Morningstar Rating

Stock Research and Analysis

by Matthew Young, CFA

Bulls Say

We expect gradual margin improvement over the next two to three years, supported in part by leverage from pricing gains, modest tonnage growth, and a more favorable labor deal.
Outside of an economic recession, favorable pricing in LTL shipping is likely to persist over the next few years, given limited industry capacity and rational rate setting among market participants.
Arkansas Best's acquisition of Panther Expedited (2012) provides diversification into higher-margin, asset-light operations and new end markets not currently serviced by its core LTL operations. Read more 

Bears Say

Arkansas Best's LTL trucking operations are capital-intensive, and union contracts (wage inflation) and mandatory payments to multi-employer pension funds make for a sticky cost structure.
The company competes with industry heavyweights FedEx Freight and UPS Freight. Both carriers have materially increased their presence in LTL shipping over the past decade.
The trucking industry is fiercely competitive, and significant price competition drives down the profitability of all providers during periods of anemic freight demand. Read more 

Management

CEO Judy McReynolds took the helm in early 2010, following Robert Davidson's retirement. Davidson was with the firm for more than 35 years. McReynolds originally joined Arkansas Best in 1997 and served as CFO from 2006 through 2009. Michael Newcity   Read more 

Profile

Arkansas Best is one of the largest less-than-truckload carriers in the United States, with 277 service centers, 3,700 trucks, and 20,000 trailers at the end of 2012. Roughly   Read more 

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