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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission File Number: 0-51142

 

UNIVERSAL LOGISTICS HOLDINGS, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

 

Michigan

 

38-3640097

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Incorporation or Organization)

 

Identification No.)

12755 E. Nine Mile Road

Warren, Michigan 48089

(Address, including Zip Code of Principal Executive Offices)

(586) 920-0100

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, no par value

ULH

The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large Accelerated filer

 

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2). Yes ☐ No

As of July 2, 2022, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based upon the closing sale price of the common stock on July 1, 2022, as reported by The Nasdaq Stock Market, was approximately $182.1 million (assuming, but not admitting for any purpose, that all (a) directors and executive officers of the registrant are affiliates, and (b) the number of shares held by such directors and executive officers does not include shares that such persons could have acquired within 60 days of July 2, 2022).

The number of shares of common stock, no par value, outstanding as of March 6, 2023, was 26,284,424.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the Proxy Statement for the Registrant’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K.

 

 


UNIVERSAL LOGISTICS HOLDINGS, INC.

2022 ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

 

3

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

9

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Securities & Exchange Commission Staff Comments

 

18

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

18

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

18

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

18

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

19

Item 6.

 

Reserved

 

21

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

21

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

 

33

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

35

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

67

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

67

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

69

Item 9C.

 

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

 

69

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

70

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

70

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

70

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

70

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

70

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

71

Signatures

 

73

 

 

 

EX-4.2 Description of Capital Stock

 

 

EX-21.1 List of Subsidiaries

 

 

EX-23.1 Consent of Grant Thornton LLP

 

 

EX-23.2 Consent of BDO

 

 

EX-31.1 Section 302 CEO Certification

 

 

EX-31.2 Section 302 CFO Certification

 

 

EX-32.1 Section 906 CEO and CFO Certification

 

 

EX-101.INS Inline XBRL Instance Document

 

 

EX-101.SCH Inline XBRL Schema Document

 

 

EX-101.CAL Inline XBRL Calculation Linkbase Document

 

 

EX-101.DEF Inline XBRL Definition Linkbase Document

 

 

EX-101.LAB Inline XBRL Labels Linkbase Document

 

 

EX-101.PRE Inline XBRL Presentation Linkbase Document

 

 

 

 

 

 


DISCLOSURE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Form 10-K”) contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, that involve risks and uncertainties. Many of the forward-looking statements are located in Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Forward-looking statements provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. Forward-looking statements can also be identified by words such as “future,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “targets,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “can,” “may,” and similar terms. Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of future performance, and the Company’s actual results may differ significantly from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K under the heading “Risk Factors,” which are incorporated herein by reference. All information presented herein is based on the Company’s fiscal calendar. Unless otherwise stated, references to particular years, quarters, months, or periods refer to the Company’s fiscal years ended December 31 and the associated quarters, months, and periods of those fiscal years. Each of the terms “Universal,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” as used herein refers collectively to Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless otherwise stated. The Company assumes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements for any reason, except as required by law.

 

 

PART I

ITEM 1: BUSINESS

 

Company Background

 

Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. is a holding company that owns subsidiaries engaged in providing a variety of customized transportation and logistics solutions throughout the United States, and in Mexico, Canada and Colombia. Our operating subsidiaries provide customers a broad array of services across their entire supply chain, including truckload, brokerage, intermodal, dedicated and value-added services.

Our operating subsidiaries provide a comprehensive suite of transportation and logistics solutions that allow our customers to reduce costs and manage their global supply chains more efficiently. We market and deliver our services in several ways:

Through a direct sales and marketing network focused on selling our portfolio of services to large customers in specific industry sectors;
Through company-managed facilities and full-service freight forwarding and customs house brokerage offices; and
Through a network of agents who solicit freight business directly from shippers.

At December 31, 2022, we operated 51 company-managed terminal locations and serviced 63 value-added programs at locations throughout the United States and in Mexico, Canada and Colombia, and we had an agent network totaling approximately 240 agents.

We were incorporated in Michigan on December 11, 2001. We have been a publicly held company since February 11, 2005, the date of our initial public offering.

Our principal executive offices are located at 12755 E. Nine Mile Road, Warren, Michigan 48089.

Operations

 

We broadly group our revenues into the following service categories: truckload, brokerage, intermodal, dedicated, and value-added services.

Truckload. Our truckload services include dry van, flatbed, heavy-haul and refrigerated operations. Truckload services represented approximately $230.7 million, or 11.4%, of our operating revenues in 2022. We transport a wide variety of general commodities, including automotive parts, machinery, building materials, paper, food, consumer goods, furniture, steel and other metals on behalf of customers in various industries.

Brokerage. We provide customers freight brokerage services by utilizing third-party transportation providers to transport goods. Brokerage services also include full service domestic and international freight forwarding, and customs brokerage. In 2022, brokerage services represented approximately $368.9 million, or 18.3%, of our operating revenues.

3


Intermodal. Intermodal operations include steamship-truck, rail-truck, and support services. Intermodal support services represented $591.9 million, or 29.4%, of our operating revenues in 2022. Our intermodal support services are primarily short-to-medium distance delivery of both international and domestic containers between the railhead or port and the customer.

Dedicated. Our dedicated services are primarily provided in support of automotive customers using van equipment. In 2022, dedicated services represented approximately $324.6 million, or 16.1%, of our operating revenues. Our dedicated services are primarily short run or round-trip moves within a defined geographic area provided through a network of union and non-union employee drivers, owner-operators, and contract drivers.

Value-Added. Our value-added services, which are typically dedicated to individual customer requirements, include material handling, consolidation, sequencing, sub-assembly, cross-dock services, kitting, repacking, warehousing and returnable container management. Value-added services represented approximately $499.3 million, or 24.8%, of our operating revenues in 2022. Our facilities and services are often directly integrated into the production processes of our customers and represent a critical piece of their supply chains.

Segments

We report our financial results in four distinct reportable segments: contract logistics, intermodal, trucking, and company-managed brokerage.

Operations aggregated in our contract logistics segment deliver value-added and/or dedicated transportation services to support in-bound logistics to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and major retailers on a contractual basis, generally pursuant to terms of one year or longer. Our intermodal segment is associated with local and regional drayage moves predominately coordinated by company-managed terminals using a mix of owner-operators, company equipment and third-party capacity providers (broker carriers). Operations aggregated in our trucking segment are associated with individual freight shipments coordinated primarily by our agents using a mix of owner-operators, company equipment and broker carriers. Our company-managed brokerage segment provides for the pick-up and delivery of individual freight shipments using broker carriers, coordinated by our company-managed operations.

For additional information on segments, see Item 8, Note 17 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Impact of COVID-19

Our operations have been impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. We began our COVID-19 response activities in the first quarter of 2020, which required expanded health and safety policies, facility modifications, increased security coverage, and purchase and distribution of personal protective equipment and supplies. Any future waves or outbreaks of alternative strains of the virus could adversely impact our future operations and financial results.

Business and Growth Strategy

 

The key elements of our strategy are as follows:

Make strategic acquisitions. The transportation and logistics industry is highly fragmented, with hundreds of small and mid-sized competitors that are either specialized in specific vertical markets, specific service offerings, or limited to local and regional coverage. We expect to selectively evaluate and pursue acquisitions that will enhance our service capabilities, expand our geographic network and/or diversify our customer base.

Continue to capitalize on strong industry fundamentals and outsourcing trends. We believe long-term industry growth will be supported by manufacturers seeking to outsource non-core logistics functions to cost-effective third-party providers that can efficiently manage increasingly complex global supply chains. We intend to leverage our integrated suite of transportation and logistics services, our network of facilities, our long-term customer relationships, and our reputation for operational excellence to capitalize on favorable industry fundamentals and growth expectations.

Target further penetration of key customers in the North American automotive industry. The automotive industry is one of the largest users of global outsourced logistics services, providing us growth opportunities with both existing and new customers. Of our customers generating revenues greater than $100,000 per year, this sector comprised approximately 36% of operating revenues in 2022. We intend to capitalize on anticipated continued growth in outsourcing of higher value logistics services in the automotive sector such as sub-assembly and sequencing, which link directly into production lines and require specialized capabilities, technological expertise and strict quality controls.

4


Continue to expand penetration in other vertical markets. We have a history of providing highly complex value-added logistics services to automotive and other industrial customers. We have developed standardized, modular systems for material handling processes and have extensive experience in rapid implementation and workforce training. These capabilities and our broad portfolio of logistics services are transferable across vertical markets. We believe we can leverage the expertise we initially developed in the automotive sector. In addition to automotive, our targeted industries include aerospace, energy, government services, healthcare, industrial retail, consumer goods, and steel and metals.

Expand our network of agents and owner-operators. Increasing the number of agents and owner-operators has been a driver of our historical growth in transactional transportation services. We intend to continue to recruit qualified agents and owner-operators in order to penetrate new markets and expand our operations in existing markets. Our agents typically focus on a small number of shippers in a particular market and are attuned to the specific transportation needs of that core group of shippers, while remaining alert to growth opportunities.

Competition and Industry

 

The transportation and logistics service industry is highly competitive and extremely fragmented. We compete based on quality and reliability of service, price, breadth of logistics solutions, and IT capabilities. We compete with asset and non-asset based truckload and less-than-truckload carriers, intermodal transportation, logistics providers and, in some aspects of our business, railroads. We also compete with other motor carriers for owner-operators and agents.

 

Our customers may choose not to outsource their logistics operations and, rather, to retain or restore such activities as their own internal operations. In our largest vertical market, the automotive industry, we compete more frequently with a relatively small number of privately-owned firms or with subsidiaries of large public companies. These vendors have the scope and capabilities to provide the breadth of services required by the large and complex supply chains of automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

 

We also encounter competition from regional and local third-party logistics providers, integrated transportation companies that operate their own aircraft, cargo sales agents and brokers, surface freight forwarders and carriers, airlines, associations of shippers organized to consolidate their members’ shipments to obtain lower freight rates, and internet-based freight exchanges.

 

The transportation industry is continuously impacted by new rules and regulations intended to improve the overall safety of the industry. Compliance with such increasingly complex rules continues to constrain the supply of qualified drivers. We believe that our industry will continue to be hindered by an insufficient quantity of qualified drivers which creates significant competition for this declining pool.

Customers

 

Revenue is generated from customers throughout the United States, and in Mexico, Canada and Colombia. Our customers are largely concentrated in the automotive, retail and consumer goods, steel and other metals, energy and manufacturing industries.

 

A significant percentage of our revenues are derived from the domestic auto industry. Of our customers generating revenues greater than $100,000 per year, aggregate sales in the automotive industry totaled 36%, 31% and 29% of revenues during the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. During 2022, 2021 and 2020, General Motors accounted for approximately 16%, 13% and 14% of our total operating revenues, respectively. Sales to our top 10 customers, including General Motors, totaled 42% in 2022. A significant percentage of our revenue also results from our providing capacity to other transportation companies that aggregate loads from a variety of shippers in these and other industries.

Human Capital Resources

 

Overview. As of December 31, 2022, we had 8,646 employees. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we also engaged, on average, the full-time equivalency of 1,326 individuals on a contract basis. As of December 31, 2022, approximately 39% of our employees in the United States, Canada, and Colombia and 80% of our employees in Mexico were members of unions and subject to collective bargaining agreements. We believe our union and employee relationships are good.

 

Diversity and Inclusion. We believe diversity and inclusion are critical to our ability to win in the marketplace and enable our workforce and communities to succeed. Specifically, having a diverse and inclusive workplace allows us to attract and retain the best employees to deliver results for our shareholders. A qualified, diverse, and inclusive workforce also helps us represent the broad cross-section of ideas, values, and beliefs of our employees, customers, and communities. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion means that we will continue to strive to establish and improve an inclusive workplace environment where employees from all backgrounds can succeed and be heard.

5


Employee Health and Safety. We are committed to being an industry leader in health and safety standards. The physical health, wellbeing, and mental health of our employees is crucial to our success. Most recently, our primary concern during the COVID-19 pandemic has been to do our part to protect our employees, customers, vendors, and the general public from the spread of the virus while continuing to serve the vital role of supplying essential goods to the nation. For essential functions, including our plant workers and driving professionals, we have distributed cleaning and protective supplies to various plants and terminals so that they are available to those that need them, increased cleaning frequency and coverage, and provided employees direction on precautionary measures, such as sanitizing truck interiors, personal hygiene, and social distancing. We will continue to adapt our operations as required to ensure safety while continuing to provide a high level of service to our customers.

 

Talent Acquisition, Retention and Development. We continually strive to hire, develop, and retain the top talent in our industry. Critical to attracting and retaining top talent is employee satisfaction, and we regularly implement programs to increase employee satisfaction. We reward our employees by providing competitive compensation, benefits, and incentives throughout all levels in our organization. Intense competition in the transportation and logistics services industry for qualified workers and drivers has resulted in additional expense to recruit and retain an adequate supply of employees and has had a negative impact on the industry. Our operations have also been impacted, we have periodically experienced under-utilization and increased expenses due to a shortage of qualified workers and drivers. We place a high priority on the recruitment and retention of an adequate supply of qualified workers and drivers.

Independent Contractor Network

 

We utilize a network of agents and owner-operators located throughout the United States and in Ontario, Canada. These agents and owner-operators are independent contractors.

 

A significant percentage of the interaction with our shippers is provided by our agents. Our agents solicited and controlled approximately 30% of the freight we hauled in 2022, with the balance of the freight being generated by company-managed terminals. Our top 100 agents in 2022 generated approximately 19% of our annual operating revenues. Our agents typically focus on three or four shippers within a particular market and solicit most of their freight business from this core group. By focusing on a relatively small number of shippers, each agent is acutely aware of the specific transportation needs of that core group of shippers, while remaining alert to growth opportunities.

 

We also contract with owner-operators to provide greater flexibility in responding to fluctuations in customer demand. Owner-operators provide their own trucks and are contractually responsible for all associated expenses, including but not limited to financing costs, fuel, maintenance, insurance, and taxes, among other things. They are also responsible for maintaining compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.

Revenue Equipment

The following table represents our equipment used to provide transportation services as of December 31, 2022:

 

Type of Equipment

 

Company-
owned or
Leased

 

 

Owner-
Operator
Provided

 

 

Total

 

Tractors

 

 

1,847

 

 

 

2,207

 

 

 

4,054

 

Yard Tractors

 

 

244

 

 

 

 

 

 

244

 

Trailers

 

 

4,139

 

 

 

1,043

 

 

 

5,182

 

Chassis

 

 

3,372

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

3,373

 

Containers

 

 

129

 

 

 

 

 

 

129

 

Risk Management and Insurance

Our customers and federal regulations generally require that we provide insurance for auto liability and general liability claims up to $1.0 million per occurrence. Accordingly, in the United States, we purchase such insurance from a licensed casualty insurance carrier, which is a related party, providing a minimum $1.0 million of coverage for individual auto liability and general liability claims. We are generally self-insured for auto and general liability claims above $1.0 million unless riders are sought to satisfy individual customer or vendor contract requirements. In certain of our businesses, we have secured additional auto liability coverage where we are self-insured for claims above $4.0 million. In Mexico, our operations and investment in equipment are insured through an internationally recognized, third-party insurance underwriter.

 

We typically self-insure for the risk of motor cargo liability claims and material handling claims. Accordingly, we establish financial reserves for anticipated losses and expenses related to motor cargo liability and material handling claims, and we periodically evaluate and adjust those reserves to reflect our experience. Any such adjustments could have a materially adverse effect on our operations and financial results.

6


To reduce our exposure to claims incurred while a vehicle is being operated without a trailer attached or is being operated with an attached trailer which does not contain or carry any cargo, we require our owner-operators to maintain non-trucking use liability coverage (which the industry refers to as deadhead bobtail coverage) of $2.0 million per occurrence.

Technology

We use multifaceted software tools and hardware platforms that support seamless integration with the IT networks of our customers and vendors through electronic data exchange systems. These tools enhance our relationships and ability to effectively communicate with customers and vendors. Our tools and platforms provide real-time, web-based visibility into the supply chains of our customers.

 

In our contract logistics segment, we customize our proprietary Warehouse Management System (WMS) to meet the needs of individual customers. Our WMS allows us to send our customers an advance shipping notice through a simple, web-based interface that can be used by a variety of vendors. It also enables us to clearly identify and communicate to the customer any vendor-related problems that may cause delays in production. We also use cross-dock and container-return-management applications that automate the cycle of material receipt and empty container return.

Our proprietary and third-party transportation management system allows full operational control and visibility from dispatch to delivery, and from invoicing to receivables collections. For our employee drivers, the system provides automated dispatch to hand-held devices, satellite tracking for quality control and electronic status broadcasts to customers when requested. Our international and domestic air freight and ocean forwarding services use similar systems with added functionalities for managing air and ocean freight transportation requirements. All of these systems have customer-oriented web interfaces that allow for full shipment tracking and visibility, as well as for customer shipment input. We also provide systems that allow agents to list pending freight shipments and owner-operators with available capacity and track particular shipments at various points in the shipping route.

 

We believe that these tools improve our services and quality controls, strengthen our relationships with our customers, and enhance our value proposition. Any significant disruption or failure of these systems could have a materially adverse effect on our operations and financial results.

Government Regulation

 

Our operations are regulated and licensed by various U.S. federal and state agencies, as well as comparable agencies in Mexico, Canada, and Colombia. Interstate motor carrier operations are subject to the broad regulatory powers, to include drug and alcohol testing, safety and insurance requirements, prescribed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Matters such as weight and equipment dimensions also are subject to United States federal and state regulation. We operate in the United States under operating authority granted by the DOT. We are also subject to regulations relating to testing and specifications of transportation equipment and product handling requirements. In addition, our drivers and owner-operators must have a commercial driver’s license and comply with safety and fitness regulations promulgated by the FMCSA, including those relating to drug and alcohol testing.

 

Our international operations, which include not only facilities in Mexico, Canada and Colombia but also transportation shipments managed by our specialized service operations, are impacted by a wide variety of U.S. government regulations and applicable international treaties. These include regulations of the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Treasury. Regulations also cover specific commodities, destinations and end-users. Part of our specialized services operations is engaged in the arrangement of imported and exported freight. As such, we are subject to the regulations of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which include significant notice and registration requirements. In various Canadian provinces, we operate transportation services under authority granted by the Ministries of Transportation and Communications.

 

Transportation-related regulations are greatly affected by U.S. national security legislation and related regulations. We believe we comply with applicable material regulations and that the costs of regulatory compliance are an ordinary operating cost of our business that we may not be able to recoup from rates charged to customers.

Environmental Regulation

We are subject to various federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations that focus on, among other things: the emission and discharge of hazardous materials into the environment or their presence at our properties or in our vehicles; fuel storage tanks; transportation of certain materials; and the discharge or retention of storm water. Under specific environmental laws, we could also be held responsible for any costs relating to contamination at our past or present facilities and at third-party waste disposal sites, as well as costs associated with cleanup of accidents involving our vehicles.

7


As climate change issues become more prevalent, federal, state and local governments, as well as some of our customers, have made efforts to respond to these issues. This increased focus on sustainability may result in new legislation or regulations and customer requirements that could negatively affect us as we may incur additional costs or be required to make changes to our operations in order to comply with any new regulations or customer requirements. Legislation or regulations that potentially impose restrictions, caps, taxes, or other controls on emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, a by-product of burning fossil fuels such as those used in the Company’s trucks, could adversely affect our operations and financial results. More specifically, legislative or regulatory actions relating to climate change could adversely impact the Company by increasing our fuel costs and reducing fuel efficiency and could result in the creation of substantial additional capital expenditures and operating costs in the form of taxes, emissions allowances, or required equipment upgrades.

We believe we are currently in material compliance with applicable laws and regulations and that the cost of compliance has not materially affected results of operations. However, future changes to laws or regulations may adversely affect our operations and could result in unforeseen costs to our business.

Seasonality

Generally, demand for our value-added services delivered to existing customers increases during the second calendar quarter of each year as a result of the automotive industry’s spring selling season. Conversely, such demand generally decreases during the third quarter of each year due to the impact of scheduled OEM customer plant shutdowns in July for vacations and changeovers in production lines for new model years.

Our value-added services business is also impacted in the fourth quarter by plant shutdowns during the December holiday period. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on North American automotive manufacturing, we may not experience normal seasonal demand for our services supporting the automotive production and selling cycles during the current year.

Our transportation services business is generally impacted by decreased activity during the post-holiday winter season and, in certain states, during hurricane season. At these times, some shippers reduce their shipments, and inclement weather impedes trucking operations or underlying customer demand.

Prolonged adverse weather conditions, particularly in winter months, can also adversely impact margins due to productivity declines and related challenges meeting customer service requirements.

Available Information

We make available free of charge on or through our website, www.universallogistics.com, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The contents of our website are not incorporated into this filing.

8


ITEM 1A: RISK FACTORS

Set forth below, and elsewhere in this Report and in other documents we file with the SEC, are risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the results contemplated by the forward-looking statements contained in this Report.

 

Risks Related to Our Industry

 

Our business is subject to general economic and business factors that are largely beyond our control, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.

Our business is dependent upon a number of general economic and business factors that may adversely affect our results of operations. These factors include significant increases or rapid fluctuations in fuel prices, excess capacity in the transportation and logistics industry, surpluses in the market for used equipment, interest rates, fuel taxes, license and registration fees, insurance premiums, self-insurance levels, and difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified drivers and independent contractors.

We operate in a highly competitive and fragmented industry, and our business may suffer if we are unable to adequately address any downward pricing pressures or other factors that may adversely affect our ability to compete with other carriers.

Further, we are affected by recessionary economic cycles and downturns in customers’ business cycles, particularly in market segments and industries, such as the automotive industry, where we have a significant concentration of customers. Economic conditions may also adversely affect our customers and their ability to pay for our services.

Deterioration in the United States and world economies could exacerbate any difficulties experienced by our customers and suppliers in obtaining financing, which, in turn, could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

We operate in the highly competitive and fragmented transportation and logistics industry, and our business may suffer if we are unable to adequately address factors that may adversely affect our revenue and costs relative to our competitors.

Numerous competitive factors could impair our ability to maintain our current profitability. These factors include the following:

we compete with many other truckload carriers and logistics companies of varying sizes, some of which have more equipment, a broader coverage network, a wider range of services and greater capital resources than we do;

 

some of our competitors periodically reduce their rates to gain business, especially during times of reduced growth rates in the economy, which may limit our ability to maintain or increase rates, maintain our operating margins, or maintain significant growth in our business;

 

many customers reduce the number of carriers they use by selecting so-called “core carriers” as approved service providers and, in some instances, we may not be selected;

 

some companies hire lead logistics providers to manage their logistics operations, and these lead logistics providers may hire logistics providers on a non-neutral basis which may reduce the number of business opportunities available to us;

 

many customers periodically accept bids from multiple carriers and providers for their shipping and logistic service needs, and this process may result in the loss of some of our business to competitors and/or price reductions;

 

the trend toward consolidation in the trucking and third-party logistics industries may create other large providers with greater financial resources and other competitive advantages relating to their size and with whom we may have difficulty competing;

 

advances in technology require increased investments to remain competitive, and our customers may not be willing to accept higher rates to cover the cost of these investments;

 

competition from Internet-based and other brokerage companies may adversely affect our relationships with our customers and freight rates;

 

economies of scale that may be passed on to smaller providers by procurement aggregation providers may improve the ability of smaller providers to compete with us;
some areas of our service coverage require trucks with engines no older than 2011 in order to comply with environmental rules; and
an inability to continue to access capital markets to finance equipment acquisition could put us at a competitive disadvantage.

9


We may be adversely impacted by fluctuations in the price and availability of diesel fuel.

Diesel fuel represents a significant operating expense for the Company, and we do not currently hedge against the risk of diesel fuel price increases. An increase in diesel fuel prices or diesel fuel taxes, or any change in federal or state regulations that results in such an increase, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results to the extent we are unable to recoup such increases from customers in the form of increased freight rates or through fuel surcharges. Historically, we have been able to offset, to a certain extent, diesel fuel price increases through fuel surcharges to our customers, but we cannot be certain that we will be able to do so in the future. We continuously monitor the components of our pricing, including base freight rates and fuel surcharges, and address individual account profitability issues with our customers when necessary. While we have historically been able to adjust our pricing to help offset changes to the cost of diesel fuel through changes to base rates and/or fuel surcharges, we cannot be certain that we will be able to do so in the future.

 

Difficulty in attracting drivers could affect our profitability and ability to grow.

The transportation industry routinely experiences difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified drivers, including independent contractors, resulting in intense competition for drivers. We have from time to time experienced under-utilization and increased expenses due to a shortage of qualified drivers. If we are unable to attract drivers when needed or contract with independent contractors when needed, we could be required to further adjust our driver compensation packages, increase driver recruiting efforts, or let trucks sit idle, any of which could adversely affect our growth and profitability.

Purchase price increases for new revenue equipment and/or decreases in the value of used revenue equipment could have an adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.

During the last decade, the purchase price of new revenue equipment has increased significantly as equipment manufacturers recover increased materials costs and engine design costs resulting from compliance with increasingly stringent EPA engine emission standards. Additional EPA emission mandates in the future could result in higher purchase prices of revenue equipment which could result in higher than anticipated depreciation expenses. If we were unable to offset any such increase in expenses with freight rate increases, our cash flows and results of operations could be adversely affected. If the market price for used equipment continues to decline, then we could incur substantial losses upon disposition of our revenue equipment which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We have significant ongoing capital requirements that could affect our liquidity and profitability if we are unable to generate sufficient cash from operations or obtain sufficient financing on favorable terms.

The transportation and logistics industry is capital intensive. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash from operations in the future, we may have to limit our growth, enter into unfavorable financing arrangements, or operate our revenue equipment for longer periods, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our profitability.

 

We operate in a highly regulated industry and increased costs of compliance with, or liability for violation of, existing or future regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business.

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, and various state and local agencies exercise broad powers over our business, generally governing such activities as authorization to engage in motor carrier operations, drug and alcohol testing, safety and insurance requirements. Our owner-operators must comply with the safety and fitness regulations promulgated by the FMCSA, including those relating to drug and alcohol testing and hours-of-service. There also are regulations specifically relating to the trucking industry, including testing and specifications of equipment and product handling requirements. These measures could disrupt or impede the timing of our deliveries and we may fail to meet the needs of our customers. The cost of complying with these regulatory measures, or any future measures, could have a materially adverse effect on our business or results of operations.

A determination that independent contractors are employees could expose us to various liabilities and additional costs.

Federal and state legislators and other regulatory authorities, as well as independent contractors themselves, often seek to assert that independent contractors in the transportation services industry are employees rather than independent contractors. An example of such legislation enacted in California is now enforceable against trucking companies. There can be no assurance that interpretations that support the independent contractor status will not change, that other federal or state legislation will not be enacted or that various authorities will not successfully assert a position that re-classifies independent contractors to be employees. If our independent contractors are determined to be our employees, that determination could materially increase our exposure under a variety of federal and state tax, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, labor, employment and tort laws, as well as our potential liability for employee benefits. In addition, such changes may be applied retroactively, and if so, we may be required to pay additional amounts to compensate for prior periods. Any of the above increased costs would adversely affect our business and operating results.

10


We may incur additional operating expenses or liabilities as a result of potential future requirements to address climate change issues.

Federal, state, and local governments, as well as some of our customers, are beginning to respond to global warming issues. This increased focus on sustainability may result in new legislation or regulations and customer requirements that could negatively affect us as we may incur additional costs or be required to make changes to our operations in order to comply with any new regulations or customer requirements. Legislation or regulations that potentially impose restrictions, caps, taxes, or other controls on emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, a by-product of burning fossil fuels such as those used in the Company’s trucks, could adversely affect our operations and financial results. More specifically, legislative, or regulatory actions related to climate change could adversely impact the Company by increasing our fuel costs and reducing fuel efficiency and could result in the creation of substantial additional capital expenditures and operating costs in the form of taxes, emissions allowances, or required equipment upgrades. Any of these factors could impair our operating efficiency and productivity and result in higher operating costs. In addition, revenues could decrease if we are unable to meet regulatory or customer sustainability requirements. These additional costs, changes in operations, or loss of revenues could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

Risks Related to Our Business

Our revenue is largely dependent on North American automotive industry production volume and may be negatively affected by future downturns in North American automobile production.

A significant portion of our larger customers are concentrated in the North American automotive industry. For customers generating annual revenues over $100,000, 36% of our revenues were derived from customers in the North American automotive industry during 2022. Our business and growth largely depend on continued demand for its services from customers in this industry. Any future downturns in North American automobile production, which also impacts our steel and other metals customers, could similarly affect our revenues in future periods.

Our business derives a large portion of revenue from a few major customers, and the loss of any one or more of them as customers, or a reduction in their operations, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

A large portion of our revenue is generated from a limited number of major customers concentrated in the automotive, retail and consumer goods, steel and other metals, energy and manufacturing industries. Our top 10 customers accounted for approximately 42% of our operating revenues during 2022. Our contracts with customers generally contain cancellation clauses, and there can be no assurance that these customers will continue to utilize our services or that they will continue at the same levels. Further, there can be no assurance that these customers will not be affected by a future downturn in demand, which would result in a reduction in their operations and corresponding need for our services. Moreover, our customers may individually lose market share, apart from general economic trends. If our major customers lose U.S. market share, they may have less need for services. A reduction in or termination of services by one or more of our major customers could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

11


If we are unable to retain our key employees, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be harmed.

We are highly dependent upon the services of our key employees and executive officers. The loss of any of their services could have a material adverse effect on our operations and future profitability. We must continue to develop and retain a core group of managers if we are to realize our goal of expanding our operations and continuing our growth. We cannot assure that we will be able to do so.

A significant labor dispute involving us or one or more of our customers, or that could otherwise affect our operations, could reduce our revenues, and harm our profitability.

A substantial number of our employees and of the employees of our largest customers are members of industrial trade unions and are employed under the terms of collective bargaining agreements. Each of our unionized facilities has a separate agreement with the union that represents the workers at only that facility. During 2019, a labor strike by the United Auto Workers of its employees at the facilities of our largest customer, General Motors, caused an extended shutdown of General Motors’ manufacturing operations and, in turn, materially and adversely impacted our operating results during the third and fourth quarters of 2019. Any future labor disputes involving either us or our customers could similarly materially affect our operations. If the UAW and our automotive customers and their suppliers are unable to negotiate new contracts in the future and our customers’ plants experience slowdowns or closures as a result, our revenue and profitability could be negatively impacted. A labor dispute involving another supplier to our customers that results in a slowdown or closure of our customers’ plants to which we provide services could also have a material adverse effect on our business. Significant increases in labor costs as a result of the renegotiation of collective bargaining agreements could also be harmful to our business and our profitability. As of December 31, 2022, approximately 39% of our employees in the United States, Canada, and Colombia, and 80% of our employees in Mexico were members of unions and subject to collective bargaining agreements.

In addition, strikes, work stoppages and slowdowns by our employees may affect our ability to meet our customers’ needs, and customers may do more business with competitors if they believe that such actions may adversely affect our ability to provide service. We may face permanent loss of customers if we are unable to provide uninterrupted service. The terms of our future collective bargaining agreements also may affect our competitive position and results of operations.

Ongoing insurance and claims expenses could significantly reduce our earnings and cash flows.

Our future insurance and claims expenses might exceed historical levels, which could reduce our earnings and cash flows. The Company is self-insured for health and workers’ compensation insurance coverage up to certain limits. If medical costs continue to increase, or if the severity or number of claims increase, and if we are unable to offset the resulting increases in expenses with higher freight rates, our earnings could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We face litigation risks that could have a material adverse effect on the operation of our business.

We face litigation risks regarding a variety of issues, including without limitation, accidents involving our trucks and employees, alleged violations of federal and state labor and employment laws, securities laws, environmental liability, and other matters. These proceedings may be time-consuming, expensive, and disruptive to normal business operations. The defense of such lawsuits could result in significant expense and the diversion of our management’s time and attention from the operation of our business. In recent years, several insurance companies have stopped offering coverage to trucking companies as a result of increases in the severity of automobile liability claims and higher costs of settlements and verdicts. Recent jury awards in the trucking industry have reached into the tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. Trends in such awards, commonly referred to as nuclear verdicts, could adversely affect our ability to obtain suitable insurance coverage or could significantly increase our cost for obtaining such coverage, which would adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, and cash flows. Costs we incur to defend or to satisfy a judgment or settlement of these claims may not be covered by insurance or could exceed the amount of that coverage or increase our insurance costs and could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, and cash flows.

12


We have substantial fixed costs and, as a result, our operating income fluctuates disproportionately with changes in our net sales.

A significant portion of our expenses are fixed costs that neither increase nor decrease proportionately with our sales. There can be no assurance that we would be able to reduce our fixed costs proportionately in response to a decline in our sales; therefore, our competitiveness could be significantly impacted. As a result, a decline in our sales would result in a higher percentage decline in our income from operations and net income.

Our existing and future indebtedness could limit our flexibility in operating our business or adversely affect our business and our liquidity position.

We have outstanding indebtedness, and our debt may fluctuate from time to time in the future for various reasons, including changes in the results of our operations, capital expenditures, and potential acquisitions. Our current indebtedness, as well as any future indebtedness, could, among other things:

impair our ability to obtain additional future financing for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, or general corporate expenses;

 

limit our ability to use operating cash flow in other areas of our business due to the necessity of dedicating a substantial portion of these funds for payments on our indebtedness;

 

limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;

 

make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations;

 

increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions; and
place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors.

 

Our ability to make scheduled payments on, or to refinance, our debt and other obligations will depend on our financial and operating performance, which, in turn, is subject to our ability to implement our strategic initiatives, prevailing economic conditions and certain financial, business, and other factors beyond our control. If our cash flow and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service and other obligations, we may be forced to reduce or delay expansion plans and capital expenditures, sell material assets or operations, obtain additional capital, or restructure our debt. We cannot provide any assurance that our operating performance, cash flow and capital resources will be sufficient to pay our debt obligations when they become due. We also cannot provide assurance that we would be able to dispose of material assets or operations or restructure our debt or other obligations if necessary or, even if we were able to take such actions, that we could do so on terms that are acceptable to us.

 

Disruptions in the credit markets may adversely affect our business, including the availability and cost of short-term funds for liquidity requirements and our ability to meet long-term commitments, which could adversely affect our results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.

If cash from operations is not sufficient, we may be required to rely on the capital and credit markets to meet our financial commitments and short-term liquidity needs. Disruptions in the capital and credit markets, as have been experienced during recent years, could adversely affect our ability to draw on our revolving credit facilities. Our access to funds under the credit facilities is dependent on the ability of banks to meet their funding commitments. A bank may not be able to meet their funding commitments if they experience shortages of capital and liquidity or if they experience excessive volumes of borrowing requests from other borrowers within a short period of time.

Longer term disruptions in the capital and credit markets as a result of uncertainty, changing or increased regulation, reduced alternatives, or failures of significant financial institutions could adversely affect our access to liquidity needed for our business. Any disruption could require us to take measures to conserve cash until the markets stabilize or until alternative credit arrangements or other funding for our business needs can be arranged, which could adversely affect our growth and profitability.

13


Our results of operations may be affected by seasonal factors.

Our productivity may decrease during the winter season when severe winter weather impedes operations. Also, some shippers may reduce their shipments after the winter holiday season. At the same time, operating expenses may increase, and fuel efficiency may decline due to engine idling during periods of inclement weather. Harsh weather conditions generally also result in higher accident frequency, increased freight claims, and higher equipment repair expenditures. Generally, demand for our value-added services delivered to existing customers increases during the second calendar quarter of each year as a result of the automotive industry’s spring selling season and decreases during the third quarter of each year due to the impact of scheduled OEM customer plant shutdowns in July for vacations and changeovers in production lines for new model years. Our value-added services business is also impacted in the fourth quarter by plant shutdowns during the December holiday period.

Our operations are subject to various environmental laws and regulations, the violation of which could result in substantial fines or penalties.

We are subject to various environmental laws and regulations dealing with the handling of hazardous materials, underground fuel storage tanks, and discharge and retention of storm-water. We operate in industrial areas, where truck terminals and other industrial activities are located, and where groundwater or other forms of environmental contamination could occur. In prior years, we also maintained bulk fuel storage and fuel islands at two of our facilities. Our operations may involve the risks of fuel spillage or seepage, environmental damage, and hazardous waste disposal, among others. If we are involved in a spill or other accident involving hazardous substances, or if we are found to be in violation of applicable laws or regulations, it could have a materially adverse effect on our business and operating results. If we should fail to comply with applicable environmental regulations, we could be subject to substantial fines or penalties and to civil and criminal liability.

 

Our business may be disrupted by natural disasters and severe weather conditions causing supply chain disruptions.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or other adverse weather and climate conditions, whether occurring in the United States or abroad, could disrupt our operations or the operations of our customers or could damage or destroy infrastructure necessary to transport products as part of the supply chain. Specifically, these events may damage or destroy or assets, disrupt fuel supplies, increase fuel costs, disrupt freight shipments or routes, and affect regional economies. As a result, these events could make it difficult or impossible for us to provide logistics and transportation services; disrupt or prevent our ability to perform functions at the corporate level; and/or otherwise impede our ability to continue business operations in a continuous manner consistent with the level and extent of business activities prior to the occurrence of the unexpected event, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations or make our results more volatile.

 

Our business may be harmed by public health crises, terrorist attacks, future war, or anti-terrorism measures.

The rapid or unrestricted spread of a contagious illness such as COVID-19, or the fear of such an event, could significantly disrupt global and domestic supply chains for our customers or result in various travel restrictions, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. The duration of the current disruption in supply chains, and whether the magnitude of the disruption will change, are currently unknown. In addition, in order to prevent terrorist attacks, federal, state, and municipal authorities have implemented and continue to follow various security measures, including checkpoints and travel restrictions on large trucks. Our international operations in Canada and Mexico may be affected significantly if there are any disruptions or closures of border traffic due to security measures. Such measures may have costs associated with them, which, in connection with the transportation services we provide, we or our owner-operators could be forced to bear. Further, a public health crisis, terrorist attack, war, or risk of such an event also may have an adverse effect on the economy. A decline in economic activity could adversely affect our revenue or restrict our future growth. Instability in the financial markets as a result of a health pandemic, terrorism or war also could affect our ability to raise capital. In addition, the insurance premiums charged for some or all of the coverage currently maintained by us could increase dramatically or such coverage could be unavailable in the future.

 

We may be unable to successfully integrate businesses we acquire into our operations.

Integrating businesses we acquire may involve unanticipated delays, costs or other operational or financial problems. Successful integration of the businesses we acquire depends on a number of factors, including our ability to transition acquired companies to our management information systems. In integrating acquired businesses, we may not achieve expected economies of scale or profitability or realize sufficient revenues to justify our investment. We also face the risk that an unexpected problem at one of the companies we acquire will require substantial time and attention from senior management, diverting management’s attention from other aspects of our business. We cannot be certain that our management and operational controls will be able to support us as we grow.

14


Our information technology systems are subject to certain cyber risks and disasters that are beyond our control.

We depend heavily on the proper functioning and availability of our information, communications, and data processing systems, including operating and financial reporting systems, in operating our business. Our systems and those of our technology and communications providers are vulnerable to interruptions caused by natural disasters, power loss, telecommunication and internet failures, cyber-attack, and other events beyond our control. Accordingly, information security and the continued development and enhancement of the controls and processes designed to protect our systems, computers, software, data and networks from attack, damage or unauthorized access remain a priority for us.

 

We have been, and in the future may be, subject to cybersecurity and malware attacks and other intentional hacking. Any failure to identify and address or to prevent a cyber- or malware-attack could result in service interruptions, operational difficulties, loss of revenues or market share, liability to our customers or others, the diversion of corporate resources, injury to our reputation and increased service and maintenance costs. For example, in June 2020, we experienced a previously disclosed ransomware cyber-attack affecting certain of our network systems. During the attack, we experienced limited disruption and rapidly deployed back-up systems or implemented temporary procedures to maintain operations. Based on our assessment and on information currently known, we do not believe the attack had or will have a material adverse impact on our business or results of operations.

Although our information systems are protected through physical and software security as well as redundant backup systems, they remain susceptible to cyber security risks. Some of our software systems are utilized by third parties who provide outsourced processing services which may increase the risk of a cyber-security incident. We have invested and continue to invest in technology security initiatives, employee training, information technology risk management and disaster recovery plans. The development and maintenance of these measures is costly and requires ongoing monitoring and updating as technologies change and efforts to overcome security measures become increasingly more sophisticated. Despite our efforts, we are not fully insulated from data breaches, technology disruptions or data loss, which could adversely impact our competitiveness and results of operations.

Any future successful cyber-attack or catastrophic natural disaster could significantly affect our operating and financial systems and could temporarily disrupt our ability to provide required services to our customers, impact our ability to manage our operations and perform vital financial processes, any of which could have a materially adverse effect on our business.

We are subject to certain risks arising from doing business in Mexico.

As we continue to grow our business in Mexico, we are subject to greater risks of doing business internationally. Those risks include but are not limited to the following:

Fluctuations in foreign currencies;
changes in the economic strength of Mexico;
difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations and intellectual property rights;
burdens of complying with a wide variety of international and U.S. export and import laws; and
social, political, and economic instability.

We also face additional risks associated with our business in Mexico, including but not limited to the following:

The adoption and enforcement of restrictive trade policies;
the imposition of any import or export tariffs, taxes, duties, or fees;
the safety and security of our employees and independent contractors, and the potential theft or vandalism of our revenue equipment; and
potential disruptions or delays at border crossings due to immigration-related issues or other factors.

If we are unable to address business concerns related to our Mexican operations in a timely and cost-efficient manner, our financial position, results of operations, or cash flows could be adversely affected.

15


The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, expansion of such conflict to other areas or countries or similar conflicts could adversely impact our business and financial results.

Although we do not have any direct operations in Russia, Belarus, or Ukraine, we may be affected by the broader consequences of the Russia and Ukraine conflict or expansion of such conflict to other areas or countries or similar conflicts elsewhere, such as, increased inflation, supply chain issues, including access to parts for our revenue equipment, embargoes, geopolitical shift, access to diesel fuel, higher energy prices, potential retaliatory action by the Russian or other governments, including cyber-attacks, and the extent of the conflict’s effect on the global economy. The magnitude of these risks cannot be predicted, including the extent to which the conflict may heighten other risks disclosed herein. Ultimately, these or other factors could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock

Under applicable NASDAQ rules, a “Controlled Company” is a company of which more than 50% of the voting power for the election of directors is held by an individual, a group or another company. We are controlled by Matthew T. Moroun, Since the Chairman of our Board of Directors, Matthew T. Moroun, satisfies this standard, Mr. Moroun controls the Company. The influence of our public shareholders over significant corporate actions is limited, and Mr. Moroun’s interests may conflict with our interests and the interests of other shareholders.

 

Matthew T. Moroun holds greater than 50% of the voting power of the Company. As a result, Mr. Moroun controls any action requiring the general approval of our shareholders, including the election of our board of directors, the adoption of amendments to our articles of incorporation and bylaws, and the approval of any merger or sale of substantially all of our assets. So long as Mr. Moroun continues to own a significant amount of our equity, even if such amount is less than a majority of the outstanding shares of our common stock, he will be capable of substantially influencing the outcome of votes on all matters requiring approval by the shareholders, including our ability to enter into certain corporate transactions. This concentration of ownership could limit the price that some investors might be willing to pay for shares of our common stock.

 

The interests of Mr. Moroun could conflict with or differ from our interests or the interests of our other shareholders. For example, the concentration of ownership he holds could delay, defer, or prevent a change of control of our Company or impede a merger, takeover or other business combination that may otherwise be favorable for us. Accordingly, Mr. Moroun could cause us to enter into transactions or agreements of which our other shareholders would not approve or make decisions with which they may disagree. Mr. Moroun may continue to retain control of us for the foreseeable future and may decide not to enter into a transaction in which shareholders would receive consideration for our common stock that is much higher than the then-current market price of our common stock. In addition, he could elect to sell a controlling interest in us to a third-party and our other shareholders may not be able to participate in such transaction or, if they are able to participate in such a transaction, such shareholders may receive less than the then current fair market value of their shares. Any decision regarding their ownership of us that Mr. Moroun may make at some future time will be in his absolute discretion, subject to applicable laws and fiduciary duties.

 

Because Matthew T. Moroun owns a controlling interest in us, we are not subject to certain corporate governance standards that apply to other publicly traded companies.

Mr. Moroun holds a majority of our outstanding common stock. As a result, we are a controlled company under the rules of the NASDAQ Stock Market. The NASDAQ rules state that a company of which more than 50% of the voting power is held by another person or group of persons acting together is a controlled company and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including the requirements that:

a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors;
a nominating and corporate governance committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and
the compensation committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities.

These requirements will not apply to us as long as we remain a controlled company. Accordingly, you may not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of NASDAQ.

16


Our stock trading volume may not provide adequate liquidity for investors.

Although shares of our common stock are traded on the NASDAQ Global Market, the average daily trading volume in our common stock is less than that of other larger transportation and logistics companies. A public trading market having the desired characteristics of depth, liquidity and orderliness depends on the presence in the marketplace of a sufficient number of willing buyers and sellers of the common stock at any given time. This presence depends on the individual decisions of investors and general economic and market conditions over which we have no control. Given the daily average trading volume of our common stock, significant sales of the common stock in a brief period of time, or the expectation of these sales, could cause a decline in the price of our common stock. Additionally, low trading volumes may limit a shareholder’s ability to sell shares of our common stock.

 

Our ability to pay regular dividends on our common stock is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on, among other things, our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, any covenants included in our credit facilities any legal or contractual restrictions on the payment of dividends and other factors the Board of Directors deems relevant.

We have adopted a cash dividend policy which anticipates a total annual dividend of $0.42 per share of common stock. However, the payment of future dividends will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend, among other things, on our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, any covenants included in our credit facilities, any legal or contractual restrictions on the payment of dividends and other factors the Board of Directors deem relevant. As a consequence of these limitations and restrictions, we may not be able to make, or may have to reduce or eliminate, the payment of dividends on our common stock. Any change in the level of our dividends or the suspension of the payment thereof could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

 

Our articles of incorporation and bylaws have, and under Michigan law are subject to, provisions that could deter or prevent a change of control.

Our articles of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that might enable our management to resist a proposed takeover of our Company. These provisions could discourage, delay, or prevent a change of control of our Company or an acquisition of our Company at a price that our shareholders may find attractive. These provisions also may discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for our shareholders to elect directors and take other corporate actions. The existence of these provisions could limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock. These provisions include:

a requirement that special meetings of our shareholders may be called only by our Board of Directors, the Chairman of our Board of Directors, our Chief Executive Officer, or the holders of a majority of our outstanding common stock;

 

advance notice requirements for shareholder proposals and nominations;

 

the authority of our Board of Directors to issue, without shareholder approval, preferred stock with such terms as the Board of Directors may determine, including in connection with our implementation of any shareholders rights plan; and
an exclusive forum bylaw provision requiring that any derivative action brought on behalf of the corporation, any action asserting a claim of breach of a legal or fiduciary duty and any similar claim under the Michigan Business Corporation Act or our articles of incorporation must be brought exclusively in the Circuit Court of the County of Macomb in the State of Michigan or the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

 

In addition, certain provisions of Michigan law that apply to us could discourage or prevent a change of control or acquisition of our Company.

17


ITEM 1B: UNRESOLVED SECURITIES & EXCHANGE COMMISSION STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 2: PROPERTIES

We are headquartered and maintain our corporate administrative offices in Warren, Michigan. We own our corporate administrative offices, as well as 21 terminal yards and other properties in the following locations: Dearborn, Michigan; Romulus, Michigan; Riverside, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Garden City, Georgia; Harvey, Illinois; Gary, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; Albany, Missouri; South Kearny, New Jersey; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Reading, Ohio; York County, Pennsylvania; Wall, Pennsylvania; Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas and Clearfield, Utah.

As of December 31, 2022, we also leased 87 operating, terminal and yard, and administrative facilities in various U.S. cities located in 23 states, in Windsor, Ontario; and in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Generally, our facilities are utilized by our operating segments for various administrative, transportation-related or value-added services. We also deliver value-added services under our contract logistics segment inside or linked to 36 facilities provided by customers. Certain of our leased facilities are leased from entities controlled by our majority shareholders. These facilities are leased on either a month-to-month basis or extended terms. For more information on our lease arrangements, see Part II, Item 8: Notes 10, 12 and 15 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

The Company is involved in certain other claims and pending litigation arising from the ordinary conduct of business. We also provide accruals for claims within our self-insured retention amounts. Based on the knowledge of the facts, and in certain cases, opinions of outside counsel, in the Company’s opinion the resolution of these claims and pending litigation will not have a material effect on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows. However, if we experience claims that are not covered by our insurance or that exceed our estimated claim reserve, it could increase the volatility of our earnings and have a materially adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

ITEM 4: MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

 

18


PART II

ITEM 5: MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market Information

Our common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol ULH.

As of March 6, 2023, there were approximately 40 record holders of our common stock, based upon data available to us from our transfer agent. We believe, however, that we have a significantly greater number of shareholders because a substantial number of our common shares are held at The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation on behalf of our shareholders.

Dividends

We have a cash dividend policy that anticipates a regular dividend of $0.42 per share of common stock, payable in quarterly increments of $0.105 per share of common stock. In addition, under our current dividend policy, after considering the regular quarterly dividends made during the year, the Board of Directors also evaluates the potential declaration of an annual special dividend payable in the first quarter of each year. The Board of Directors did not declare a special dividend in the first quarter of 2023.

Currently, we anticipate continuing to pay cash dividends on a quarterly basis, but we cannot guarantee that such dividends will be paid in the future. Future dividend policy and the payment of dividends, if any, will be determined by the Board of Directors in light of circumstances then existing, including our earnings, financial condition and other factors deemed relevant by the Board of Directors.

Limitations on our ability to pay dividends are described under the section captioned “Liquidity and Capital Resources – Revolving Credit, Promissory Notes and Term Loan Agreements” in Item 7 of this Form 10-K.

Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans

See Part III, Item 12, “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Shareholder Matters” of this Annual Report for a presentation of compensation plans under which equity securities of the Company are authorized for issuance.

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer

The following table provides information regarding the Company’s purchases of its common stock during the period from October 2, 2022 to December 31, 2022, the Company’s fourth fiscal quarter:

Fiscal Period

 

Total Number of Shares Purchased

 

 

Average Price Paid per Share

 

 

Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Program

 

 

Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Plans or Program

 

Oct. 2, 2022 - Oct. 29, 2022

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

513,251

 

Oct. 30, 2022 - Nov. 26, 2022

 

 

471

 

(1)

 

33.65

 

 

 

 

 

 

513,251

 

Nov. 27, 2022 - Dec. 31, 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

513,251

 

Total

 

 

471

 

 

$

33.65

 

 

 

 

 

 

513,251

 

(1) Consists of 471 shares of common stock acquired on November 4, 2022 by the Company from an employee for $15,850 upon exercising its right of first refusal pursuant to a restricted stock bonus award agreement.

On July 29, 2021, the Company announced that it had been authorized to purchase up to 1,000,000 shares of its common stock from time to time in the open market. As of December 31, 2022, 513,251 shares remain available under this authorization. No specific expiration date has been assigned to the authorization.

19


Performance Graph

The graph below matches Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc.'s cumulative 5-year total shareholder return on common stock with the cumulative total returns of the NASDAQ Composite index and the NASDAQ Transportation index. The graph tracks the performance of a $100 investment in our common stock and in each index (with the reinvestment of all dividends) from December 31, 2017 to December 31, 2022.

img265896921_0.jpg 

 

 

12/31/2017

 

 

12/31/2018

 

 

12/31/2019

 

 

12/31/2020

 

 

12/31/2021

 

 

12/31/2022

 

Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc.

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

77.30

 

 

 

83.45

 

 

 

91.68

 

 

 

85.60

 

 

 

154.05

 

NASDAQ Composite

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

97.16

 

 

 

132.81

 

 

 

192.47

 

 

 

235.15

 

 

 

158.65

 

NASDAQ Transportation

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

84.30

 

 

 

103.87

 

 

 

110.40

 

 

 

125.06

 

 

 

101.32

 

 

The stock price performance included in this graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

20


 

ITEM 6: RESERVED

ITEM 7: MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Overview

Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. is a holding company that owns subsidiaries engaged in providing a variety of customized transportation and logistics solutions throughout the United States, and in Mexico, Canada and Colombia. Our operating subsidiaries provide a comprehensive suite of transportation and logistics solutions that allow our customers to reduce costs and manage their global supply chains more efficiently. We market our services through a direct sales and marketing network focused on selling our portfolio of services to large customers in specific industry sectors, through company-managed facilities and full-service freight forwarding and customs house brokerage offices, and through a contract network of agents who solicit freight business directly from shippers.

We operate, manage or provide services at 114 logistics locations in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Colombia and through our network of agents and owner-operators located throughout the United States and in Ontario, Canada. Thirty-six of our value-added service operations are located inside customer plants or distribution operations; the other facilities are generally located close to our customers’ plants to optimize the efficiency of their component supply chains and production processes. Our facilities and services are often directly integrated into the production processes of our customers and represent a critical piece of their supply chains. To support our flexible business model, we generally coordinate the duration of real estate leases associated with our value-added services with the end date of the related customer contract associated with such facility, or use month-to-month leases, in order to mitigate exposure to unrecovered lease costs.

We offer our customers a wide range of transportation services by utilizing a diverse fleet of tractors and trailing equipment provided by us, our owner-operators and third-party transportation companies. Our owner-operators provided us with 2,207 tractors and 1,043 trailers. We own 2,091 tractors, 4,139 trailers, 3,372 chassis and 129 containers. Our agents and owner-operators are independent contractors who earn a fixed commission calculated as a percentage of the revenue or gross profit they generate for us and who bring an entrepreneurial spirit to our business. Our transportation services are provided through a network of both union and non-union employee drivers, owner-operators, contract drivers, and third-party transportation companies.

As of December 31, 2022, we employed 8,646 people in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Colombia, including 3,588 employees subject to collective bargaining agreements. We also engaged contract staffing vendors to supply an average of 1,326 additional personnel on a full-time-equivalent basis.

Our use of agents, owner-operators, third-party providers and contract staffing vendors allows us to maintain both a highly flexible cost structure and a scalable business operation, while reducing investment requirements. These benefits are passed on to our customers in the form of cost savings and increased operating efficiency, while enhancing our cash generation and the returns on our invested capital and assets.

We believe that our flexible business model also offers us substantial opportunities to grow through a mixture of organic growth and acquisitions. We intend to continue our organic growth by recruiting new agents and owner-operators, expanding into new industry verticals and targeting further penetration of our key customers. We believe our integrated suite of transportation and logistics services, our network of facilities in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Colombia, our long-term customer relationships and our reputation for operational excellence will allow us to capitalize on these growth opportunities. We also expect to continue to make strategic acquisitions of companies that complement our business model, as well as companies that derive a portion of their revenues from asset based operations.

We report our financial results in four distinct reportable segments, contract logistics, intermodal, trucking, and company-managed brokerage. Operations aggregated in our contract logistics segment deliver value-added and/or dedicated transportation services to support in-bound logistics to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and major retailers on a contractual basis, generally pursuant to terms of one year or longer. Our intermodal segment is associated with local and regional drayage moves predominately coordinated by company-managed terminals using a mix of owner-operators, company equipment and third-party capacity providers (broker carriers). Operations aggregated in our trucking segment are associated with individual freight shipments coordinated by our agents and company-managed terminals using a mix of owner-operators, company equipment and broker carriers. Our company-managed brokerage segment provides for the pick-up and delivery of individual freight shipments using broker carriers, coordinated by our company-managed operations.

21


Impact of COVID-19 and Current Economic Conditions

The ultimate magnitude of COVID-19, including the extent of its impact on the Company’s financial and operating results, which could be material, will be determined by the length of time the pandemic continues, its severity, government regulations imposed in response to the pandemic, and to its general effect on the economy and transportation demand. Additionally, a prolonged period of inflationary pressures could cause interest rates, equipment, maintenance, labor and other operating costs to continue to increase. If the Company is unable to offset rising costs through corresponding customer rate increases, such increases could adversely affect our results of operations.

While operating cash flows may be negatively impacted by the pandemic and inflation-driven cost increases, the Company believes we will be able to finance our near term needs for working capital over the next twelve months, as well as any planned capital expenditures during such period, with cash balances, cash flows from operations, and loans and extensions of credit under our credit facilities and on margin against our marketable securities. Should the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and/or inflation-driven cost increases last longer than anticipated, and/or our cash flow from operations decline more than expected, we may need to obtain additional financing. The Company’s ability to fund future operating expenses and capital expenditures, as well as its ability to meet future debt service obligations or refinance indebtedness will depend on future operating performance, which will be affected by general economic, financial, and other factors beyond our control.

Factors Affecting Our Revenues

Operating Revenues. We generate substantially all of our revenues through fees charged to customers for the transportation of freight and for the customized logistics services we provide. We also derive revenue from fuel surcharges, where separately identifiable, loading and unloading activities, equipment detention, container management and storage and other related services. Operations in our intermodal, trucking and company-managed brokerage segments are associated with individual freight shipments coordinated by our agents and company-managed terminals. In contrast, our contract logistics segment delivers value-added services and/or transportation services to specific customers on a dedicated basis, generally pursuant to contract terms of one year or longer. Our segments are further distinguished by the amount of forward visibility we have into pricing and volumes, and also by the extent to which we dedicate resources and company-owned equipment. Fees charged to customers by our full service international freight forwarding and customs house brokerage are based on the specific means of forwarding or delivering freight on a shipment-by-shipment basis.

Our truckload, intermodal and brokerage revenues are primarily influenced by fluctuations in freight volumes and shipping rates. The main factors that affect these are competition, available truck capacity, and economic market conditions. Our value-added and dedicated transportation business is substantially driven by the level of demand for outsourced logistics services. Major factors that affect our revenues include changes in manufacturing supply chain requirements, production levels in specific industries, pricing trends due to levels of competition and resource costs in logistics and transportation, and economic market conditions.

We recognize revenue as control of the promised goods or services is transferred to our customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration the Company expects to receive in exchange for its services. For our transportation services businesses, which include truckload, brokerage, intermodal and dedicated services, revenue is recognized over time as the performance obligations on the in-transit services are completed. For the Company’s value-added service businesses, we have elected to use the “right to invoice” practical expedient, reflecting that a customer obtains the benefit associated with value-added services as they are provided. For additional information on revenue recognition, see Item 8, Note 3 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

22


Factors Affecting Our Expenses

Purchased transportation and equipment rent. Purchased transportation and equipment rent represents the amounts we pay to our owner-operators or other third party equipment providers to haul freight and, to the extent required to deliver certain logistics services, the cost of equipment leased under short-term contracts from third parties. The amount of the purchased transportation we pay to our owner-operators is primarily based on a contractually agreed-upon rates for each load hauled, net of any rental income we receive by leasing our trailers to owner-operators. The expense also includes the amount of fuel surcharges, where separately identifiable, that we receive from our customers and pass through to our owner-operators. Our strategy is to maintain a highly flexible business model that employs a cost structure that is mostly variable in nature. As a result, purchased transportation and equipment rent is the largest component of our costs and increases or decreases proportionately with changes in the amount of revenue generated by our owner-operators and other third party providers and with the production volumes of our customers. We recognize purchased transportation and equipment rent as the services are provided.

Direct personnel and related benefits. Direct personnel and related benefits include the salaries, wages and fringe benefits of our employees, as well as costs related to contract labor utilized in selling and operating activities. These costs are a significant component of our cost structure and increase or decrease proportionately with the expansion, addition or closing of operating facilities. As of December 31, 2022, approximately 39% of our employees in the United States, Canada and Colombia, and 80% of our employees in Mexico were subject to collective bargaining agreements. Any changes in union agreements will affect our personnel and related benefits cost. The operations in the United States, Mexico and Canada that are subject to collective bargaining agreements have separate, individualized agreements with several different unions that represent employees in these operations. While there are some facilities with multiple unions, each collective bargaining agreement with each union covers a single facility for that union. Such agreements have expiration dates that are generally independent of other collective bargaining agreements and include economics and operating terms tailored to the specific operational requirements of a customer. Our operation in Mexico provides competitive compensation within the Mexican statutory framework for managerial and supervisory personnel.

Operating supplies and expenses. These expenses include items such as fuel, tires and parts repair items primarily related to the maintenance of company owned and leased tractors, trailers and lift equipment, as well as licenses, dock supplies, communication, utilities, operating taxes and other general operating expenses. Because we maintain a flexible business model, our operating expenses generally relate to equipment utilization, fluctuations in customer demand and the related impact on our operating capacity. Our transportation services provided by company owned equipment depend on the availability and pricing of diesel fuel. Although we often include fuel surcharges in our billing to customers to offset increases in fuel costs, other operating costs have been, and may continue to be, impacted by fluctuating fuel prices. We recognize these expenses as they are incurred and the related income as it is earned.

Commission expense. Commission expense represents the amount we pay our agents for generating shipments on our behalf. The commissions we pay to our agents are generally established through informal oral agreements and are based on a percentage of revenue or gross profit generated by each load hauled. Traditionally, commission expense increases or decreases in proportion to the revenues generated through our agents. We recognize commission expense at the time we recognize the associated revenue.

Occupancy expense. Occupancy expense includes all costs related to the lease and tenancy of terminals and operating facilities, except utilities, unless such costs are otherwise covered by our customers. Although occupancy expense is generally related to fluctuations in overall customer demand, our contracting and pricing strategies help mitigate the cost impact of changing production volumes. To minimize potential exposure to inactive or underutilized facilities that are dedicated to a single customer, we strive where possible to enter into lease agreements that are coterminous with individual customer contracts, and we seek contract pricing terms that recover fixed occupancy costs, regardless of production volume. Occupancy expense may also include certain lease termination and related occupancy costs that are accelerated for accounting purposes into the fiscal year in which such a decision was implemented.

General and administrative expense. General and administrative expense includes the salaries, wages and benefits of administrative personnel, related support costs, taxes (other than income and property taxes), adjustments due to foreign currency transactions, bad debt expense, and other general expenses, including gains or losses on the sale or disposal of assets. These expenses are generally not directly related to levels of operating activity and may contain other expenses related to general business operations. We recognize general and administrative expense when it is incurred.

23


Insurance and claims. Insurance and claims expense represents our insurance premiums and the accruals we make for claims within our self-insured retention amounts. Our insurance premiums are generally calculated based on a mixture of a percentage of line-haul revenue and the size of our fleet. Our accruals have primarily related to cargo and property damage claims. We may also make accruals for personal injuries and property damage to third parties, physical damage to our equipment, general liability and workers' compensation claims if we experience a claim in excess of our insurance coverage. To reduce our exposure to non-trucking use liability claims (claims incurred while the vehicle is being operated without a trailer attached or is being operated with an attached trailer which does not contain or carry any cargo), we require our owner-operators to maintain non-trucking use liability coverage, which the industry refers to as deadhead bobtail coverage, of $2.0 million per occurrence. Our exposure to liability associated with accidents incurred by other third party providers who haul freight on our behalf is reduced by various factors including the extent to which they maintain their own insurance coverage. Our insurance expense varies primarily based upon the frequency and severity of our accident experience, insurance rates, our coverage limits and our self-insured retention amounts.

Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense relates primarily to the depreciation of owned tractors, trailers, computer and operating equipment, and buildings as well as the amortization of the intangible assets recorded for our acquired customer contracts and customer and agent relationships. We estimate the salvage value and useful lives of depreciable assets based on current market conditions and experience with past dispositions.

Operating Revenues

We broadly group our services into the following categories: truckload services, brokerage services, intermodal services, dedicated services and value-added services. Our truckload, brokerage and intermodal services associated with individual freight shipments coordinated by our agents and company-managed terminals, while our dedicated and value-added services to specific customers on a contractual basis, generally pursuant to contract terms of one year or longer. The following table sets forth operating revenues resulting from each of these service categories for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, presented as a percentage of total operating revenues:

 

 

 

Years ended December 31,

 

 

 

2022

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Operating revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truckload services

 

 

11.4

%

 

 

14.2

%

 

 

14.5

%

Brokerage services

 

 

18.3

 

 

 

22.9

 

 

 

24.2

 

Intermodal services

 

 

29.4

 

 

 

27.0

 

 

 

28.3

 

Dedicated services

 

 

16.1

 

 

 

11.7

 

 

 

9.2

 

Value-added services

 

 

24.8

 

 

 

24.2

 

 

 

23.8

 

Total operating revenues

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth items derived from our Consolidated Statements of Income for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, presented as a percentage of operating revenues:

 

 

 

Years ended December 31,

 

 

 

2022

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Operating revenues

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchased transportation and equipment rent

 

 

42.0

 

 

 

47.1

 

 

 

48.5

 

Direct personnel and related benefits

 

 

25.9

 

 

 

26.1

 

 

 

24.3

 

Operating supplies and expenses

 

 

8.8

 

 

 

8.5

 

 

 

8.0

 

Commission expense

 

 

2.0

 

 

 

1.9

 

 

 

1.9

 

Occupancy expense

 

 

2.0

 

 

 

2.1

 

 

 

2.5

 

General and administrative

 

 

2.3

 

 

 

2.3

 

 

 

2.4

 

Insurance and claims

 

 

1.1

 

 

 

2.2

 

 

 

1.4

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

3.8

 

 

 

3.9

 

 

 

5.3

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

88.1

 

 

 

94.1

 

 

 

94.2

 

Income from operations

 

 

11.9

 

 

 

5.9

 

 

 

5.8

 

Interest and other non-operating income (expense), net

 

 

(0.7

)

 

 

(0.3

)

 

 

(1.2

)

Income before for income taxes

 

 

11.2

 

 

 

5.6

 

 

 

4.6

 

Income tax (benefit) expense

 

 

2.8

 

 

 

1.4

 

 

 

1.1

 

Net income

 

 

8.4

%

 

 

4.2

%

 

 

3.5

%

 

24


2022 Compared to 2021

Operating revenues. Operating revenues for 2022 increased $264.5 million, or 15.1%, to $2,015.5 million from $1,751.0 million for 2021. Included in operating revenues are separately-identified fuel surcharges of $168.6 million for 2022 compared to $96.9 million for 2021. Consolidated income from operations increased $137.5 million, or 133.5%, to $240.4 million for 2022 compared to $103.0 million during the same period last year. Results for 2022 include $9.7 million in additional depreciation expense due to revised useful lives and salvage values of certain equipment and a $3.0 million credit to insurance and claims expense resulting from the favorable settlement of certain auto liability claims during the period. Results for 2021 include $25.0 million in pre-tax charges related to previously disclosed items.

In the contract logistics segment, which includes value-added and dedicated services, operating revenues increased $196.7 million, or 31.4%, to $823.9 million in 2022 compared to $627.2 million in the previous year. Income from operations in the contract logistics segment increased $73.6 million, or 164.3%, to $118.4 million for 2022 compared to $44.8 million in the same period last year. In 2022, Universal managed 63 value-added programs, unchanged from the prior year period. During 2022, dedicated transportation load count increased 4.2% to 619,673 from 594,798 in 2021. Also included in dedicated transportation revenue for 2022 were $41.7 million in separately identified fuel surcharges, compared to $21.2 million in the same period last year. Contract logistics segment results for 2021 included $18.9 million of losses incurred in connection with a previously announced program launch. As a percentage of revenue, operating margin in the contract logistics segment for 2022 was 14.4% compared to 7.1% during the same period last year.

In the intermodal segment, operating revenues increased $118.9 million, or 25.1%, to $591.9 million in 2022 compared to $473.1 million in the previous year. Intermodal revenues for 2022 included $92.3 million in separately identified fuel surcharges, compared to $51.2 million in the same period last year. During 2022, Universal moved 552,398 intermodal loads compared to 665,088 in 2021, a decrease of 16.9%, while its average operating revenue per load, excluding fuel surcharges increased 34.5% to $702 from $522. Intermodal segment revenues also include accessorial charges such as detention, demurrage and storage which totaled $123.6 million in 2022, compared to $84.9 million one year earlier. Income from operations in the intermodal segment increased $53.3 million to $83.6 million for the 2022 compared to $30.4 million in 2021. Intermodal segment results included litigation related charges totaling $5.8 million in 2021. As a percentage of revenue, operating margin in the intermodal segment for 2022 was 14.1%, compared to 6.4% during the same period last year.

In the trucking segment, operating revenues decreased $10.7 million to $392.6 million in 2022 compared to $403.3 million in the prior year period. Included in trucking segment revenues for 2022 were $34.7 million in separately identified fuel surcharges compared to $24.4 million during 2021. Income from operations in the trucking segment increased $8.0 million to $27.6 million for 2022 compared to $19.6 million in the same period last year. Trucking segment results also included $6.0 million in previously disclosed pre-tax charges in 2021. During 2022, Universal’s average operating revenue per load, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 33.3% to $1,807 from $1,356 in the prior year period; however, this increase was offset by a 30.7% decrease in load volumes as we rationalized underperforming operations in this segment. During 2022, Universal moved 199,712 loads compared to 288,378 during the same period last year. As a percentage of revenue, operating margin in the trucking segment for 2022 was 7.0%, compared to 4.9% during the same period last year.

In the company-managed brokerage segment, operating revenues decreased $42.3 million, or 17.4%, to $200.5 million in 2022 compared to $242.8 million in 2021. During 2022, the average operating revenue per load increased 2.6% to $1,893 from $1,845 in 2021; however, load volumes fell 25.8% to 90,432 from 121,944. As a percentage of revenue, operating margin for the company-managed brokerage segment was 5.0% for 2022 compared to 2.9% last year.

Purchased transportation and equipment rent. Purchased transportation and equipment rental costs for 2022 increased $22.6 million, or 2.7%, to $847.4 million from $824.8 million last year. Purchased transportation and equipment rent generally increases or decreases in proportion to the revenues generated through owner-operators and other third party providers. The increases or decreases are generally correlated with changes in demand for transportation-related services, which includes truckload, brokerage, intermodal and to a lesser extent, dedicated services, which uses a higher mix of company-drivers compared to owner-operators. The absolute increase in purchased transportation and equipment rental costs was primarily the result of an overall increase in transportation-related services. In 2022, transportation-related service revenues increased 14.2% compared to 2021. As a percentage of operating revenues, purchased transportation and equipment rent expense decreased to 42.0% compared to 47.1% during the same period last year due to a decrease in the mix of brokerage services revenue, where the cost of transportation is typically higher than our other transportation businesses. As a percentage of total revenues, brokerage services revenue decreased to 18.3% for 2022 compared to 22.9% in the same period last year.

25


Direct personnel and related benefits. Direct personnel and related benefits for 2022 increased $66.0 million, or 14.5%, to $522.7 million compared to $456.6 million during the same period last year. Trends in these expenses are generally correlated with changes in operating facilities and headcount requirements and, therefore, increase and decrease with the level of demand for our staffing needs in our contract logistics segment, which includes value-added services and dedicated transportation. The increase was due to the launch of new business wins and robust volumes experienced at our contract logistics operations during 2022. As a percentage of operating revenues, personnel and related benefits decreased to 25.9%, compared to 26.1% for 2021. The percentage is derived on an aggregate basis from both existing and new programs, and from customer operations at various stages in their lifecycles. Individual operations may be impacted by additional production shifts or by overtime at selected operations. While generalizations about the impact of personnel and related benefits costs as a percentage of total revenue are difficult, we manage compensation and staffing levels, including the use of contract labor, to maintain target economics based on near-term projections of demand for our services.

Operating supplies and expenses. Operating supplies and expenses increased by $28.0 million, or 18.8%, to $177.4 million for 2022 compared to $149.4 million for 2021. These expenses include items such as fuel, maintenance, cost of materials, communications, utilities and other operating expenses, and generally relate to fluctuations in customer demand. The main elements driving the change were increases of $25.4 million in fuel expense on company tractors, $6.8 million in vehicle and other maintenance, and $3.5 million in bad debt expense. These increases were partially offset by decreases of $4.8 million in professional fees including legal charges and $1.9 million in travel and entertainment expense.

Commission expense. Commission expense for 2022 increased by $6.4 million, or 18.9%, to $40.3 million from $33.9 million for 2021. Commission expense increased due to increased revenue from both our agency based truckload business and our intermodal agents. As a percentage of operating revenues, commission expense increased to 2.0% for 2022, compared to 1.9% in the same period last year.

Occupancy expense. Occupancy expenses increased by $4.0 million, or 10.7%, to $41.3 million for 2022. This compares to $37.3 million for 2021. The increase was attributable to an increase in building rents and property taxes.

General and administrative. General and administrative expense for 2022 increased by $6.9 million to $46.5 million from $39.6 million in 2021. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase in salaries, wages, and benefits. As a percentage of operating revenues, general and administrative expense was 2.3% for 2022 unchanged from the previous year.

Insurance and claims. Insurance and claims expense for 2022 decreased by $16.1 million to $22.7 million from $38.8 million in 2021. As a percentage of operating revenues, insurance and claims decreased to 1.1% for 2022 compared to 2.2% for 2021. The decrease was attributable to decreases in auto liability insurance premiums and claims expense and in cargo and service failure claims. Our 2022 insurance and claims also included a $3.0 million credit resulting from the favorable settlement of certain auto liability claims during the period.

Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense for 2022 increased by $9.1 million, or 13.5%, to $76.7 million from $67.5 million for 2021. Depreciation expense increased $8.6 million and amortization expense increased $0.5 million. During 2022, Universal revised the estimated useful life and salvage value of certain equipment, and these adjustments resulted in additional depreciation expense of $9.7 million during the period.

Interest expense, net. Net interest expense was $16.2 million for 2022 compared to $11.6 million for 2021. The increase in net interest expense reflects an increase in interest rates on our outstanding borrowings. As of December 31, 2022, our outstanding borrowings totaled $382.9 million compared to $428.4 million at the same time last year.

Other non-operating income (expense). Other non-operating income was $1.1 million for 2022 compared to $7.2 million in the prior year. Other non-operating income for 2022 includes a $1.0 million pre-tax holding gain on marketable securities due to changes in fair value recognized in income. Other non-operating income for 2021 includes a $5.7 million pre-tax gain from a favorable legal settlement and a $1.5 million pre-tax holding gain on marketable securities due to changes in fair value recognized in income.

Income tax expense. Income tax expense for 2022 was $56.8 million, compared to $24.8 million for 2021, based on an effective tax rate of 25.2% in both periods. The increase in income taxes in 2022 is the result of an increase in taxable income for 2022 compared 2021.

26


2021 Compared to 2020

Operating revenues. Operating revenues for 2021 increased $359.9 million, or 25.9%, to $1,751.0 million from $1,391.1 million in 2020. Included in operating revenues are separately-identified fuel surcharges of $96.9 million for 2021 compared to $67.9 million in 2020. Consolidated income from operations increased $22.6 million, or 28.1%, to $103.0 million for 2021 compared to $80.4 million during the same period last year. Overall results for 2020 were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in a substantial portion of our customers being shuttered. Results for 2021 include a favorable legal settlement which resulted in a $5.7 million pre-tax gain recorded in other non-operating income, as well as $6.0 million in charges for auto liability claims expected to settle in excess of policy limits, $5.8 million in charges for on-going legal matters, and $18.9 million of losses incurred in connection with a recent contract logistics program launch.

In the contract logistics segment, which includes value-added and dedicated services, operating revenues increased $167.6 million, or 36.5%, to $627.2 million in 2021 compared to $459.7 million in the previous year. Income from operations in the contract logistics segment increased $8.8 million, or 24.6%, to $44.8 million for 2021 compared to $36.0 million in the same period last year. In 2022, Universal managed 63 value-added programs compared to 58 in the prior year period. During 2021, dedicated transportation load count increased 20.5% to 594,748 from 493,733 in 2020. Results for 2021 in the contract logistics segment include approximately $18.9 million of losses incurred in connection with a recent program launch. Results in the contract logistics segment for 2020 were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a substantial portion of our customers to temporarily suspend operations. As a percentage of revenue, operating margin for the contract logistics segment for 2021 was 7.1% compared to 7.8% during the same period last year. The launch losses recorded in 2021 adversely impacted this segment’s operating margin by 310 basis points.

In the intermodal segment, operating revenues increased $79.4 million, or 20.2%, to $473.1 million in 2021 compared to $393.6 million in the previous year. Intermodal revenues for 2021 included $51.2 million in separately identified fuel surcharges, compared to $40.1 million in the same period last year. During 2021, Universal moved 665,088 intermodal loads compared to 719,947 in 2020, a decrease of 7.6%, while its average operating revenue per load, excluding fuel surcharges increased 13.2% to $522 from $461. In 2021, other accessorial charges such as detention, demurrage and storage increased $45.0 million to $84.9 million compared to $39.9 million one year earlier. Income from operations in the intermodal segment was unchanged at $30.4 million in both 2021 and 2020. Included in intermodal segment results were litigation related charges totaling $5.8 million in 2021. As a percentage of revenue, operating margin in the intermodal segment was 6.4% in 2021 compared to 7.7% in the prior year period. The litigation related charges recorded in 2021 adversely impacted this segment’s operating margin by 120 basis points.

In the trucking segment, which includes agent-based and company-managed trucking operations, operating revenues increased $84.9 million to $403.3 million in 2021 compared to $318.4 million in the prior year. Included in trucking segment revenues for 2021 were $24.4 million in separately identified fuel surcharges compared to $16.1 million during 2020. Income from operations in the trucking segment increased $3.2 million to $19.6 million for 2021 compared to $16.4 million in the same period last year. During 2021, load volumes increased 12.0% to 288,378 loads compared to 257,562 in 2020. Average operating revenue per load, excluding fuel surcharges, also increased 11.3% to $1,356 from $1,218 in the prior year period. 2021 trucking segment results also included a $6.0 million charge for auto liability claims expected to settle in excess of policy limits. As a percentage of revenue, operating margin in the trucking segment was 4.9% in 2021 compared to 5.2% in the same period last year. The claim charges recorded in 2021 adversely impacted the trucking segment’s operating margin by 140 basis points.

In the company-managed brokerage segment, operating revenues increased $24.7 million, or 11.3%, to $242.8 million in 2021 compared to $218.1 million in 2020. Company-managed brokerage load volumes decreased 16.3% to 121,944 in 2021 from 145,655 during the same period last year. However, average operating revenue per load, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 31.5% to $1,845 in 2021 from $1,403 in 2020. As a percentage of revenue, operating margin for the company-managed brokerage segment was 2.9% for 2021 compared to a negative 1.2% in the same period last year.

Purchased transportation and equipment rent. Purchased transportation and equipment rental costs for 2021 increased $150.6 million, or 22.3%, to $824.8 million from $674.1 million during the same period last year. Purchased transportation and equipment rent generally increases or decreases in proportion to the revenues generated through owner-operators and other third party providers and is generally correlated with changes in demand for transportation-related services, which includes truckload, brokerage, intermodal and to a lesser extent, dedicated services, which uses a higher mix of company-drivers compared to owner-operators. The absolute increase in purchased transportation and equipment rental costs was primarily the result of an increase in transportation-related service revenues. In 2021, transportation-related service revenues increased 25.4% over the same period last year. As a percentage of operating revenues, purchased transportation and equipment rent expense decreased to 47.1% compared to 48.5% during the same period last year. The decrease was due to a decrease in the mix of brokerage services revenue, where the cost of transportation is typically higher than our other transportation businesses. As a percentage of total revenues, brokerage services revenue decreased to 22.9% for 2021 compared to 24.2% in the same period last year.

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Direct personnel and related benefits. Direct personnel and related benefits for 2021 increased by $119.0 million, or 35.3%, to $456.6 million compared to $337.6 million during the same period last year. Trends in these expenses are generally correlated with changes in operating facilities and headcount requirements and, therefore, increase and decrease with the level of demand for our value-added services and staffing needs of our operations. The increase was due to the launch of new business wins and robust volumes in our contract logistics segment in 2021, as well as the impact of temporary layoffs and furloughs in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a percentage of operating revenues, personnel and related benefits increased to 26.1% for 2021, compared to 24.3% in 2020. The percentage is derived on an aggregate basis from both existing and new programs, and from customer operations at various stages in their lifecycles. Individual operations may be impacted by additional production shifts or by overtime at selected operations. While generalizations about the impact of personnel and related benefits costs as a percentage of total revenue are difficult, we manage compensation and staffing levels, including the use of contract labor, to maintain target economics based on near-term projections of demand for our services.

Operating supplies and expenses. Operating supplies and expenses increased by $38.3 million, or 34.5%, to $149.4 million for 2021 compared to $111.1 million for 2020. These expenses include items such as fuel, maintenance, cost of materials, communications, utilities and other operating expenses, and generally relate to fluctuations in customer demand. The main elements of the increase included increases of $16.5 million in fuel expense, $5.3 million in legal charges and professional fees, $8.2 million in vehicle and other maintenance, $4.0 million in travel and entertainment, and $3.3 million in other operating expenses.

Commission expense. Commission expense for 2021 increased by $7.2 million, or 27.1%, to $33.9 million from $26.7 million in 2020. Commission expense increased due to increased revenue in the agency based truckload business. As a percentage of operating revenues, commission expense was unchanged at 1.9% for both 2021 and 2020.

Occupancy expense. Occupancy expenses increased by $2.7 million, or 7.8%, to $37.3 million for 2021. This compares to $34.6 million in 2020. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase in building rents and property taxes.

General and administrative. General and administrative expense for 2021 increased by $6.4 million to $39.6 million from $33.3 million in 2020. The increase was attributable to a $4.1 million increase in salaries, wages, and benefits and a $2.5 million increase in professional fees. As a percentage of operating revenues, general and administrative expense was 2.3% in 2021 compared to 2.4% for 2020.

Insurance and claims. Insurance and claims expense for 2021 increased by $19.6 million to $38.8 million from $19.3 million in 2020. The increase was attributable to increases of $11.1 million in cargo and service failure claims and $8.5 million in auto liability premiums and claims. Included in insurance and claims expense were $6.0 million in charges for auto liability claims expected to settle in excess of policy limits. As a percentage of operating revenues, insurance and claims increased to 2.2% for 2021 compared to 1.4% in 2020.

Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense for 2021 decreased by $6.6 million, or 8.9%, to $67.5 million from $74.1 million for 2020. Depreciation expense decreased $5.3 million and amortization expense decreased $1.3 million. The decrease in depreciation expense is attributable to the limited availability of transportation equipment for purchase in 2021. If equipment manufacturers implement solutions to overcome production issues, depreciation expense is expected to increase as capital expenditures return to normalized levels.

Interest expense, net. Net interest expense was $11.6 million for 2021 compared to $14.6 million for 2020. The decrease in net interest expense reflects a decrease in outstanding borrowings and a decrease in interest rates on our debt. As of December 31, 2021, our outstanding borrowings totaled $428.4 million compared to $461.7 million at the same time last year.

Other non-operating income (expense). Other non-operating income was $7.2 million for 2021 compared to $1.9 million of other non-operating expense for 2020. Other non-operating income for 2021 includes a $5.7 million pre-tax gain from a favorable legal settlement. Other non-operating income in 2021 also includes a $1.5 million pre-tax holding gain on marketable securities due to changes in fair value recognized in income compared to a pre-tax holding loss of $1.6 million in 2020.

Income tax expense. Income tax expense for 2021 was $24.8 million, compared to $15.8 million for 2020, based on an effective tax rate of 25.2% and 24.7% respectively. The increase in income taxes in 2021 is the result of an increase in taxable income and our effective tax rate for 2021 compared to 2020.

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Liquidity and Capital Resources

Our primary sources of liquidity are funds generated by operations, loans and extensions of credit under our credit facilities, on margin against our marketable securities and from installment notes, and proceeds from the sales of marketable securities. We use secured, asset lending to fund a substantial portion of purchases of tractors, trailers and material handling equipment.

We employ a flexible operating strategy which we believe lowers our capital expenditure requirements. In general, our facilities used in our value-added services are leased on terms that are either substantially matched to our customer’s contracts, are month-to-month or are provided to us by our customers. We also utilize owner-operators and third-party carriers to provide a significant portion of our transportation and specialized services. A significant portion of the tractors and trailers used in our business are provided by our owner-operators. In addition, our use of agents reduces our overall need for large terminals. As a result, our capital expenditure requirements are limited in comparison to most large transportation and logistics service providers, which maintain significant properties and sizable fleets of owned tractors and trailers.

In 2022, our capital expenditures totaled $117.1 million. These expenditures primarily consisted of transportation equipment and investments in support of our value-added service operations. Our flexible business model depends largely on the customized solutions we implement for specific customers. As a result, our capital expenditures will also depend on specific new contracts and the overall age and condition of our owned transportation equipment. Due to shortages, production backlogs, and limited availability of transportation equipment, our expenditures are projected to be somewhat higher than the customary range of 4% to 5% of our operating revenues. In 2023, exclusive of acquisitions of businesses or strategic real estate, we expect our capital expenditures to be in the range of 7% to 8% of operating revenues. We expect to make these capital expenditures for the acquisition of transportation equipment, to support our new and existing value-added service operations, and for improvements to our existing terminal yard and container facilities. As equipment manufacturers identify and implement solutions enabling them to overcome supply-side constraints, we would expect to return to a normalized level of capital expenditures in future periods.

We have a cash dividend policy that anticipates a regular dividend of $0.42 per share of common stock, payable in quarterly increments of $0.105 per share of common stock. After considering the regular quarterly dividends made during the year, the Board of Directors also evaluates the potential declaration of an annual special dividend payable in the first quarter of each year. The Board of Directors did not declare a special dividend in the first quarter of 2023. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we paid a total of $0.42 per common share, or $11.1 million. Future dividend policy and the payment of dividends, if any, will be determined by the Board of Directors in light of circumstances then existing, including our earnings, financial condition and other factors deemed relevant by the Board of Directors.

On May 13, 2022, the Company commenced a “Dutch auction” tender offer to repurchase up to 100,000 shares of the Company’s outstanding common stock at a price of not greater than $28.00 nor less than $25.00 per share. Following expiration of the tender offer on June 15, 2022, we accepted 164,189 shares, including 64,189 oversubscribed shares tendered, of our common stock for purchase at $28.00 per share, for a total purchase price of approximately $4.6 million, excluding fees and expenses related to the offer. We paid for the accepted shares with available cash and funds borrowed under our existing line of credit.

We expect that our cash flow from operations, working capital and available borrowings will be sufficient to meet our capital commitments, to fund our operational needs for at least the next twelve months, and to fund mandatory debt repayments. Based on the availability of borrowings under our credit facilities, against our marketable security portfolio and other financing sources, and assuming the continuation of our current level of profitability, we do not expect that we will experience any liquidity constraints in the foreseeable future.

We continue to evaluate business development opportunities, including potential acquisitions that fit our strategic plans. There can be no assurance that we will identify any opportunities that fit our strategic plans or will be able to execute any such opportunities on terms acceptable to us. Depending on prospective consideration to be paid for an acquisition, any such opportunities would be financed first from available cash and cash equivalents and availability of borrowings under our credit facilities.

Revolving Credit, Promissory Notes and Term Loan Agreements

Our revolving credit facility (the “Revolving Credit Facility”) provides for a $400 million revolver at a variable rate of interest based on index-adjusted SOFR or a base rate and matures on September 30, 2027. The Revolving Credit Facility, which is secured by cash, deposits, accounts receivable, and selected other assets of the applicable borrowers, includes customary affirmative and negative covenants and events of default, as well as financial covenants requiring minimum fixed charge coverage and leverage ratios, and customary mandatory prepayments provisions. Our Revolving Credit Facility includes an accordion feature which allows us to increase availability by up to $200 million upon our request. At December 31, 2022, we were in compliance with all its covenants, and $400.0 million was available for borrowing.

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Our UACL Credit and Security Agreement (the “UACL Credit Agreement”) provides for maximum borrowings of $90 million in the form of an $80 million term loan and a $10 million revolver at a variable rate of interest based on index-adjusted SOFR or a base rate and matures on September 30, 2027. The UACL Credit Agreement, which is secured by cash, deposits, accounts receivable, and selected other assets of the applicable borrowers, includes customary affirmative and negative covenants and events of default, as well as financial covenants requiring minimum fixed charge coverage and leverage ratios, and customary mandatory prepayments provisions. Our UACL Credit Agreement includes an accordion feature which allows us to increase availability by up to $30 million upon our request. At December 31, 2022, we were in compliance with all its covenants, and $10.0 million was available for borrowing.

A wholly owned subsidiary issued a series of promissory notes in order to finance transportation equipment (the “Equipment Financing”). The notes issued in connection with the Equipment Financing, which are secured by liens on specific titled vehicles, are generally payable in 60 monthly installments and bear interest at fixed rates ranging from 2.25% to 7.27%.

Certain wholly owned subsidiaries entered into a $165.4 million term loan facility to repay outstanding balances under a then-existing term loan and certain other real estate notes (the “Real Estate Facility”). The Real Estate Facility matures on April 29, 2032 and is secured by first-priority mortgages on specific parcels of real estate owned by the Company, including all land and real property improvements, and first-priority assignments of rents and related leases of the loan parties. The Real Estate Facility includes customary affirmative and negative covenants, and principal and interest is payable on the facility on a monthly basis, based on an annual amortization of 10%. The facility bears interest at Term SOFR, plus an applicable margin equal to 2.12%. At December 31, 2022, we were in compliance with all covenants under the facility.

We also maintain a short-term line of credit secured by our portfolio of marketable securities. It bears interest at Term SOFR plus 1.10%. The amount available under the margin facility is based on a percentage of the market value of the underlying securities. We did not have any amounts advanced against the line as of December 31, 2022, and the maximum available borrowings were $5.1 million.

Discussion of Cash Flows

At December 31, 2022, we had cash and cash equivalents of $47.2 million compared to $13.9 million at December 31, 2021. Operating activities provided $213.4 million in net cash, and we used $103.7 million in investing activities and $78.2 million in financing activities.

 

The $213.4 million in net cash provided by operations was primarily attributed to $168.6 million of net income, which reflects non-cash depreciation and amortization, noncash lease expense, amortization and write-off of debt issuance costs, gains on marketable equity securities and equipment sales, stock-based compensation, provisions for doubtful accounts and a change in deferred income taxes totaling $118.9 million, net. Net cash provided by operating activities also reflects an aggregate increase in net working capital totaling $74.1 million. The primary drivers behind the increase in working capital were principal reductions in operating lease liabilities during the period, an increase in trade accounts receivable, and decreases in trade accounts payable, accruals for insurance and claims, and in accrued expenses and other current liabilities. These were partially offset by decreases in other receivables and in prepaid expenses and other assets, and increases in income taxes payable and other long-term liabilities. Affiliate transactions increased net cash provided by operating activities by $2.6 million. The increase in net cash resulted from an increase in accounts payable to affiliates of $2.8 million, partially offset by an increase in accounts receivable from affiliates of $0.2 million.

 

The $103.7 million in net cash used in investing activities consisted of $117.1 million in capital expenditures and $0.9 million in marketable securities purchases. These uses were partially offset by $14.3 million in proceeds from the sale of equipment.

 

We used $78.2 million in financing activities. During the year we paid cash dividends of $13.9 million, $14.3 million for purchases of common stock and $4.4 million in capitalized financing costs. We had outstanding borrowings totaling $382.9 million at December 31, 2022 compared to $428.4 million at December 31, 2021. During the year also we made net repayments on our revolving lines of credit totaling $163.3 million and term loan, and equipment and real estate note payments totaling $221.9 million. We also borrowed $339.6 million during the period to repay outstanding balances under a then-existing term loan and certain other real estate notes, and for new equipment.

Contractual Obligations

As of December 31, 2022, we had contractual obligations related to our long-term debt of $316.8 million and $59.4 million for principal borrowings and interest, respectively, which become due through 2032. See Item 8, Note 8 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information regarding our debt obligations. We also have contractual obligations for operating leases commitments and purchase commitments related to agreements to purchase equipment. See Item 8, Note 12 and Note 15, respectively, to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information regarding lease obligations and purchase commitments.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

None.

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Legal Matters

We are subject to various legal proceedings and other contingencies, the outcomes of which are subject to significant uncertainty. We accrue for estimated losses if it is probable that an asset has been impaired or a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. We use judgment and evaluate, with the assistance of legal counsel, whether a loss contingency arising from litigation should be disclosed or recorded. The outcome of legal proceedings is inherently uncertain, so typically a loss cannot be precisely estimated. Accordingly, if the outcome of legal proceedings is different than is anticipated by us, we would have to record the matter at the actual amount at which it was resolved, in the period resolved, impacting our results of operations and financial position for the period. See Item 8, Note 15 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Critical Accounting Policies

Our financial statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, operating revenues and operating expenses.

Critical accounting policies are those that are both (1) important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operations and (2) require management's most difficult, subjective or complex judgments, often as a result of the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain. As the number of variables and assumptions affecting the possible future resolution of the uncertainties increase, those judgments become even more subjective and complex. In order to provide an understanding about how our management forms its judgments about future events, including the variables and assumptions underlying the estimates, and the sensitivity of those judgments to different circumstances, we have identified our critical accounting policies below.

Insurance and Claim Costs

We maintain auto liability, workers compensation and general liability insurance with licensed insurance carriers. We are self-insured for all cargo and equipment damage claims. Insurance and claims expense represents premiums paid by us and the accruals made for claims within our self-insured retention amounts. A liability is recognized for the estimated cost of all self-insured claims including an estimate of incurred but not reported claims based on historical experience and for claims expected to exceed our policy limits. In addition, legal expenses related to auto liability claims are covered under our policy. We are responsible for all other legal expenses related to claims.

We establish reserves for anticipated losses and expenses related to cargo and equipment damage claims and auto liability claims. The reserves consist of specific reserves for all known claims and an estimate for claims incurred but not reported, and losses arising from known claims ultimately settling in excess of insurance coverage using loss development factors based upon industry data and past experience. In determining the reserves, we specifically review all known claims and record a liability based upon our best estimate of the amount to be paid. In making our estimate, we consider the amount and validity of the claim, as well as our past experience with similar claims. In establishing the reserve for claims incurred but not reported, we consider our past claims history, including the length of time it takes for claims to be reported to us. Based on our past experience, the time between when a claim occurs and when it is reported to us is short. As a result, we believe that the number of incurred but not reported claims at any given point in time is small. These reserves are periodically reviewed and adjusted to reflect our experience and updated information relating to specific claims. As of December 31, 2022 and 2021, we had accruals of $14.3 million and $23.0 million, respectively, for estimated claims net of insurance receivables. If we experience claims that are not covered by our insurance or that exceed our estimated claim reserve, it could increase the volatility of our earnings and have a materially adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Based on our 2022 reserve for claims incurred but not reported, a 10% increase in claims incurred but not reported, would increase our insurance and claims expense by approximately $0.5 million.

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Valuation of Long-Lived Assets, including Goodwill and Intangible Assets

At both December 31, 2022 and 2021, our goodwill balance was $170.7 million. We are required to test goodwill for impairment annually or more frequently, whenever events occur or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit with goodwill below its carrying amount. We annually test goodwill impairment during the third quarter. Goodwill represents the excess purchase price over the fair value of assets acquired in connection with our acquisitions. We continually assess whether any indicators of impairment exist, which requires a significant amount of judgment. Such indicators may include a sustained significant decline in our share price and market capitalization; a decline in our expected future cash flows; a significant adverse change in legal factors or in the business climate; unanticipated competition; overall weaknesses in our industry; and slower growth rates. Adverse changes in these factors could have a significant impact on the recoverability of goodwill and could have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements. The Company has the option to first assess qualitative factors such as current performance and overall economic conditions to determine whether or not it is necessary to perform a quantitative goodwill impairment test. If we choose that option, then we would not be required to perform a quantitative goodwill impairment test unless we determine that, based on a qualitative assessment, it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value. If we determine that it is more likely than not, or if we choose not to perform a qualitative assessment, we then proceed with the quantitative assessment. Under the quantitative test, if the fair value of a reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, then goodwill of the reporting unit is considered to not be impaired. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, then an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to the excess, up to the value of the goodwill.

During each of the third quarters of 2022 and 2021, we completed our goodwill impairment testing by performing a quantitative assessment using the income approach for each of our reporting units with goodwill. The determination of the fair value of the reporting units requires us to make estimates and assumptions related to future revenue, operating income and discount rates. Based on the results of this test, no impairment loss was recognized. There were no triggering events identified from the date of our assessment through December 31, 2022 that would require an update to our annual impairment test.

We evaluate the carrying value of long-lived assets, other than goodwill, for impairment by analyzing the operating performance and anticipated future cash flows for those assets, whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amounts of such assets may not be recoverable. We evaluate the need to adjust the carrying value of the underlying assets if the sum of the expected cash flows is less than the carrying value. Our projection of future cash flows, the level of actual cash flows, the methods of estimation used for determining fair values and salvage values can impact impairment. Any changes in management's judgments could result in greater or lesser annual depreciation and amortization expense or impairment charges in the future. Depreciation and amortization of long-lived assets is calculated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets.

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements Not Currently Effective

See Item 8: Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for discussion of new accounting pronouncements.

 

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ITEM 7A: QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

Interest Rate Risk

Our principal exposure to interest rate risk relates to outstanding borrowing under our revolving credit and term loan agreements, our real estate facility, and margin facility, all of which charge interest at floating rates. Borrowings under the credit agreements with each of the banks bear interest at Term SOFR or a base rate, plus an applicable margin. Our margin facility bears interest at Term SOFR plus 1.10%. As of December 31, 2022, we had total variable interest rate borrowings of $234.7 million. Assuming variable rate debt levels remain at $234.7 million for a full year, a 100 basis point increase in interest rates on our variable rate debt would increase interest expense approximately $2.3 million annually.

In connection with the Real Estate Facility, we entered into interest rate swap agreements to fix a portion of the interest rate on our variable rate debt. Under the swap agreement, the Company receives interest at Term SOFR and pays a fixed rate of 2.88%. The swap agreement has an effective date of April 29, 2022, a maturity date of April 30, 2027, and an amortizing notional amount of $93.3 million. At December 31, 2022, the fair value of the swap agreement was an asset of $2.9 million. Since the swap agreements qualifies for hedge accounting, the changes in fair value are recorded in other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax.

Included in cash and cash equivalents is approximately $13,000 in short-term investment grade instruments. The interest rates on these instruments are adjusted to market rates at least monthly. In addition, we have the ability to put these instruments back to the issuer at any time. Accordingly, any future interest rate risk on these short-term investments would not be material.

Commodity Price Risk

Fluctuations in fuel prices can affect our profitability by affecting our ability to retain or recruit owner-operators. Our owner-operators bear the costs of operating their tractors, including the cost of fuel. The tractors operated by our owner-operators consume large amounts of diesel fuel. Diesel fuel prices fluctuate greatly due to economic, political and other factors beyond our control. To address fluctuations in fuel prices, we seek to impose fuel surcharges on our customers and pass these surcharges on to our owner-operators. Historically, these arrangements have not fully protected our owner-operators from fuel price increases. If costs for fuel escalate significantly it could make it more difficult to attract additional qualified owner-operators and retain our current owner-operators. If we lose the services of a significant number of owner-operators or are unable to attract additional owner-operators, it could have a materially adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Exposure to market risk for fluctuations in fuel prices also relates to a small portion of our transportation service contracts for which the cost of fuel is integral to service delivery and the service contract does not have a mechanism to adjust for increases in fuel prices. Increases and decreases in the price of fuel are generally passed on to our customers for which we realize minimal changes in profitability during periods of steady market fuel prices. However, profitability may be positively or negatively impacted by sudden increases or decreases in market fuel prices during a short period of time as customer pricing for fuel services is established based on market fuel costs. We believe the exposure to fuel price fluctuations would not materially impact our results of operations, cash flows or financial position. Based upon our 2022 fuel consumption, a 10% increase in the average annual price per gallon of diesel fuel would increase our annual fuel expense on company owned tractors by approximately $5.5 million.

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Equity Securities Risk

We hold certain actively traded marketable equity securities, which subjects the Company to fluctuations in the fair market value of its investment portfolio based on current market price. The recorded value of marketable equity securities increased to $10.0 million at December 31, 2022 from $8.0 million at December 31, 2021. The increase resulted from an increase in the market value of the portfolio of approximately $1.1 million and purchases of marketable securities totaling approximately $0.9 million. There were no sales of marketable equity securities during the year. A 10% decrease in the market price of our marketable equity securities would cause a corresponding 10% decrease in the carrying amounts of these securities, or approximately $1.0 million. For additional information with respect to the marketable equity securities, see Item 8, Note 4 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Foreign Exchange Risk

In the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, 1.9% and 1.7%, respectively, of our revenues were derived from services provided outside the United States, principally in Mexico, Canada and Colombia. Exposure to market risk for changes in foreign currency exchange rates relates primarily to selling services and incurring costs in currencies other than the local currency and to the carrying value of net investments in foreign subsidiaries. As a result, we are exposed to foreign currency exchange rate risk due primarily due to translation of the accounts of our Mexican, Canadian and Colombian operations from their local currencies into U.S. dollars and also to the extent we engage in cross-border transactions. The majority of our exposure to fluctuations in the Mexican peso, Canadian dollar, and Colombian peso is naturally hedged since a substantial portion of our revenues and operating costs are denominated in each country’s local currency. Based on 2022 expenditures denominated in foreign currencies, a 10% decrease in the exchange rates would increase our annual operating expenses by approximately $2.7 million. Historically, we have not entered into financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes. Short-term exposures to fluctuating foreign currency exchange rates are related primarily to intercompany transactions. The duration of these exposures is minimized by ongoing settlement of intercompany trading obligations.

The net investments in our Mexican, Canadian and Colombian operations are exposed to foreign currency translation gains and losses, which are included as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income in our statement of shareholders’ equity. Adjustments from the translation of the net investment in these operations decreased equity by approximately $1.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2022.

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ITEM 8: FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

Board of Directors and Shareholders

Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc.

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (a Michigan corporation) and subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2022 and 2021, the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, shareholders’ equity and cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2022, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2022 and 2021, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2022, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”), the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2022, based on criteria established in the 2013 Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”), and our report dated March 16, 2023 expressed an unqualified opinion.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

Critical Audit Matter

 

The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.

 

Goodwill Impairment Analysis – Contract Logistics and Intermodal Reporting Units

As described further in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company tests goodwill for impairment annually (in the third fiscal quarter) or more frequently, whenever events occur, or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit with goodwill below its carrying amount. The determination of the fair value of the reporting units requires the Company to make estimates and assumptions related to future revenue, operating income and discount rates. The Company’s consolidated goodwill balance was $170.1 million as of December 31, 2022, which is allocated to the Company’s four reporting units. As of December 31, 2022, $56.3 million of goodwill was recorded in their Contract Logistics segment and $101.1 million in their Intermodal segment. We identified the annual goodwill impairment assessment of the Contract Logistics and Intermodal segments as a critical audit matter.

 

The principal consideration for our determination that the annual goodwill impairment assessment of the Contract Logistics and Intermodal segments is a critical audit matter is a high degree of auditor judgement necessary in evaluating the reasonableness of the fair value of the reporting units. The fair value estimate is sensitive to significant assumptions made by management in the discounted cash flow analyses specifically, forecasts of future revenue, operating income and discount rates.

35


Our audit procedures related to the goodwill impairment assessment of the Contract Logistics and Intermodal segments included the following, among others.

We tested the design and operating effectiveness of controls relating to management’s valuation of goodwill, including the control over the determination of key inputs such as the forecasting of revenue, operating income and determination of the discount rate.
We compared management’s forecasts of future revenue and operating income to third-party industry projections and the Company’s historical operating results.
We utilized our valuation specialists with specialized skills and knowledge, to assess the reasonableness of the discount rates used in the models.

 

/s/ GRANT THORNTON LLP

 

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2021.

 

Southfield, Michigan

March 16, 2023

36


 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

Shareholders and Board of Directors

Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc.

Warren, Michigan

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, cash flows and shareholders’ equity for the year ended December 31, 2020, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”) of Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the results of its operations and its cash flows the period ended December 31, 2020, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud.

Our audit included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audit also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

/s/ BDO USA, LLP

 

We served as the Company’s auditor from 2013 to 2020.

 

Troy, Michigan

March 16, 2021

37


UNIVERSAL LOGISTICS HOLDINGS, INC.

Consolidated Balance Sheets

December 31, 2022 and 2021

(In thousands, except share data)

 

Assets

 

2022

 

 

2021

 

Current assets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

47,181

 

 

$

13,932

 

Marketable securities

 

 

10,000

 

 

 

8,031

 

Accounts receivable – net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $14,308 and $7,841,
   respectively

 

 

350,720

 

 

 

341,398

 

Other receivables

 

 

25,146

 

 

 

26,318

 

Prepaid expenses and other

 

 

25,629

 

 

 

30,209

 

Due from affiliates

 

 

976

 

 

 

807

 

Total current assets

 

 

459,652

 

 

 

420,695

 

Property and equipment, net

 

 

391,154

 

 

 

345,583

 

Operating lease right-of-use asset

 

 

99,731

 

 

 

105,859

 

Goodwill

 

 

170,730

 

 

 

170,730

 

Intangible assets – net of accumulated amortization of $121,843 and $107,461,
   respectively

 

 

73,967

 

 

 

88,349

 

Deferred income taxes

 

 

1,394

 

 

 

2,060

 

Other assets

 

 

7,050

 

 

 

4,215

 

Total assets

 

$

1,203,678

 

 

$

1,137,491

 

Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounts payable

 

$

87,138

 

 

$

117,837

 

Current portion of long-term debt

 

 

65,303

 

 

 

61,160

 

Current portion of operating lease liabilities

 

 

28,227

 

 

 

24,566

 

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

 

 

43,106

 

 

 

43,627

 

Insurance and claims

 

 

30,574

 

 

 

43,357

 

Due to affiliates

 

 

20,627

 

 

 

17,839

 

Income taxes payable

 

 

11,926

 

 

 

4,323

 

Total current liabilities

 

 

286,901

 

 

 

312,709

 

Long-term liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-term debt, net of current portion

 

 

313,197

 

 

 

366,188

 

Operating lease liability, net of current portion

 

 

77,600

 

 

 

85,984

 

Deferred income taxes

 

 

69,585

 

 

 

61,250

 

Other long-term liabilities

 

 

9,465

 

 

 

9,150

 

Total long-term liabilities

 

 

469,847

 

 

 

522,572

 

Shareholders' equity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common stock, no par value. Authorized 100,000,000 shares; 30,996,205 and
 
30,986,702 shares issued; 26,277,549 and 26,919,455 shares outstanding,
   respectively

 

 

30,997

 

 

 

30,988

 

Paid-in capital

 

 

4,852

 

 

 

4,639

 

Treasury stock, at cost; 4,718,656