Heartland Express, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTLD)

CAPS Rating: 3 out of 5

The Company provides nationwide transportation service to major shippers, using late-model equipment and a combined fleet of company-owned and owner-operator tractors.

Results 1 - 18 of 18

Recs

0
Member Avatar south66 (< 20) Submitted: 3/28/2014 1:19:20 PM : Outperform Start Price: $21.48 HTLD Score: +1.37

prices have been rising for trucking and demand has increased

Recs

0
Member Avatar L8starter (66.54) Submitted: 3/25/2014 11:28:12 AM : Outperform Start Price: $17.67 HTLD Score: +20.73

When I first looked at Heartland, it was a regional short to medium haul (<700 mi) trucking company with high inside ownership, no debt, regular sales growth and a sustainable strategy that avoided intermodal to kept the company out of competition with the rail industry.

Recently, the company took on some debt to acquire a very similar regional trucking company, Gordon Trucking, giving it national coverage. The stock popped 20% on the announcement.

Heartland prides itself on the newest fleet of trucks in the industry, almost all of which are 2012 or later. This meets emissions standards and helps keep fuel costs in check. It prides itself on a 98% on-time delivery record and among the highest safety record in the industry. (Recently acquired Gordon Trucking's reputation is at least as good.) It credits this to its drivers who are among the most experienced in the industry, almost all having 7 years or more driving experience. It prides itself on treating its drivers well by paying the most in the industry and ensuring lots of home time.

And Heartland's CFO is hilarious to listen to on investor calls.

All sounds great. I'm a fan. But a couple things concern me:

Although sales growth is steady, revenues and earnings are flat. Fuel costs are a persistent problem, which is partly why the fleet is so new.The biggest challenge, though, appears to be an industry-wide shortage of drivers. This is the biggest concern for me, because it could undermine their safety and efficiency record, threatening both their reputation and their margins.

As the CFO has stated repeatedly drivers are the heart of the company. That's why the company pays them well and keeps them near home. But according to Glassdoor comapny may not be living up to its promises. Before 2012, the ratings were uniformly positive, but they have fallen off substantially in the last two years. Many drivers complain that the high pay is an illusion, because the drivers aren't getting enough loads to pull (quite a concern in itself). Another frequent complaint is the unfulfilled promise of home time. Glassdoor ratings are about the same for Gordons. If these factors threaten retension and recruitment of experienced drivers, the company risks losing its competitive edge.

I'm keeping a bullish outlook, but paying close attention to these concerns.

Recs

0
Member Avatar lnlrmtg (< 20) Submitted: 1/8/2014 2:31:12 AM : Outperform Start Price: $19.79 HTLD Score: +9.18

fundamentals

Recs

0
Member Avatar sparkedog69 (36.09) Submitted: 9/17/2011 9:52:29 AM : Outperform Start Price: $13.00 HTLD Score: +12.61

Should continue to see growth as the economy picks up.

Recs

2
Member Avatar TMFRisingStars (< 20) Submitted: 3/30/2011 8:43:28 AM : Outperform Start Price: $15.47 HTLD Score: +0.54

Here's the buy rec:
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/03/29/rising-star-buy-heartland-express.aspx

Recs

1
Member Avatar TMFJMo (69.14) Submitted: 3/30/2011 12:02:28 AM : Outperform Start Price: $15.47 HTLD Score: +0.54

Rising Star Portfolio

Recs

1
Member Avatar Rudyescher (46.49) Submitted: 9/29/2010 11:20:48 PM : Outperform Start Price: $13.59 HTLD Score: -1.51

This is the best trucking company in the land. They have no debt, have modernized their fleet, all trucks less than three years old, and have the highest profit margin in the industry. They will outlast everyone in this economy and when it recovers in about 18 months or so they will dramatically outperform. Now is the time to accumulate at good prices.

Recs

0
Member Avatar ByTheNumbers (95.32) Submitted: 2/20/2010 4:25:37 PM : Outperform Start Price: $11.68 HTLD Score: +13.62

The most efficient truckload carrier and the one others are measured against.

Recs

0
Member Avatar SequoiaStocks (86.90) Submitted: 9/18/2009 10:18:01 AM : Outperform Start Price: $12.11 HTLD Score: +5.82

This account tracks the performance of the investment firm Ruane, Cunniff, and Goldfarb - the investment manager of Sequoia Fund.

Recs

0
Member Avatar deuspecuniae (96.29) Submitted: 4/25/2008 5:39:40 PM : Underperform Start Price: $12.74 HTLD Score: -34.98

A recessions a coming this summer and high oil prices are not going away since the falling dollar is to blame, and continued inflation is not going to bring the value of the dollar up any time soon. Burnanke was not helping this country by bailing out the crust of American society. Also, Bush's stimulus package didn't help the upward inflationary pressure that is killing this countries middle class. Sorry about my rant but anyway my point is to sell trucking since rail is about to take over from the high price of fuel.

Recs

0
Member Avatar rz49 (< 20) Submitted: 4/5/2008 7:29:52 AM : Outperform Start Price: $12.25 HTLD Score: +40.17

Big player in trans... no debt...i worked for him for 10 yrs..the old man retired but has a solid work force...

Recs

0
Member Avatar crcardinal (83.47) Submitted: 2/8/2008 2:50:09 PM : Outperform Start Price: $12.86 HTLD Score: +24.96

great company - solid performer

Recs

0
Member Avatar heavyoil (< 20) Submitted: 10/11/2007 11:53:58 AM : Outperform Start Price: $12.32 HTLD Score: +55.93

Well managed, good swing trader, but not as good as npla

Recs

0
Member Avatar Bugcrusher (90.79) Submitted: 8/10/2007 2:11:40 PM : Outperform Start Price: $13.00 HTLD Score: +34.70

Passes the sniff test, with 0 LT debt, good ROE, 7 yr growth, with involved managment, Long term winner.

Recs

0
Member Avatar carpetpeddler (< 20) Submitted: 5/16/2007 8:43:50 PM : Outperform Start Price: $13.73 HTLD Score: +30.46

I HAVE OWNED IT FOR YEARS. I KNOW THE OWNER , AND HE IS A VERY HARD WORKING, ACTION ORIENTED,PERSON. HE GETS THE MOST OUT OF HIS PEOPLE AND TREATS THEM VERY FAIRLY. HE OWES NO MONEY AND DON'T DRAIN THE COMPANY WITH HIGH EXC. SALARIES. CHECK THE EXC. SALARIES. THAT SHOULD TELL YOU SOMETHING.

Recs

1
Member Avatar TechnicalTommy (72.61) Submitted: 1/17/2007 9:00:43 AM : Outperform Start Price: $12.14 HTLD Score: +43.63

$18+ target inside of 6 months

Recs

0
Member Avatar TheKingOfFuzz (< 20) Submitted: 10/31/2006 3:59:41 PM : Outperform Start Price: $12.14 HTLD Score: +38.17

Even aside from their squeaky-clean balance sheet, there's plenty to love about Heartland.

For one thing, they've purchased new trucks ahead of the deadline for EPA '07. Starting January 1, 2007, all trucks sold must comply with more stringent emission requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Why is this significant?

Well, have you ever bought a new car on the first year the maker offered the model? If you haven't, ask anyone who owns a 2000 model-year Ford Focus what it's like. I'm willing to bet they've drank more cups of complimentary car-dealership coffee and read more out of date issues of Time magazine than you have. Why? Because new automotive technology is like a phat beat: it breaks down.

Hence, a rash of pre-buying as trucking firms have elected to scoop up proven engine technology while it's still available. Heartland is on top of the ball here. Just check out their last 10Q: 475 new trucks purchased, bringing the average age of their tractor fleet to 1.2 years as of September 30.

More importantly, the company is poised for an aggressive westward expansion. Freight from Asia is piling up at the Port of Long Beach like shredded barbacoa piles up in a Chipotle burrito -- which is to say, sky-high -- and Heartland is going to get its piece of that pie.

Funny thing though...in the trucking business, it’s never really about freight these days. Seriously, ask anyone. Thanks to busily churning Chinese sweat shops and America’s insatiable demand for iPods, there are truckloads and truckloads of freight out there just waiting to be hauled...ah, I can see them now, all the trailers lined up in a row, their shiny couplers winking like a child’s wide, expectant eyes on Christmas morning.

Only problem is (and believe it or not, a whole mess of trucking executives at a trade show in Texas just voted this the industry’s number-one issue) there are fewer and fewer people around to actually haul the stuff from point “A” to point “B.”

Not that they’re miracle workers, but I believe Heartland has this angle covered too. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a carrier that’s willing to pay its drivers more. In the midst of a driver shortage that’s pinching the industry harder than Aunt Hilde used to pinch your rosy-pink cheeks at Thanksgiving, Heartland is in a great position to recruit and retain, simply because they pay people more to get behind that wheel.

It’s pretty academic, really: to grow your freight hauling business, you need to grow your fleet...to grow your fleet, you need to recruit more drivers...to recruit more drivers, you need to convince them that driving your truck is preferable to yanking the handle on the slurpy machine or flipping burgers...and they ain’t gonna buy it if you don’t pay them an appropriate premium...at least the guy who works the graveyard shift at 7-11 isn’t away from home 6 days a week.

Anyway, for these reasons (and because the bright-red, heart-shaped logo on their trailers makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I see it at the Maryland House rest area on I-95 in the middle of the night when I'm on my way to the Jersey Shore) I’m willing to bet Heartland spanks the S&P over a year or so.

Recs

1
Member Avatar trucksII (< 20) Submitted: 10/3/2006 5:01:28 PM : Outperform Start Price: $11.68 HTLD Score: +40.31

HTLD is one of the best-managed truckload companies, with the industry's highest profit margins. It has a pristine balance sheet, with no debt and more than $300 million cash on hand, as well as a history of making advantageous acquisitions. The trucking industry is out of favor because of the perception that the economy is slowing, but limited truck purchases in 2007 (because of environmentally-mandated new engines), along with chronic driver shortages, will prevent truck capacity from keeping pace with growth in shipping demand, resulting in upward pressure on trucking rates. HTLD pays its drivers at the highest levels and is best positioned to recruit and retain drivers, while taking advantage of improved pricing. It has purchased new tractors adequate to meet its 2007 growth requirements, and will not need to experiment with engines that cost more and deliver inferior fuel mileage. When other companies suffer from driver shortages, the need to pay higher prices for unstaffed tractors, as well as higher fuel prices, HTLD will be able to purchase at least one such competitor that meets its rigorous acquisition standards.

Results 1 - 18 of 18

Featured Broker Partners


Advertisement