Chattanooga-based trucking company Covenant Logistics achieves record yearly profits and more business news

Covenant achieves record yearly profits

Despite a drop in fourth-quarter earnings, Covenant Logistics reported its highest annual profits ever with revenues topping $1 billion in 2022.

The Chattanooga-based trucking company reported Wednesday that its fourth quarter net income fell by more than 35% to $11.5 million, or 81 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were $1.37 per share.

For all of last year, the Covenant earned a record $108.7 million, or $5.84 per diluted share, on revenues of more than $1.2 billion.

“For 2022, we generated over $1 billion in freight revenue, the highest annual earnings per share in our history, and a 15.3% return on average invested capital,” Covenant CEO David Parker said in an earnings release Wednesday after the market closed. “Despite these unprecedented achievements, our fourth quarter results will undoubtedly reflect sequential softening in the freight market, continued inflationary pressure and the cost of significant excess equipment. While we anticipate improved equipment related costs in 2023, we believe the freight market, as a combination of freight rates and volumes, will remain unfavorable compared to the prior year for the next several quarters.”

Facebook reinstates Trump’s account

Facebook parent Meta is reinstating former President Donald Trump’s personal account after a two-year suspension following the Jan. 6 insurrections.

The company said in a blog post Wednesday it is adding “new guardrails” to ensure there are no “repeat offenders” who violate its rules.

“In the event that Mr. Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” wrote Nick Clegg, Meta’s vice president of global affairs .

The move, which comes as Trump is leaning up his third run for the White House, will not only allow Trump to communicate directly with his 34 million followers — dramatically more than the 4.8 million who currently follow him on his own site, Truth Social — but will also allow him to resume direct fundraising.

Responding to the news, Trump blasted Facebook’s decision to suspend his account as he praised Truth Social.

“FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since “deplatforming” your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account. Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” he wrote.

Tesla profits increase 12% in fourth quarter

Tesla reported a respectable jump in profit for the last quarter of 2022, but slipping profit margins and slowing sales growth underlined the challenges that have weighed on the carmaker’s stock.

The profit increase of 12% capped a cumulative year that included intensifying competition, supply chain disruptions and concerns about the behavior of CEO Elon Musk. There is no sign from Tesla’s report to shareholders Wednesday that those problems are going away.

The year was dominated by Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, which led to complaints by Tesla investors that he was neglecting his duties at the carmaker at a critical time. Tesla shares fell 65% during 2022 as investors doubted whether the company was reacting energetically enough to have a long list of challenges and risks.

Fourth-quarter deliveries rose 18%, to 405,000 vehicles, the company said Jan. 2 — a lot less than Wall Street analysts had expected and short of Tesla’s own targets.

“It was our best year ever on every level,” Musk said during a conference call with investors on Wednesday. But he acknowledged that “2022 was an incredibly challenging year.”

CSX profits up on higher fuel

The CSX railroad hauled 9% more profit in the fourth quarter even though it carried less cargo because it received more money for fuel surcharges and higher shipping rates.

The Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad said Wednesday that it earned $1.02 billion, or 49 cents per share, in the quarter. That’s up from $934 million, or 42 cents per share, the year before.

The results topped Wall Street expectations as the railroad continued to improve its operations. The 27 analysts surveyed by FactSet expected CSX to report earnings of 47 cents per share.

President and CEO Joe Hinrichs, who joined CSX in the middle of last fall’s difficult contract fight with the rail unions, said the railroad “made great progress this quarter, delivering strong earnings as our network performance continued to gain momentum.”

CSX’s trains are running more smoothly now because the railroad has hired hundreds of additional employees over the past year to help handle the freight. CSX said it had 6,886 train crew employees on average in the fourth quarter, up from 6,397 a year earlier. Nearly 800 more conductors are in training.

— Compiled by David Flessner