LOWELL, Ark. — J.B. Hunt Transport Services has announced its third quarter of 2023 United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (U.S. GAAP) net earnings, which totaled $187.4 million, or diluted earnings per share of $1.80, versus third quarter 2022 net earnings of $269.4 million, or $2.57 per diluted share.
Total operating revenue for the current quarter was $3.16 billion, a decrease of 18% compared with $3.84 billion for the third quarter of 2022, according to a news release.
The current quarter’s total operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharge revenue, decreased by 15% versus the comparable quarter of 2022. This decrease was primarily driven by a 14% and 22% decrease in Intermodal (JBI) and Truckload (JBT) revenue per load (excluding fuel surcharge revenue) respectively, a 38% decrease in volume in Integrated Capacity Solutions, a 20% decrease in stops in Final Miles Services (FMS), and a 1% decline in average revenue producing trucks in Dedicated Contract Services, partially offset by a 1% increase in JBI volumes and a 6% increase in JBT loads versus the prior-year period.
Operating income for the current quarter decreased 33% to $241.7 million versus $362.2 million for the third quarter of 2022.
Operating income decreased primarily due to lower revenue across all business segments, higher equipment-related costs, and higher insurance and claims expenses compared to the third quarter of 2022. In addition, the third quarter of 2023 included an $8 million net loss from the sale of equipment compared to a negligible net gain in the prior year quarter. On a consolidated basis, operating income as a percentage of consolidated gross revenue decreased year-over-year as a result of higher professional driver and non-driver wages and benefits and equipment-related and maintenance expenses as a percentage of gross revenue. These items were partially offset by lower rail and truck-purchased transportation costs as a percentage of gross revenue.
Net interest expense for the current quarter decreased modestly compared to the third quarter of 2022 due primarily to the interest component of a discrete income tax benefit recognized in the current quarter, partially offset by a higher average debt balance and higher interest rates.
The effective income tax rate in the current quarter was 18.2% versus 22.7% in the third quarter of 2022.
The decrease was due to the recording of a discrete benefit recognized in the current quarter. We expect our 2023 annual tax rate to be between 22.0% and 23.0%.
At Sept. 30, the company had a total of $1.4 billion outstanding on various debt instruments compared to total debt of $1.2 billion at Sept. 30 and $1.3 billion at Dec. 31, 2022, the news release noted.
The company’s net capital expenditures for the nine months ended Sept. 30 approximated $1.3 billion compared to $1.0 billion for the same period in 2022.
On Sept. 30, the company had cash and cash equivalents of approximately $75 million.
In the third quarter of 2023, the company purchased approximately 267,000 shares of our common stock for approximately $51 million.
On Sept. 30, the company had approximately $416 million remaining under its share repurchase authorization. Actual shares outstanding on Sept. 30 approximated 103.1 million.
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