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Covenant Transportation Group Updates Expectations Concerning Second Quarter Financial Results

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., June 21, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Covenant Transportation Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CVTI) announced today its expectations regarding financial results for the second quarter of 2016.

Financial and Operating Results
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David R. Parker, offered the following comments: “On April 27, we announced our earnings expectations of $0.28 to $0.33 per diluted share for the second quarter of 2016. Since that time, a combination of freight market and internal factors has caused us to lower our expectations. We now expect to report second quarter earnings in a range of $0.17 to $0.23 per diluted share.

The main factors contributing to our updated expectations are (1) difficult freight market conditions that have negatively impacted our expected consolidated average freight revenue per loaded mile, average miles per tractor, and empty miles percentage, (2) higher net fuel cost per mile due to lower fuel surcharge recovery from customers, the lag effect of surcharge adjustments as fuel prices rise, and higher empty mile percentage, (3) higher depreciation expense as a result of additional negative impacts related to the soft used truck market, and (4) increased other costs on a per mile basis related to worse fixed cost absorption. In addition, we expect to operate approximately 2% fewer average tractors during the quarter than we previously had expected.

A disproportionate portion of the shortfall against our expectations is expected to come from our refrigerated subsidiary, Southern Refrigerated Transport (“SRT”). We continue to view turning around SRT's performance as our most important objective. To address the negative trend, we continue to adjust resources to support SRT's efforts. While we have been pleased with management's energy and receptivity at SRT, we do not view the situation as a near-term turnaround."

Covenant Transportation Group, Inc. is the holding company for several transportation providers that offer premium transportation services for customers throughout the United States. The consolidated group includes operations from Covenant Transport and Covenant Transport Solutions of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Southern Refrigerated Transport of Texarkana, Arkansas; and Star Transportation of Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, Transport Enterprise Leasing, of Chattanooga, Tennessee is an integral affiliated company providing revenue equipment sales and leasing services to the trucking industry. The Company's Class A common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select under the symbol, “CVTI”.

This press release contains certain statements that may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements may be identified by their use of terms or phrases such as "expects," "estimates," "projects," "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "intends," “appears,” and similar terms and phrases. Forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified, which could cause future events and actual results to differ materially from those set forth in, contemplated by, or underlying the forward-looking statements. In this press release, the statements relating to the estimated range of earnings per diluted share, expected average tractor numbers, and expected operating metrics are forward-looking statements. Such items have not been subjected to all the review and audit procedures associated with the release of actual financial results and are premised on certain assumptions. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements: estimates and adjusting entries made during the review and audit process; differences between estimates used in establishing and adjusting accruals and reserves and actual results; the completion of all review and audit procedures and preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; elevated experience in the frequency and severity of claims relating to accident, cargo, workers' compensation, health, and other claims, increased insurance premiums, fluctuations in claims expenses that result from our self-insured retention amounts, including in our excess layers and in respect of claims for which we commute policy coverage, and the requirement that we pay additional premiums if there are claims in certain of those layers, differences between estimates used in establishing and adjusting claims reserves and actual results over time (including with respect to the adverse judgment on the 2008 cargo claim announced in the third quarter of 2014), adverse changes in claims experience and loss development factors, or additional changes in management's estimates of liability based upon such experience and development factors that cause our expectations of insurance and claims expense to be inaccurate or otherwise impacts our results; changes in the market condition for used revenue equipment and real estate that impact our capital expenditures and our ability to dispose of revenue equipment and real estate on the schedule and for the prices we expect; increases in the prices paid for new revenue equipment that impact our capital expenditures and our results generally; changes in management’s estimates of the need for new tractors and trailers; the effect of any reduction in tractor purchases on the number of tractors that will be accepted by manufacturers under tradeback arrangements; our inability to generate sufficient cash from operations and obtain financing on favorable terms to meet our significant ongoing capital requirements; our ability to maintain compliance with the provisions of our credit agreements, particularly financial covenants in our revolving credit facility; excess tractor or trailer capacity in the trucking industry; decreased demand for our services or loss of one or more of our major customers; our ability to renew dedicated service offering contracts on the terms and schedule we expect; surplus inventories, recessionary economic cycles, and downturns in customers' business cycles; strikes, work slowdowns, or work stoppages at the Company, customers, ports, or other shipping related facilities; increases or rapid fluctuations in fuel prices, as well as fluctuations in hedging activities and surcharge collection, including, but not limited to, changes in customer fuel surcharge policies and increases in fuel surcharge bases by customers; the volume and terms of diesel purchase commitments; interest rates, fuel taxes, tolls, and license and registration fees; increases in compensation for and difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified drivers and independent contractors; seasonal factors such as harsh weather conditions that increase operating costs; competition from trucking, rail, and intermodal competitors; regulatory requirements that increase costs, decrease efficiency, or reduce the availability of drivers, including revised hours-of-service requirements for drivers and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program that implemented new driver standards and modified the methodology for determining a carrier’s DOT safety rating; the ability to reduce, or control increases in, operating costs; changes in the Company’s business strategy that require the acquisition of new businesses, and the ability to identify acceptable acquisition candidates, consummate acquisitions, and integrate acquired operations. Readers should review and consider these factors along with the various disclosures by the Company in its press releases, stockholder reports, and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or changes in the factors affecting the forward-looking information.

For further information contact: Richard B. Cribbs, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (423) 463-3331 criric@covenanttransport.com For copies of Company information contact: Kim Perry, Administrative Assistant (423) 463-3357 perkim@covenanttransport.com

Source:Covenant Transportation Group, Inc.