MONDOVI, Wis., Jan. 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marten Transport, Ltd. (Nasdaq/GS:MRTN) today reported net income of $8.3 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with $8.8 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2015.  Net income was $33.5 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared with $35.7 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, for 2015.  Results for 2015 included a gain on the disposition of facilities of $392,000 for the fourth quarter and $4.1 million for the year.  Net income improved to $33.5 million in 2016 from $33.3 million, or 99 cents per diluted share, in 2015 excluding the facilities gain.

Operating revenue improved 2.3% to $172.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 from $168.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2015, and improved 0.9% to $671.1 million for 2016 from $665.0 million for 2015, despite lower fuel surcharges due to decreased fuel prices in 2016.  Operating revenue, net of fuel surcharges, improved 2.2% to $157.4 million for the 2016 quarter from $154.0 million for the 2015 quarter, and increased 4.3% to $617.9 million for 2016 from $592.6 million for 2015.  Fuel surcharge revenue increased to $15.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 from $14.7 million for the 2015 quarter, and decreased 26.4% to $53.2 million for 2016 from $72.3 million for 2015.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue was 91.6% for the fourth quarter of 2016 and 91.0% for the fourth quarter of 2015.  Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, was 90.8% for the fourth quarter of 2016.  The operating ratio, net of both fuel surcharges and the gain on the facility disposition, was 90.4% for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue was 91.3% for 2016 and 90.8% for 2015.  Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharges, was 90.6% for 2016.  The operating ratio, net of both fuel surcharges and the gain on the facility dispositions, was 90.4% for 2015.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randolph L. Marten said, "Despite persistent softness in the freight market, which has challenged our truckload segment, we have continued to demonstrate the strength of our unique multifaceted business model by achieving our eighth consecutive year-over-year increase in quarterly operating income within each of our dedicated, intermodal and brokerage segments.  We increased our average number of truckload and dedicated tractors by 226 tractors, or 9.1%, in 2016 over 2015 with the expansion of our dedicated operations.  We remain confident in our ability to profitably capitalize on growth opportunities across all of our business units with our competitive position, cost control emphasis, modern fleet and strong balance sheet."

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 921 dry trailers operating as of December 31, 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)  
           
    December 31,   December 31,  
(In thousands, except share information)     2016       2015    
           
ASSETS          
Current assets:          
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 488     $ 434    
Receivables:          
Trade, net     69,199       70,597    
Other     4,436       10,885    
Prepaid expenses and other     19,307       18,134    
Total current assets     93,430       100,050    
           
Property and equipment:          
Revenue equipment, buildings and land,          
office equipment and other     759,553       724,597    
Accumulated depreciation     (201,728 )     (196,588 )  
Net property and equipment     557,825       528,009    
Other assets     2,493       3,469    
           
Total assets   $ 653,748     $ 631,528    
           
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY          
Current liabilities:          
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities   $ 41,230     $ 33,641    
Insurance and claims accruals     19,440       16,235    
Total current liabilities     60,670       49,876    
Long-term debt     7,886       37,867    
Deferred income taxes     147,854       134,364    
Total liabilities     216,410       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; 32,634,915 shares          
at December 31, 2016, and 32,759,806 shares at          
December 31, 2015, issued and outstanding     326       328    
Additional paid-in capital     74,175       76,468    
Retained earnings     362,837       332,625    
           
Total stockholders' equity     437,338       409,421    
           
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity   $ 653,748     $ 631,528    

 
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.  
CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS  
(Unaudited)  
                       
      Three Months     Year  
      Ended December 31,     Ended December 31,  
(In thousands, except per share information)       2016       2015         2016       2015    
                       
Operating revenue     $ 172,661     $ 168,773       $ 671,144     $ 664,994    
Operating expenses (income):                      
Salaries, wages and benefits       56,711       54,554         224,827       209,455    
Purchased transportation       28,722       29,687         110,719       118,030    
Fuel and fuel taxes       25,670       23,269         94,075       104,582    
Supplies and maintenance       10,887       10,584         43,912       43,319    
Depreciation       21,240       19,854         82,445       75,323    
Operating taxes and licenses       2,367       2,729         9,099       8,914    
Insurance and claims       8,978       7,279         32,223       29,252    
Communications and utilities       1,586       1,539         6,287       5,886    
Gain on disposition of revenue equipment       (3,040 )     (741 )       (10,502 )     (5,584 )  
Gain on disposition of facilities       -       (392 )       -       (4,104  
Other       5,007       5,174         19,756       18,858    
                       
Total operating expenses       158,128       153,536         612,841       603,931    
                       
Operating income       14,533       15,237         58,303       61,063    
Other       443       225         1,237       372    
                       
Income before income taxes       14,090       15,012         57,066       60,691    
                       
Provision for income taxes       5,787       6,222         23,602       24,946    
                       
Net income     $ 8,303     $ 8,790       $ 33,464     $ 35,745    
                       
Basic earnings per common share     $ 0.25     $ 0.26       $ 1.03     $ 1.07    
                       
Diluted earnings per common share     $ 0.25     $ 0.26       $ 1.02     $ 1.06    
                       
Dividends declared per common share     $ 0.025     $ 0.025       $ 0.10     $ 0.10    
                       

 
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.  
SEGMENT INFORMATION  
(Unaudited)  
                   
            Dollar   Percentage  
            Change   Change  
    Three Months   Three Months   Three Months  
    Ended   Ended   Ended  
    December 31,   December 31,   December 31,  
(Dollars in thousands)     2016       2015     2016 vs. 2015   2016 vs. 2015  
Operating revenue:                  
Truckload revenue, net of fuel                  
surcharge revenue   $ 86,453     $ 85,874     $ 579     0.7 %  
Truckload fuel surcharge revenue     10,113       9,964       149     1.5    
Total Truckload revenue     96,566       95,838       728     0.8    
                   
Dedicated revenue, net of fuel                  
surcharge revenue     37,174       33,323       3,851     11.6    
Dedicated fuel surcharge revenue     3,188       2,677       511     19.1    
Total Dedicated revenue     40,362       36,000       4,362     12.1    
                   
Intermodal revenue, net of fuel                  
surcharge revenue     16,155       15,599       556     3.6    
Intermodal fuel surcharge revenue     1,992       2,090       (98 )   (4.7 )  
Total Intermodal revenue     18,147       17,689       458     2.6    
                                 
Brokerage revenue     17,586       19,246       (1,660 )   (8.6 )  
                   
Total operating revenue   $ 172,661     $ 168,773     $ 3,888     2.3 %  
                   
Operating income:                  
Truckload   $ 7,038     $ 7,903      $ (865 )   (10.9 )%  
Dedicated     4,587       4,322       265     6.1    
Intermodal     1,735       1,460       275     18.8    
Brokerage     1,173       1,160       13     1.1    
Total operating income before gain                  
on disposition of facilities     14,533       14,845       (312 )   (2.1 )  
Gain on disposition of facilities     -       392       (392 )   (100.0 )  
Total operating income   $ 14,533     $ 15,237      $ (704 )   (4.6 )%  
                   
Operating ratio:                  
Truckload     92.7 %     91.8 %          
Dedicated     88.6       88.0            
Intermodal     90.4       91.7            
Brokerage     93.3       94.0            
Consolidated operating ratio before                  
gain on disposition of facilities     91.6 %     91.2 %          
                   
Consolidated operating ratio     91.6 %     91.0 %          

 
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.    
SEGMENT INFORMATION    
(Unaudited)    
                     
            Dollar   Percentage  
            Change   Change    
    Year   Year   Year    
    Ended   Ended   Ended    
    December 31,   December 31,   December 31,    
(Dollars in thousands)     2016       2015     2016 vs. 2015   2016 vs. 2015    
Operating revenue:                    
Truckload revenue, net of fuel                    
surcharge revenue   $ 339,967      $ 348,101     $     (8,134 )   (2.3 )%    
Truckload fuel surcharge revenue     35,884       50,260           (14,376 )   (28.6 )    
Total Truckload revenue     375,851       398,361           (22,510   (5.7 )    
                     
Dedicated revenue, net of fuel                    
surcharge revenue     147,007       107,264           39,743     37.1      
Dedicated fuel surcharge revenue     10,363       11,008           (645   (5.9 )    
Total Dedicated revenue     157,370       118,272           39,098     33.1      
                     
Intermodal revenue, net of fuel                    
surcharge revenue     64,508       65,877           (1,369   (2.1 )    
Intermodal fuel surcharge revenue     6,982       11,081           (4,099   (37.0 )    
Total Intermodal revenue     71,490       76,958           (5,468   (7.1 )    
                                       
Brokerage revenue     66,433       71,403           (4,970   (7.0 )    
                     
Total operating revenue   $ 671,144     $ 664,994     $     6,150     0.9 %    
                     
Operating income:                    
Truckload   $ 27,438     $ 35,517     $     (8,079 )   (22.7 )%    
Dedicated     19,550       12,818           6,732     52.5      
Intermodal     7,131       4,832           2,299     47.6      
Brokerage     4,184       3,792           392     10.3      
Total operating income before gain                    
on disposition of facilities     58,303       56,959           1,344     2.4      
Gain on disposition of facilities     -       4,104           (4,104 )   (100.0 )    
Total operating income   $ 58,303     $ 61,063     $     (2,760 )   (4.5 )%    
                     
Operating ratio:                    
Truckload     92.7 %     91.1 %            
Dedicated     87.6       89.2              
Intermodal     90.0       93.7              
Brokerage     93.7       94.7              
Consolidated operating ratio before                    
gain on disposition of facilities     91.3 %     91.4 %            
                     
Consolidated operating ratio     91.3 %     90.8 %            

 
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.  
OPERATING STATISTICS  
(Unaudited)  
                   
    Three Months   Year  
    Ended December 31,   Ended December 31,  
      2016       2015       2016       2015    
Truckload Segment:                  
Revenue (in thousands)   $ 96,566     $ 95,838     $ 375,851     $ 398,361    
Average revenue, net of fuel surcharges,                  
per tractor per week (1)   $ 3,456     $ 3,400     $ 3,427     $ 3,529    
Average tractors (1)     1,903       1,921       1,898       1,892    
Average miles per trip     608       639       623       666    
Non-revenue miles percentage (2)     9.1 %     9.4 %     9.2 %     9.4 %  
Total miles (in thousands)     46,786       45,098       184,281       186,268    
                   
Dedicated Segment:                  
Revenue (in thousands)   $ 40,362     $ 36,000     $ 157,370     $ 118,272    
Average revenue, net of fuel surcharges,                  
per tractor per week (1)   $ 3,448     $ 3,405     $ 3,432     $ 3,433    
Average tractors (1)     820       745       819       599    
Average miles per trip     295       324       301       347    
Non-revenue miles percentage (2)     0.8 %     1.5 %     0.8 %     1.6 %  
Total miles (in thousands)     18,826       17,499       75,333       57,381    
                                   
Intermodal Segment:                  
Revenue (in thousands)   $ 18,147     $ 17,689     $ 71,490     $ 76,958    
Loads     9,273       8,639       35,947       36,404    
Average tractors     76       82       76       89    
                   
Brokerage Segment:                  
Revenue (in thousands)   $ 17,586     $ 19,246     $ 66,433     $ 71,403    
Loads     12,926       13,228       49,721       48,060    
                   
At December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015:                  
Total tractors (1)     2,785       2,740            
Average age of company tractors (in years)     1.4       1.5            
Total trailers     4,854       4,700            
Average age of company trailers (in years)     2.7       2.6            
Ratio of trailers to tractors (1)     1.7       1.7            
                   
                   
    Three Months   Year  
    Ended December 31,   Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)     2016       2015       2016       2015    
                   
Net cash provided by operating activities   $ 29,425     $ 26,816     $ 133,566     $ 128,238    
Net cash (used for) investing activities     (28,448 )     (21,555 )     (97,290 )     (125,081 )  
Net cash (used for) financing activities     (664 )     (4,972 )     (36,222 )     (2,846 )  
                   
Weighted average shares outstanding:                  
Basic     32,598       33,248       32,506       33,477    
Diluted     32,770       33,434       32,677       33,715    

(1) Includes tractors driven by both company-employed drivers and independent contractors.  Independent contractors provided 68 and 65 tractors as of December 31, 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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