Jason Bates - Vice President, Finance and Investor Relations
Jerry Moyes - Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Richard Stocking - President and Chief Operating Officer
Ginnie Henkels - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Swift Transportation Company (SWFT) Q1 2013 Earnings Conference Call April 23, 2013 11:00 AM ET
Good morning. My name is Stacy, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Swift Transportation First Quarter 2013 Earnings Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. (Operator Instructions) Thank you. Mr. Bates, you may begin your conference.
Jason Bates - Vice President, Finance and Investor Relations
Great, thank you, Stacy. Again, we would like to walk everyone out to our first quarter 2013 Q&A session. As a reminder, we have posted a comprehensive letter to stockholders summarizing our results on the front page of our IR website. So, we are going to go ahead and start the call today with the forward-looking statement disclosure.
This call contains statements that may constitute forward-looking statements which are based on information currently available, usually identified by words such as anticipates, believes, estimates, plans, projects, expects, hopes, intends, will, could, may or similar expressions which speak only as of the date the statement was made. Such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Such forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, are based upon the current beliefs, assumptions and expectations of company management and current market conditions, which are subject to significant risks and uncertainties as set forth in the Risk Factors section of our Annual Report Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012. As to the company’s business and financial performance, there are many factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in any forward-looking statements.
You should understand that there are many important factors in addition to those discussed and in our filings with the SEC that could impact us financially. As a result of these and other factors, actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements, and the prices of the company’s securities may fluctuate dramatically. The company makes no commitment and disclaims any duty to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events, new information, or changes in these expectations.
In addition to our GAAP results, this call also includes certain non-GAAP financial measures as defined by the SEC. The calculation of each measure, including the reconciliation to the most closely-related GAAP measure, and the reasons management believes each non-GAAP measure is useful are included in the schedules attached to our letter to stockholders.
So, with that out of the way, I would like to recognize the members of Swift’s management team on the line today. We have Jerry Moyes, our Founder and Chief Executive Officer; Richard Stocking, our President and Chief Operating Officer; and Ginnie Henkels, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. We would like to thank everyone for all of the questions that were submitted last night. We have categorized them, and we will try to go through them as expeditiously as possible today.
So, with that, I am going to turn the call over to Richard who is going to begin by addressing a few questions on rates.
Alright, good morning everyone. The first question is can you discuss how Swift’s bid season with customers works, namely when does it begin and end, and is there a bellwether customer or customers that sets market expectations for pricing? Can you elaborate on this subject for each of the asset-based businesses, i.e., truckload dedicated and intermodal? And the answer is this, we have discussed in the past, our bid season isn’t confined to any particular quarter, but generally last all year long. The volume of bid activity is typically a little heavier in the first quarter with each sequential quarter bid volume being slightly lower than the last. So, the first quarter being the highest and the fourth quarter is typically a little bit lower. However, the bid activity is relatively even throughout the year. And there really isn’t a bellwether customer that sets market expectations. Every customer is unique. And finally, these patterns are relatively consistent across each of our reportable segments.
So, the second question is that what kind of rate increases are you able to command in the current environment? How has this trend trended into April? Can you elaborate for each of the segments, truckload, intermodal, and dedicated? So, our rate increases have not been as robust as we had expected at the start of the year. And unfortunately that trend has continued into April. As we disclosed in this letter to stockholders in the first quarter, our truckload segment and the intermodal segments realized a 1.9% and a 1.2% year-over-year increases in our revenue, and that excluded the fuel surcharge per loaded mile respectively. We do not disclose the revenue excluding fuel surcharge per loaded mile for our dedicated segment because it can vary due to changes in our mix.
The next question is what are your current expectations for truckload contract pricing for 2013? And as we have said all along if the economic environment in 2013 is similar to that of 2012, we would expect increases in the 2% to 3% range. And based on what we have seen through April of this year, we are probably trending towards the lower end of that range. However, saying that with the hours of service regulations going into effect in a couple of months and if GDP improves in the latter half of this year, capacity would become increasingly scarce and provide further opportunities for us to go back to our customers with rate increases.
The next question is can you talk about your expectations for the bid season, can pricing reaccelerate to 2 plus percent in the coming quarters as a result of better contracts or is negotiating power resting with the shippers? Well, we have talked quite a bit about this already. However, the one thing I will add is that the hours of service regulations coming into effect in July will provide potential utilization headwinds for all carriers throughout the industry. Most carriers have been prepping shippers for that fact that rates will need to increase to offset these headwinds. How quickly that takes place and to what magnitude has yet to be determined. We have been very upfront with our customers and have helped them understand the possible impacts there.
The next question is can you provide some color on how pricing/volume growth rates trended throughout Q1 on a monthly basis? We would say each of the months of the quarter was relatively consistent with regards to our year-over-year rate increases that we have realized. The trend of the increase was neither accelerating nor decelerating rather kind of stayed flat year-over-year on the rate increase. And it looks like that’s the section on rates.
Yeah. So, we will go ahead and turn our attention now to several questions that came in as it relates to freight volumes and trends.
And the question there is can you elaborate on freight volumes from a geographical strength and weakness perspective also from an end market perspective. Can you elaborate on this subject for each of the asset-based businesses, truckload dedicated intermodal? We would answer that that the freight trends have been pretty erratic across the geographic markets thus far this year. The West Coast as well as the Upper Midwest and throughout parts of Texas have all demonstrated volatile trends at different points so far in 2013. The weather has also (reaped some havoc) at different points and at different locations adding to the unpredictability. Regarding your question about segment specific trends unfortunately there haven’t really been any meaning that the volatility has been felt at different times throughout the year by each of the different asset-based segments including some weather here in Wyoming in April.
The next question is please discuss current industry demands thus far through April with respective to truckload dedicated and the intermodal markets. How did Q1 ‘13 end and what are management’s directional expectations for demand in Q2 of ’13? Are things feeling seasonally normal at this point? And I believe we covered most of this question already. However, I will touch on the later part of this particular question regarding feeling seasonally normal. As the general rule June is the strongest month of the second quarter, so three weeks in April is kind of tough to get a read on the quarter in its entirety. However, as we have discussed previously the rate and the volume trends have been somewhat sluggish in the first two or three weeks here in April.
Next question, can you please outline your view on the current freight market as well as current customer or consumer segments that affect both the truckload and dedicated businesses. In your current contract negotiations does it feel as though there is more or less competition, our pricing negotiations more or less strained than in the recent quarters? Our customers are much closer to the end consumers and their buying patterns than we are, so we rely pretty heavily on our customer feedback in this regard. They have indicated that costumer sentiment is still pretty good in spite of all the macroeconomic noise elimination of the payroll tax holiday, the sequestration, Europe, weather and etcetera.
Regarding competition, we don’t necessarily feel like there are more competition, but we do believe that all of the carriers ourselves included are smarter today about the types of freight we bid and the disciplines around adding capacity. Keeping in mind that as an industry, we believe capacity is pretty close to equilibrium, so that even the slightest improvements in the economy will lead to capacity constraints thereby moving the needle in favor of the carriers.
The next question is what demand drivers would you need to see improve before beginning to add incremental capacity to your network above the guided capacity growth of 2 to 300 tractors? How much further improvements is needed in either freight volumes or pricing in order to justify further capacity in your network specifically? Can you elaborate on the subject of each of the asset-based businesses, truckload dedicated, intermodal? The answer there is there are several demand drivers we monitor, including manufacturing the housing starts, consumer sentiment etcetera. However, they are all generally rolled up into GDP. To the extent, we see GDP meaningfully improve and we are meeting our utilization goals of our equipment, we will definitely grow the fleet. If not, we remain committed to focusing on maximizing the utilization of the equipment we have on hand.
And as we have said for the past couple of years, our focus is to increase our return on our net assets. To the extent, the economy is not cooperating where we are unable to earn market share such that we are not meeting our utilization goals will hold off on growth. We will not add trucks to the fleet simply for the sake of adding capacity.
And our next question is what specific plans or strategies are in place to drive better utilization throughout the network over and above what was accomplished during 2012? Can you elaborate on this subject for each of the asset-based businesses? For comparison reasons, we don’t disclose the specific detail, but we have several internal strategic focused teams as well as an array of process improvement initiatives that should drive continued utilization improvements in each of our reportable segments. We continued to improve our processes and innovate in each of these areas.
And the last couple of questions on volumes, if truckload pricing begins to improve in conjunction with an improvement in freight volumes, how long do you believe the industry can sustain the pricing power before too much capacity gets added back to the market? So and good question, as we have touched on briefly a minute ago, I believe the industry is much more disciplined about adding capacity than it ever has been, especially with the larger carriers. Many of us were burned back in 2006 and 2007 with the industry wide pre-buy and the subsequent economic downturn, which resulted in a huge surplus of capacity and swung the pricing power into the hands of the shippers.
We are not interested in repeating those same mistakes. In addition to enhance discipline by the larger carriers, the barriers to entry for the smaller carriers are increasing. With additional hours of service regulations, higher equipment cost, increased credit requirements for equipment financing, and especially the difficult driver market, it is not as easy today for smaller carriers to go out and add a lot of capacity. We believe that we will remain disciplined as an industry there.
And the last question before we move on to equipment, did you successfully source any project business during the quarter, and what is the outlook for project business this year? The answer there is our project business is very seasonal in nature. We have some small amounts in the spring, and it’s more heavily geared towards the fall and the end of the year. We will have a better read on how much of that business we expect to win and achieve as we progress throughout this year.
Great, thanks Richard. So, there were also a few questions as it related to equipment, so we will turn it over to Ginnie to go through some of those.
Thanks, Jason. The first question on equipment was has Swift tested any of the 2014 model year equipment to evaluate the new equipments fuel efficiency gains. And would Swift contemplate accelerating a fleet refresh if the model year 2014 equipment were to have material improvement in fuel efficiency over the existing fleets? We have done extensive testing on the fuel efficiency of the new equipment, and the results vary depending on the manufacturer. We are seeing some good improvements in certain truck engine combinations and not much change at all and some of the others. We are anticipating or we are not anticipating an acceleration in our fleet refreshments, we are already have a heavier year of trades planned.
The next question is what are your expectations for equipment gains for the remainder of the year? And the answer to that is in the 10% to 15% EPS growth guidance that we’ve given, we are assuming gains of equipment of roughly $1 million to $2 million per quarter. However, given the volume of trades that we’re now anticipating in the second quarter the gains could be higher than that in Q2.
And finally the last question in this section is of this 300 to 500 tractor growth you have guided for the year what percent would you estimate will be owner operator versus company drivers? We’re targeting for at least 50% to be owner operators, but have the ability to flex that in either direction depending on the market condition.
Great. Thank you, Ginnie. There were ample of questions about drivers and hours of service, Richard if you wouldn’t mind go through those?
Yeah, the first ones on drivers are you currently encountering difficulty seating drivers. Are you experiencing higher driver retention and recruitment cost, should volumes stabilize at current levels, will capacity remain fairly tight given the difficulty the industry is having attracting and retaining drivers? Great question, as an industry it is getting tougher to attract and retain our drivers. And improving economy including and improving housing market will make it more difficult to attract and retain this internal drive increased retention and recruiting cost to make it difficult for the industry to increase capacity.
The next question is can you discuss the health of your driver schools and driver recruitment and retention in general? And we would say we worked long and hard to have this successful program with the academies, the schools and we would say our schools are currently healthy.
And the last question on the drivers was based on the increasing difficulty the industry is seeing on the driver front, should we expect salaries as a percent of total revenue to stay at Q1 levels or rise higher through 2013. Due to the volatility in fuel prices we typically look at salaries and wages as a percentage of revenue excluding fuel surcharge rather than a percentage of total revenue. At this point we are not expecting to give a rate increase for the drivers rather we are focusing on increasing their pay by getting them more miles each week as well as continuing the driver incentive program that we implemented last year. However, because it was implemented in the third quarter of last year the driver incentive pay will be a year-over-year headwind in the second quarter this year.
And there were two questions on hours of service, what are your expectations regarding the timing of the implementation of the new hours of service rule and the likely impact on each of the business segments? The overall belief in industry as you have heard that this will have a negative impact on productivity by about 5%, we believe our terminal network and internal processes better planning will help to mitigate some of the impact in the truckload, dedicated and intermodal segments.
And finally what impact – excuse me do you expect hours of service to have on pricing specifically in the second half of ’13. How long does it take for pricing to catch up and will the pricing be enough to offset the cost efficiency losses? As we mentioned previously we hope to be able to work with our customers on the headwinds that will come via the new hours of service regulations and they – we have prepped them, so it will be fairly quick.
Great. Thank you, Richard. There were a handful of questions around operating expenses, so we will turn it over to Ginnie to go through some of those.
Alright. The first question was please discuss the increase in non-driver employees, what are they related to and do you expect additional increases in the coming quarters? The additional staff was added in intermodal to facilitate the growth that we’ve seen in that business as well as other support areas such as driver recruiting and customer service. As the business grows we would expect some additional growth in our non-driver headcount going forward, but this was not a significant driver of the increase in salaries, wages and benefits year-over-year in the first quarter.
The next question is salaries, wages and benefits as a percent of net revenue ticked up as did in the first quarter of 2012 do you expect a similar sequential decline in the second quarter of 2013? So, just to add a little color to that and what they are referring to there is from the fourth quarter to the first quarter we did see an increase in our percent of revenue or our percent of salaries, wages and benefits as a percent of net revenue and then it comes down in the second quarter, that is the general seasonal trend and it’s more related to the fact that our revenue is higher in the fourth quarter and the second quarter from the first quarter, so it’s a function of a smaller denominator rather than a larger numerator in that equation.
The next question is can you quantify how much additional workers comp expense was incurred during the quarter. The unfavorable development or will the unfavorable developments in prior year layers impact workers compensation expense going forward and if so by how much? As the workers comp expense increased roughly $2.5 million year-over-year in the first quarter and as we have discussed it was primarily resulting from changes in the prior year layers, therefore this should not have a significant impact going forward.
Next question is in the release you mentioned negative impact from driver and owner operator pay changes, higher equipment costs and inclement weather, can you frame each of those items and EPS terms and describe the longer term effect and longer term plan for driver pay and equipment costs? It’s a very difficult to determine the impact from inclement weather since it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the missed freight opportunities, the increased idle time, deadhead, maintenance, etcetera that are caused by the shutdowns resulting from the poor weather.
With regard to the driver and owner operator pay changes similar to previous quarters, the impact was roughly $0.01 per mile, which equates to about $0.015 or so of EPS. As we have discussed before at this point we are not anticipating making any significant changes to the pay structure this year, so we will have one more quarter the year-over-year impact from the changes made last year. And then with regard to the higher equipment costs our rent and depreciation expense combined was up about $5.7 million year-over-year on the first quarter but was consistent with the fourth quarter of 2012. For the full year of 2012 our equipment costs were up approximately $25 million compared to 2011. This increase for the full year of 2013 will depend upon the growth in the fleet, but could be similar to 2012 if we add the full 500 trucks.
Great. Thank you, Ginnie. There were also several questions as it relates to debt, interest expense, etcetera, Ginnie if you want to handle those as well.
Alright, the first one is in the past the company has indicated that if the stock price improved it may consider issuing equity to repay debt and bonds. Please update your view on issuing equity to repay debt particularly as it relates to the second-lien notes and the equity fallback option which is available until November 15, 2013. And as we stated before we continued to evaluate the possibility of issuing equity easy for me to say – to call a portion of the note. The equity call allows us to call at the 35% of the notes are $175 million of the $500 million outstanding and 110% of par. Unfortunately the stock price needs to be closer to 18 or so to make this trade economically viable. So, we will continue to monitor the environment and look for an opportunistic trade not only with equity, but as well as debt, term debt that we could issue to potentially take out the notes. But at this point we do not have any times because the economics do not work.
With regard to the next question we have $12 million of the B1 tranche was prepaid on April 10th, do expect to make additional prepayments in the second quarter of 2013 or are they likely to be spread throughout the rest of 2013? Although we do expect to continue to make payments with excess free cash flow throughout the year, we expect the repayment activity to be relatively light in the second and third quarter and then heavier in the fourth quarter based on our current projected cash flows and use of cash with equipment.
The next question is as a part of the second emended credit agreement, are there any additional interest step downs related to leverage reduction. And the only interest step down we have in our credit agreement pertains to the revolving credit facility portion for which we had 140 millions of letters of credit outstanding, but otherwise this facility is undrawn. As mentioned in the letter we did trigger a step down from the LIBOR plus 325 to LIBOR plus 300 on the revolving credit facility as our leverage ratio was less than 2.75 at the end of the first quarter. The next step down will occur on this revolving credit facility when we are below 2.25. And finally, what is the run rate for interest expense in the second quarter of 2013 following the recent debt repayments and the refinancing of the debt? And the run rate for interest expense, excluding any derivative interest expense after the Q1 event should be approximately $24.5 million per quarter?
Great, thank you Ginnie. We are going to now turn our attention to questions that were related to each of the specific segments and we will go ahead and start with the intermodal segment. Richard?
Alright, thanks Jason. The first question is how has your intermodal group performed of late? Are you seeing increased interest in road-to-rail conversion activity? How many of your current traditional truckload customers are potential targets for conversion to intermodal customers? We are still new in our intermodal business. We are continuing to develop. If you look at taking out the one major accident that we had last year, we were profitable. Our hope this year is to improve upon that profitability. We have several initiatives underway as we speak. And relative to our customers, all of our customers are potential targets. We do a lot of business with them. And if they have intermodal business, we have an intermodal product to take care of that business for them. Our average length of haul is about 450, and that’s not very conducive to intermodal, but as they have that intermodal freight and their supply chain, we have the product to handle it.
The next question is utilization of your intermodal containers average roughly 1.3 turns a month in Q1, down from 1.6 turns in Q4, and Q1 of ‘12 and down sequentially three quarters in a row. Was the decline caused by seasonal factors, the addition of containers, or was demand weaker than expected? What levels of utilization can we expect to see going forward? So, the container turn figures mentioned in the question include both the COFC and TOFC loads and are therefore not an accurate portrayal of just the container turns? However, our container turns are down year-over-year in the first quarter. The answer to your question as to why is all three of the items you mentioned. As we discussed earlier, the first quarter volumes were not as strong as we would have liked to have seen. So, the impact – so, that impacted our container turns. Also keep in mind that during 2012, we added over 2500 containers with almost 2000 of those occurring in the second half of the year.
As we discussed at the end of last year, our focus this year is on the utilization of this equipment. We believe we have enough equipment to achieve our revenue growth targets for 2013. And during the first quarter, our COFC load volumes grew nearly 21% year-over-year and we expect our utilization to improve over the course of the year as we grow that business.
The next question is do you need to add expense, i.e., at intermodal sales people in order to spur load growth even higher? We have already added sales personnel to strategic markets and we feel that our current sales force is adequately staffed today. We have also increased intermodal support personnel and expect to expand that as needed as we grow the business.
The next question is can you give us any color regarding your growth in COFC versus TOFC and the difference between the revenue gains and loss respectively for each? How long of a drag to intermodal OR is the reduction in the TOFC volumes? The answer there is the overall revenue growth for intermodal was 11% net of fuel surcharge. Overall, load volumes increased 9.7% and revenue, excluding fuel surcharge was up 1.2%. Loads in our container-on-flatcar or the COFC business grew 20.8%, and our COFC revenue, excluding fuel surcharge per load grew 1.8%. This growth in COFC was partially offset by a 65.5% reduction in the trailer-on-flatcar or the TOFC business. We shed that TOFC business, because it did not meet our margin requirements.
The next question was how has core pricing trended in your key intermodal lanes? How is the competitive dynamic? Your previous guidance included a 20% to 25% year-over-year increase in intermodal revenue, excluding fuel surcharge in 2013 compared to ‘12? Do you still expect the 20%, 25% year-over-year increase on a full year basis? And if so can you talk about the timing of revenue growth? If you no longer expect 20% to 25% growth, can you provide updated guidance and discuss what has changed from when you provided the original guidance? We would say that the market right now is extremely competitive, especially off the West Coast, where volumes are softer than we would expect this time of year. Our COFC side, we still feel very good about the growth of that 20% to 25% as we previously discussed the TOFC business has declined, but I would tell you that we still feel that our customers are optimistic, and we have some meaningful growth opportunities in the pipeline, which we feel good about that COFC growth 20% to 25%.
The next question is are the higher intermodal expenses you described in the release, larger container fleet in chassis related more to startup cost or will we – or will these be ongoing expenses? What is your plan for expanding intermodal margins? These expenses are a direct result of increased fleet size and will be an ongoing expense. However, as we grow intermodal revenue, this expense as a percentage of revenue will be reduced. Now, the initiatives that we have underway are relative to our container turns to our load matching, more efficiency in our dray network and reducing our chassis expenses.
The next two questions or last two questions on this part of the questions are can you please comment on the expected profitability of intermodal on a quarterly basis? Do you expect sequential improvements throughout the year? Excluding unusual accident related cost, our prior year adjusted operating ratios representative of normal sequential changes in the intermodal operating ratio. We would answer that by due to seasonal freight patterns, the first quarter volumes are usually the toughest and then each quarter volumes, the freight volumes are typically stronger. As the year progresses, the increased volumes will help to offset our fixed overhead expenses, so we expect our adjusted operating ratio to improve throughout the year. Assuming we have similar freight patterns that we have had in prior years. The accidents related cost we discussed did not materially impact the second quarter of 2012, because the claim had not fully developed at that time, but it did – it both impact the third and the fourth quarters.
The last question on the segment is for the intermodal segment as the company plans to increase utilization on its fleet and increase its intermodal revenue as a result without adding additional tractors, well the company plan to utilize more third-parties and thus see higher purchase transportation cost from purchasing drayage, or is it possible to continue to drive further utilization in the existing drayage fleet as well? The answer there is it will be a combination of both. We believe we have opportunities to improve the utilization of our existing dray fleet, but there are also markets where we will need to utilize third-party providers as it relates to profitability.
Great, thank you, Richard. We will ride into the truckload segments. There were a handful of questions in that area as well.
Alright, the truckload segment, the first one is can you please elaborate on the comment that expected growth in the truckload fleet of 2 to 300 units maybe adjusted based on freight volumes and overall economic conditions? Does this imply it maybe adjusted down or is the comment implying it maybe adjusted up? The answer there is both. As we have discussed previously, our focus is on maximizing our RONA. So, if the economic conditions are such that we can improve our RONA by adding equipment, we will do so. And the office it holds through as well. If we need to adjust our growth targets down as a result of economic conditions in order to retain the equipment utilization efficiency we desire, we will do that as well. We have shown this level of discipline in past periods and we will continue to do so in the future. We believe that Mexico is a great opportunity for us and we will add a 100 plus trucks down there this year.
The next question is what is the timeframe that we can expect for the fleet additions of the 2 to 300 units? And it will depend entirely on the freight demands we experienced either through the economic growth or by gaining and earning market share. The next question is how will utilization be impacted as you grow trucks? Should we expect a year-over-year degradation? How tough do you view the comps in the second and third quarters? The answer there is no. As we have discussed, we will not grow especially in our truckloads segment at the expense of the utilization. The second and third quarter comps are more difficult than the first quarter was but we will continue to strive to achieve year-over-year improvements through the initiatives that we have underway.
The next question is how much further can you push up truck utilization? And if you look at it current best in class utilization is around 2200 miles per truck per week. However, our goal is to redefine best in class and we believe the various initiatives and strategic focus teams that we previously referenced will enable us to achieve that goal.
And the last two questions in this segment truck rate per mile excluding fuel was 1.9% up year-over-year. What were core pricing gains adjusting for mix in the first quarter 2013 and what are they expected to be for the rest of 2013. And we do not provide that level of detail on our pricing improvement for the truckload segment.
And the last question was what drove truckload’s year-over-year increase in OR, do you expect to see truckload OR improvements in 2013? And as stated in the release the increase in the adjusted operating ratio in our truckload segment was driven primarily by a $5.2 million benefit from the favorable contract resolution with the Port of Los Angeles in the first quarter of 2012.
Great let’s go ahead and roll into the last group of segment questions and round it out with dedicated segment.
Okay. How is your pipeline of business in dedicated? We define that as we have a very robust pipeline in this line of business. We continue to help our customers see the advantages of dedicated in their supply chain.
And the next question is do you have criteria for bringing on new business, operating ratio, gross profit dollars, etcetera. Does the dedicated fleet guidance of 100 to 200 units also depend on overall economic conditions? And yes we do. One of the key metrics that we use to measure new business is return on our net assets. We expect any additional business we bring on to help improve that metric as well as other profitability guidelines, our ability to grow will be based on whether we can win business that meets these criteria or grow with our existing customer contracts.
Next question you made very strong progress in OR for dedicated, how much of the OR improvement in dedicated just from new customer contracts that came in at higher profitability calling low margin business versus improving utilization of existing fleet, backhaul opportunity, etcetera. How much more opportunity is there on terminating underperforming customer contracts? So, we don’t provide specific improvements in each area, but the contracts we discussed in the letter were terminated predominantly in the third and fourth quarter of 2012. So, we should still see some year-over-year improvements in the second quarter. Sometimes we take on a new business with certain utilization and cost assumptions that turnout to be very different. In these situations we work together with our costumers to develop ideal solutions that help both of us. But occasionally it makes the most sense to walk away from the business. OR improvements in the future quarters will come from improving our existing business and growing new business rather than terminating contracts, existing contracts that we have today.
And the final question on the dedicated was when did the company first began servicing Wal-Mart as the dedicated costumer? Wal-Mart has been a costumer of ours participating in various service offerings over the last 20 plus years. But specifically on the dedicated line they have been with us for 11 years.
Great. Thank you, Richard. There were a few miscellaneous other questions which we kind of grouped all together and so we will kind of divide those up between Richard and Ginnie. Richard, if you want to handle the first three in here, and then we will turn it over for Ginnie for the last couple.
Yes. What mix changes are you expecting to see in the costumer base as you build out your dedicated and intermodal franchises? We would say most of our costumers participate in multiple service offerings that we provide. So, we do not expect to be a significant change in costumer mix. We are however looking at growing at revenues with new costumers and new markets. Mexico again is a great opportunity for that growth.
The next one is how low can OR go in each segment, can you provide long-term guidance? And as we have said before we do not provide segment specific long-term guidance in this area. However, we believe we have room for improvement in each one of these segments.
And finally what percent of the non-reportable segment revenue i.e. other revenue is made e up from brokerage? We do not disclose specific amounts or percentages, but I can’t say that the amount right now is relatively small.
The next one is can management provide more color on the two non-operating properties in Wilmington, California and Phoenix, Arizona that were sold during the first quarter? The Phoenix property was undeveloped land next to our corporate headquarters and the Wilmington property was near the Port of LA, and it became less significant operationally as we transitioned to other facilities in the LA area over time. And the next question is do you have any further plans to sell any other non-operating properties in the near-term? And yes, we do have one additional property that is under contract that should close sometime within the second or third quarter, but we do not expect the gain on this property to be as significant as we saw in the first quarter.
Great. So, we will wrap it up today with some questions on EPS guidance, Ginnie, we will turn it over to you.
Okay, the first question is what truck growth is assumed in your guidance of 10% to 15% growth in adjusted earnings per share? And we are assuming the 300 to 500 truck growth in those projections? What is the economic backdrop in your 10% growth forecast scenario versus your 15% growth forecast scenario? And the economic backdrop for the lower end of the range would be an environment similar today, slow growth, pricing closer to 2% etcetera, where the 15% would include a slightly more robust economy with pricing closer to 3%.
The next question is given the magnitude of the first quarter beats, why are you not raising full year growth guidance on EPS? Did your original 10% to 15% EPS guidance include the favorable impact from the first quarter debt pay down and re-pricing? And are you seeing a significant slowdown in growth in the second quarter that keeps you cautious? So, the answer to that is no, the original 10% to 15% guidance did not include the impact from the debt re-pricing, but it did assume the various debt pay-downs. So, so far in 2013, the overall economy and freight environment is not or has not been as robust as we expected as Richard discussed earlier, which is why we are maintaining the same 10% to 15% range.
And finally, the final question we have is given the softness in April, are you still comfortable with 10% to 15% EPS improvement in the second quarter? And so, as we have discussed in the past, our 10% to 15% guidance is on a normalized basis per quarter. So, in the second quarter of 2012, I will point out that fuel price has dropped dramatically. And as we disclosed last year, this had a $0.03 to $0.035 benefit in EPS within the quarter. So, if you normalize for those types of items, we would guide to the 7 or 10% to 15% improvement on a quarterly basis. So, with that, that does finalize our Q&A session today.
To summarize, I would say that we are proud of our Swift team and their continued ability to execute on our strategies. And we thank you for your support at Swift. We do look forward to seeing you on May 10 at the New York Stock Exchange for our Second Annual Investor and Analyst Day. And I will remind you to send in your RSVPs to make sure you reserve a seat. So, thank you everyone and we will see you soon.
And thank you for participating in today’s conference. You may now disconnect.
Copyright policy: All transcripts on this site are the copyright of Seeking Alpha. However, we view them as an important resource for bloggers and journalists, and are excited to contribute to the democratization of financial information on the Internet. (Until now investors have had to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees for transcripts.) So our reproduction policy is as follows: You may quote up to 400 words of any transcript on the condition that you attribute the transcript to Seeking Alpha and either link to the original transcript or to www.SeekingAlpha.com. All other use is prohibited.
THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HERE IS A TEXTUAL REPRESENTATION OF THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S CONFERENCE CALL, CONFERENCE PRESENTATION OR OTHER AUDIO PRESENTATION, AND WHILE EFFORTS ARE MADE TO PROVIDE AN ACCURATE TRANSCRIPTION, THERE MAY BE MATERIAL ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INACCURACIES IN THE REPORTING OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE AUDIO PRESENTATIONS. IN NO WAY DOES SEEKING ALPHA ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS MADE BASED UPON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEB SITE OR IN ANY TRANSCRIPT. USERS ARE ADVISED TO REVIEW THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S AUDIO PRESENTATION ITSELF AND THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S SEC FILINGS BEFORE MAKING ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS.
If you have any additional questions about our online transcripts, please contact us at: email@example.com. Thank you!