company's board of directors.
Former CEO Cliff Beckham has returned to his previous role as the company's executive vice president and chief financial officer, which he previously held from 2002 to 2007, according to PR Newswire.
“We have been taking many steps toward improving USA Truck’s operating and financial performance. Hiring John Simone as our new CEO is an important next step that we expect to accelerate the process,” Robert A. Peiser, chairman of the board, said at the time of Simone’s appointment. “He has deep experience in trucking operations and is a proven leader of people in all functional areas and at all levels. We are excited that he shares our belief in the future of the company and will be dedicated to building on our momentum.”
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