MONDOVI, Wis., Oct. 20, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marten Transport, Ltd. (Nasdaq:MRTN) today reported net income of $8.4 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter ended September 30, 2016, compared with $8.4 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2015.  For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2016, net income was $25.2 million, or 77 cents per diluted share.  Net income for the first nine months of 2015 was $27.0 million, or 80 cents per diluted share, and, excluding a $3.7 million facility disposition gain, was $24.8 million, or 73 cents per diluted share.

Operating revenue was $170.5 million for the third quarter of 2016 compared with $171.3 million for the third quarter of 2015, and increased to $498.5 million for the first nine months of 2016 from $496.2 million for the first nine months of 2015, despite substantially lower fuel surcharges due to decreased fuel prices in 2016.  Operating revenue, net of fuel surcharges, improved 1.2% to $155.8 million for the 2016 quarter from $154.0 million for the 2015 quarter, and increased 5.0% to $460.5 million for the 2016 nine-month period from $438.6 million for the 2015 nine-month period.  Fuel surcharge revenue decreased to $14.7 million for the third quarter of 2016 from $17.4 million for the 2015 quarter, and decreased to $37.9 million for the 2016 nine-month period from $57.6 million for the 2015 nine-month period.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue improved to 91.3% for the third quarter of 2016 from 91.6% for the third quarter of 2015.  Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, improved to 90.5% for the third quarter of 2016 from 90.7% for the third quarter of 2015.  

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue was 91.2% for the first nine months of 2016 and 90.8% for the first nine months of 2015.  Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, was 90.5% for the 2016 nine-month period.  The operating ratio, net of both fuel surcharges and the gain on the facility disposition, was 90.4% for the 2015 nine-month period.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randolph L. Marten said, "The balanced strength of our multifaceted and diverse business model and the smart, disciplined work of our people drove increased results despite a continued soft freight market with excess capacity, which we expect to continue into 2017.  This quarter we achieved our sixth consecutive year-over-year increase in quarterly profitability within each of our dedicated, intermodal and brokerage segments.  We successfully grew our average number of truckload and dedicated tractors by 283 tractors, or 11.6%, in this year's first nine months over the first nine months of 2015.  We believe that we are well-positioned to capitalize on further profitable growth opportunities with our unique business model."

Marten Transport, with headquarters in Mondovi, Wis., is one of the leading temperature-sensitive truckload carriers in the United States, specializing in transporting and distributing food and other consumer packaged goods that require a temperature-controlled or insulated environment.  Marten's dry freight services are expanding, with 891 dry trailers operating as of September 30, 2016.  Marten offers service in the United States, Canada and Mexico, concentrating on expedited movements for high-volume customers.  Marten's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol MRTN.

This press release contains certain statements that may be considered 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.  These statements include our discussion of the Company's prospects for future growth and by their nature involve substantial risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements.  Important factors known to the Company that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements are discussed in Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015.  The Company undertakes no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
 
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS
(Unaudited)
     
   September 30,   December 31, 
(In thousands, except share information)   2016     2015  
     
ASSETS    
 Current assets:    
  Cash and cash equivalents $   175   $   434  
  Receivables:    
   Trade, net   69,874     70,597  
   Other   3,939     10,885  
  Prepaid expenses and other   16,715     18,134  
    Total current assets   90,703     100,050  
     
 Property and equipment:    
  Revenue equipment, buildings and land,    
  office equipment and other   754,448     724,597  
  Accumulated depreciation   (202,092 )   (196,588 )
    Net property and equipment   552,356     528,009  
  Other assets   2,881     3,469  
     Total assets $   645,940   $   631,528  
     
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY    
 Current liabilities:    
  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $   46,121   $   33,641  
  Insurance and claims accruals   17,761     16,235  
  Checks issued in excess of cash balances   199     -  
   Total current liabilities   64,081     49,876  
  Long-term debt   8,549     37,867  
  Deferred income taxes   144,610     134,364  
   Total liabilities   217,240     222,107  
     
 Stockholders' equity:    
  Preferred stock, $.01 par value per share;    
  2,000,000 shares authorized; no shares    
  issued and outstanding   -     -  
  Common stock, $.01 par value per share;    
  96,000,000 shares authorized; 32,571,400 shares      
  at September 30, 2016, and 32,759,806 shares at    
  December 31, 2015, issued and outstanding   326     328  
  Additional paid-in capital   73,024     76,468  
  Retained earnings   355,350     332,625  
   Total stockholders' equity   428,700     409,421  
    Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $   645,940   $   631,528  
     

 
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(Unaudited)
         
  Three Months   Nine Months
  Ended September 30,   Ended September 30,
(In thousands, except per share information)     2016     2015       2016     2015  
               
Operating revenue $   170,464   $   171,346     $   498,483   $   496,221  
               
Operating expenses (income):              
Salaries, wages and benefits   57,090     55,129       168,116     154,901  
Purchased transportation   27,775     30,756       81,997     88,343  
Fuel and fuel taxes   24,845     26,556       68,405     81,313  
Supplies and maintenance   11,618     11,351       33,025     32,735  
Depreciation   20,790     19,331       61,205     55,469  
Operating taxes and licenses   2,297     2,295       6,732     6,185  
Insurance and claims   8,194     7,105       23,245     21,973  
Communications and utilities   1,584     1,431       4,701     4,347  
Gain on disposition of revenue equipment   (3,325 )   (1,895 )     (7,462 )   (4,843 )
Gain on disposition of facility   -     -       -     (3,712 )
Other   4,727     4,933       14,749     13,684  
               
Total operating expenses   155,595     156,992       454,713     450,395  
               
Operating income   14,869     14,354       43,770     45,826  
                           
Other   342     126       794     147  
               
Income before income taxes   14,527     14,228       42,976     45,679  
               
Provision for income taxes   6,090     5,818       17,815     18,724  
               
Net income $   8,437   $   8,410     $   25,161   $   26,955  
               
Basic earnings per common share $   0.26   $   0.25     $   0.77   $   0.80  
               
Diluted earnings per common share $   0.26   $   0.25     $   0.77   $   0.80  
               
Dividends declared per common share $   0.025   $   0.025     $   0.075   $   0.075  
                 

 
 
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
SEGMENT INFORMATION
(Unaudited)
         
      Dollar Percentage
      Change Change
  Three Months Three Months Three Months
  Ended Ended Ended
  September 30,  September 30,   September 30, 
(Dollars in thousands)   2016     2015   2016 vs. 2015 2016 vs. 2015
Operating revenue:        
Truckload revenue, net of fuel        
  surcharge revenue $   85,469   $   86,594   $   (1,125 )   (1.3 )%
Truckload fuel surcharge revenue   9,726     11,777     (2,051 )             (17.4 )
Total Truckload revenue   95,195     98,371     (3,176 )   (3.2 )
         
Dedicated revenue, net of fuel        
  surcharge revenue   37,669     31,477     6,192     19.7  
Dedicated fuel surcharge revenue     2,967     2,937     30     1.0  
Total Dedicated revenue   40,636     34,414     6,222     18.1  
         
Intermodal revenue, net of fuel        
  surcharge revenue   16,381     17,158     (777 )   (4.5 )
Intermodal fuel surcharge revenue     1,979     2,673     (694 )   (26.0 )
Total Intermodal revenue   18,360     19,831     (1,471 )   (7.4 )
                         
Brokerage revenue   16,273     18,730     (2,457 )   (13.1 )
         
Total operating revenue  $ 170,464    $ 171,346    $ (882 )   (0.5 )%
         
Operating income:        
Truckload $   6,509   $   8,204   $   (1,695 )   (20.7 )%
Dedicated   5,505     3,929     1,576     40.1  
Intermodal   1,645     1,152     493     42.8  
Brokerage   1,210     1,069     141     13.2  
Total operating income $   14,869   $   14,354   $   515     3.6 %
         
Operating ratio:        
Truckload   93.2 %   91.7 %    
Dedicated   86.5     88.6      
Intermodal   91.0     94.2      
Brokerage   92.6     94.3      
Consolidated operating ratio   91.3 %   91.6 %    
         

   
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.  
SEGMENT INFORMATION  
(Unaudited)  
           
      Dollar Percentage  
      Change Change  
  Nine Months Nine Months Nine Months  
  Ended Ended Ended  
  September 30,  September 30,   September 30,   
(Dollars in thousands)   2016     2015   2016 vs. 2015 2016 vs. 2015  
Operating revenue:          
Truckload revenue, net of fuel          
  surcharge revenue $   253,514   $   262,227   $   (8,713 )   (3.3 )%  
Truckload fuel surcharge revenue   25,771     40,296     (14,525 )   (36.0 )  
Total Truckload revenue   279,285     302,523     (23,238 )   (7.7 )  
           
Dedicated revenue, net of fuel          
  surcharge revenue   109,833     73,941     35,892     48.5    
Dedicated fuel surcharge revenue   7,175     8,331     (1,156 )   (13.9 )  
Total Dedicated revenue   117,008     82,272     34,736     42.2    
           
Intermodal revenue, net of fuel          
  surcharge revenue   48,353     50,278     (1,925 )   (3.8 )  
Intermodal fuel surcharge revenue   4,990     8,991     (4,001 )   (44.5 )  
Total Intermodal revenue   53,343     59,269     (5,926 )   (10.0 )  
                           
Brokerage revenue   48,847     52,157     (3,310 )   (6.3 )  
           
Total operating revenue $   498,483   $   496,221   $   2,262     0.5 %  
           
Operating income:          
Truckload $   20,400   $   27,614   $   (7,214 )   (26.1 )%  
Dedicated   14,963     8,496     6,467     76.1    
Intermodal   5,396     3,372     2,024     60.0    
Brokerage   3,011     2,632     379     14.4    
Total operating income before gain          
  on disposition of facility   43,770     42,114     1,656     3.9    
Gain on disposition of facility   -     3,712     (3,712 )           (100.0 )  
Total operating income $   43,770   $   45,826   $   (2,056 )   (4.5 )%  
           
Operating ratio:          
Truckload   92.7 %   90.9 %      
Dedicated   87.2     89.7        
Intermodal   89.9     94.3        
Brokerage   93.8     95.0        
Consolidated operating ratio before gain            
  on disposition of facility   91.2 %   91.5 %      
Consolidated operating ratio   91.2 %   90.8 %      
           

 
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
OPERATING STATISTICS
(Unaudited)
 
  Three Months Nine Months
  Ended September 30, Ended September 30,
    2016     2015     2016     2015  
Truckload Segment:        
Revenue (in thousands) $ 95,195   $ 98,371   $ 279,285   $ 302,523  
Average revenue, net of fuel surcharges, per tractor per week (1)   $    3,440   $    3,492   $    3,417   $    3,573  
Average tractors (1)   1,890     1,887     1,896     1,882  
Average miles per trip   617     643     628     675  
Non-revenue miles percentage (2)   9.2 %   9.3 %   9.3 %   9.3 %
Total miles (in thousands)   46,734     45,811     137,495     141,170  
         
Dedicated Segment:        
Revenue (in thousands) $ 40,636   $ 34,414   $ 117,008   $ 82,272  
Average revenue, net of fuel surcharges, per tractor per week (1) $    3,471   $    3,416   $    3,426   $    3,446  
Average tractors (1)   826     701     819     550  
Average miles per trip   295     341     304     358  
Non-revenue miles percentage (2)   0.7 %   1.2 %   0.8 %   1.6 %
Total miles (in thousands)   19,035     16,533     56,507     39,882  
         
Intermodal Segment:        
Revenue (in thousands) $ 18,360   $ 19,831   $ 53,343   $ 59,269  
Loads   9,223     9,531     26,674     27,765  
Average tractors   75     86     76     91  
         
Brokerage Segment:        
Revenue (in thousands) $ 16,273   $ 18,730   $ 48,847   $ 52,157  
Loads   12,416     13,208     36,795     34,832  
         
At September 30, 2016 and September 30, 2015:        
Total tractors (1)   2,770     2,685      
Average age of company tractors (in years)   1.5     1.5      
Total trailers   4,880     4,511      
Average age of company trailers (in years)   2.7     2.6      
Ratio of trailers to tractors (1)   1.8     1.7      
         
  Three Months Nine Months
  Ended September 30, Ended September 30,
(In thousands)   2016     2015     2016     2015  
         
Net cash provided by operating activities $ 24,020   $ 29,646   $ 104,141   $ 101,422  
Net cash (used for) investing activities   (29,164 )   (60,191 )   (68,842 )   (103,526 )
Net cash provided by (used for) financing activities     5,111     26,191     (35,558 )   2,126  
         
Weighted average shares outstanding:        
Basic   32,531     33,622     32,476     33,555  
Diluted   32,715     33,846     32,653     33,816  
         

(1) Includes tractors driven by both company-employed drivers and independent contractors.  Independent contractors provided 72 and 64 tractors as of September 30, 2016 and 2015, respectively.        

(2) Represents the percentage of miles for which the company is not compensated.

CONTACTS: Tim Kohl, President, and Jim Hinnendael, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, of Marten Transport, Ltd., 715-926-4216.

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