Knight-Swift Transportation lost almost a fifth of its market value yesterday, marking the biggest drop in four years after a lack of drivers caused sales to fall.
The company, formed in a merger last year, said second-quarter revenue plummeted 17% at its Swift long-haul business while profit margins shrank in the refrigerated business.
Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings reported 18,381 company-owned tractors and 4,688 owner-operator tractors and ranks No. 5 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.
“The shortfall versus expectations appeared to be a function of fleet attrition, given driver recruiting challenges, as opposed to yield or margin performance,” Robert W. Baird analyst Ben Hartford said in a note to investors July 26.
Difficulties finding truck drivers and tighter restrictions on driver hours has raised freight rates.
In contrast, the company’s Knight unit showed second-quarter sales increased 34% and operating profit margin rose by more than 5 percentage points to 18.4%.