updated 4/19/2011 4:16:56 PM ET 2011-04-19T20:16:56

MONDOVI, Wis., April 19, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marten Transport, Ltd. (Nasdaq:MRTN) today reported a 5.2% increase in net income to $4.1 million, or 19 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011, from $3.9 million, or 18 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2010.

Operating revenue, consisting of revenue from truckload and logistics operations, increased to $137.9 million in the first quarter of 2011 from $125.8 million in the 2010 quarter. Operating revenue, net of fuel surcharges, increased 3.7% to $112.5 million in the 2011 quarter from $108.5 million in the 2010 quarter. Fuel surcharge revenue increased to $25.4 million for the first quarter of 2011 from $17.3 million in the 2010 quarter, due to significantly higher fuel prices.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue, with both amounts net of fuel surcharge revenue, improved to 93.2% for the first quarter of 2011 from 93.5% for the first quarter of 2010.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randolph L. Marten said, "We are encouraged by our continued solid results. This quarter marks our fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year increased profitability.       

"Our transformation into a multi-faceted business model focused on growing our logistics business and expanding our regional operations throughout the country, along with our fuel efficiency and cost control measures, continue to drive our profitability. Our logistics revenue, net of intermodal fuel surcharges, grew by $2.9 million in this year's first quarter over the 2010 quarter. Our regional operations continue to thrive, contributing to an 8.6% increase in our average truckload revenue, net of fuel surcharges, per tractor per week, over last year's first quarter. We have increased our regional operations to 57.1% of our truckload fleet as of March 31, 2011, from 30.4% as of a year earlier.   

"We have achieved these increased profits while investing in our future and paying down debt. This quarter-end marks the third consecutive quarter where we have increased our total number of tractors in service. It also marks the first quarter-end without long-term debt since we became a public company in 1986." 

Marten Transport, with headquarters in Mondovi, Wis., is one of the leading temperature-sensitive truckload carriers in the United States. Marten specializes in transporting and distributing food and other consumer packaged goods that require a temperature-controlled or insulated environment. Marten offers service in the United States, Canada and Mexico, concentrating on expedited movements for high-volume customers. Marten's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol MRTN.

This press release contains certain statements that may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements by their nature involve substantial risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. Important factors known to the Company that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements are discussed in Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010. The Company undertakes no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS
 (Unaudited)
     
 (In thousands, except share information) March 31, 2011 December 31, 2010
     
ASSETS    
Current assets:    
Cash and cash equivalents  $ 8,041  $ 5,306
Marketable securities -- 138
Receivables:    
Trade, net 55,971 51,094
Other 4,299 12,968
Prepaid expenses and other 11,946 13,406
Deferred income taxes 5,332 4,794
Total current assets 85,589 87,706
     
Property and equipment:    
Revenue equipment, buildings and land, office equipment and other 511,812 515,622
Accumulated depreciation  (147,965)  (143,563)
Net property and equipment 363,847 372,059
Other assets 552 543
TOTAL ASSETS  $ 449,988  $ 460,308
     
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY    
Current liabilities:    
Checks issued in excess of cash balances $ --  $ 1,066
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 33,206 30,524
Insurance and claims accruals 17,157 17,653
Current maturities of long-term debt -- 19,346
Total current liabilities 50,363 68,589
Deferred income taxes 99,210 95,815
Total liabilities 149,573 164,404
     
Stockholders' equity:    
Marten Transport, Ltd. stockholders' equity:    
Preferred stock, $.01 par value per share; 2,000,000 shares authorized; no shares issued and outstanding --  --
Common stock, $.01 par value per share; 48,000,000 shares authorized; 21,982,997 shares at March 31, 2011, and 21,950,252 shares at December 31, 2010, issued and outstanding 220 220
Additional paid-in capital 78,938 78,428
Retained earnings 219,001 215,345
Total Marten Transport, Ltd. stockholders' equity 298,159 293,993
Noncontrolling interest 2,256 1,911
Total stockholders' equity 300,415 295,904
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY  $ 449,988  $ 460,308
     
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(Unaudited)
     
  Three Months
  Ended March 31,
(In thousands, except per share information)  2011 2010
     
OPERATING REVENUE  $137,856 $125,812
     
OPERATING EXPENSES (INCOME):     
 Salaries, wages and benefits  34,099 32,402
 Purchased transportation  28,017 27,759
 Fuel and fuel taxes  35,340 27,593
 Supplies and maintenance  9,662 9,010
 Depreciation  13,516 13,037
 Operating taxes and licenses  1,417 1,505
 Insurance and claims  4,301 3,852
 Communications and utilities  1,122 813
 Gain on disposition of revenue equipment   (768)  (199)
 Other  3,541 3,006
     
 Total operating expenses  130,247 118,778
     
OPERATING INCOME  7,609 7,034
     
NET INTEREST EXPENSE (INCOME)  19  (106)
     
INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES  7,590 7,140
Less: Income before income taxes attributable to noncontrolling interest  137 56
     
INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES ATTRIBUTABLE TO MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD. 7,453 7,084
     
PROVISION FOR INCOME TAXES  3,358 3,192
     
NET INCOME  $4,095 $3,892
     
BASIC EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE  $0.19 $0.18
     
DILUTED EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE  $0.19 $0.18
     
DIVIDENDS PAID PER COMMON SHARE  $0.02 $ --
         
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
SEGMENT INFORMATION
(Unaudited)
         
      Dollar  Percentage
      Change Change
  Three Months  Three Months Three Months
  Ended Ended Ended
  March 31, March 31, March 31,
(Dollars in thousands)  2011 2010 2011 vs. 2010  2011 vs. 2010
Operating revenue:         
 Truckload revenue, net of fuel surcharge revenue  $81,973 $80,920 $1,053 1.3%
 Truckload fuel surcharge revenue  22,088 15,306 6,782 44.3
 Total Truckload revenue  104,061 96,226 7,835 8.1
         
 Logistics revenue, net of intermodal fuel surcharge revenue  30,518 27,570 2,948 10.7
 Intermodal fuel surcharge revenue  3,277 2,016 1,261 62.5
 Total Logistics revenue  33,795 29,586 4,209 14.2
         
 Total operating revenue  $137,856 $125,812 $12,044 9.6%
         
Operating income:         
 Truckload  $5,321 $5,225 $96 1.8%
 Logistics  2,288 1,809 479 26.5
 Total operating income  $7,609 $7,034 $575 8.2%
         
Operating ratio:         
 Truckload  94.9% 94.6%   0.3%
 Logistics  93.2 93.9   (0.7)
 Consolidated operating ratio  94.5% 94.4%   0.1%
     
MARTEN TRANSPORT, LTD.
OPERATING STATISTICS
(Unaudited)
     
  Three Months
  Ended March 31,
  2011 2010
Truckload Segment:     
Total Truckload revenue (in thousands)  $104,061 $96,226
Average truckload revenue, net of fuel surcharges, per tractor per week(1) $3,058 $2,816
Average tractors(1) 2,085 2,235
Average miles per trip  636 689
Non-revenue miles percentage(2) 10.2% 9.2%
Total miles – company-employed drivers (in thousands)  48,671 48,944
Total miles – independent contractors (in thousands)  2,131 4,500
     
Logistics Segment:     
Total Logistics revenue (in thousands)  $33,795 $29,586
Brokerage:     
Marten Transport     
Revenue (in thousands)  $11,845 $10,393
Loads  6,161 5,602
MWL     
Revenue (in thousands)  $7,767 $8,168
Loads  3,834 4,279
Intermodal:     
Revenue (in thousands)  $14,183 $11,025
Loads  5,629 4,677
Average tractors  69 62
     
At March 31, 2011 and March 31, 2010:     
Total tractors(1) 2,169 2,208
Average age of company tractors (in years)  2.6 2.3
Total trailers  3,956 3,946
Average age of company trailers (in years)  2.8 3.4
Ratio of trailers to tractors(1) 1.8 1.8
     
     
  Three Months
  Ended March 31,
(In thousands)  2011 2010
     
Net cash provided by operating activities  $27,991 $18,677
Net cash used for investing activities  4,867 27,066
     
Weighted average shares outstanding:     
 Basic  21,964 21,897
 Diluted  22,071 21,997
     
(1) Includes tractors driven by both company-employed drivers and independent contractors. Independent contractors provided 75 and 147 tractors as of March 31, 2011, and 2010, respectively.
(2) Represents the percentage of miles for which the company is not compensated.
CONTACT: Tim Kohl, President, 
         and Jim Hinnendael, Chief Financial Officer,
         of Marten Transport, Ltd., 715-926-4216.

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