Invoice payment and information services provider Cass Information Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CASS) reported a 6% year-over-year decline in transportation-related invoice and dollar volumes during the fourth quarter of 2019.
The St. Louis-based company stated that the decline was largely due to a tough comparison from the fourth quarter of 2018 as well as weakness in the industrial segments.
Cass' Key Performance Indicators
From the company's press release: "Transportation volumes for both invoices and dollars declined 6% as a historically robust 2018 created a difficult comparison in 2019. With manufacturing companies representing an important component of the transportation customer base, the widely reported fourth quarter 2019 contraction in this sector created year-over-year trials for the division."
Cass also processes facility payments in the energy, telecom and waste sectors. Transaction volumes in those segments declined 11% year-over-year with only a 2% decline in dollar volume. The loss of a "high transaction volume customer" was cited as the reason for the decline.
"As previously reported, the volatile business climate, competitive marketplace and the impact of a lower interest rate environment converged to create headwinds during the fourth quarter. However, our sales pipelines remain strong and we continue to introduce new services that promise to accelerate earnings and overcome these challenges," said Cass Chairman and CEO Eric H. Brunngraber.
Despite the fourth-quarter challenges, the company had a fourth consecutive year of record earnings. Cass reported earnings of $2.07 per share in 2019 compared to $2.03 per share in 2018.
"Exceeding $150 million in revenue, representing 6% growth over 2018's record results, and again surpassing $30 million in net income while continuing to fund initiatives that support future growth are noteworthy accomplishments," Brunngraber stated.
The company publishes the Cass Transportation Index report, which provides an outlook of monthly trends in the freight markets. The company's shipment and expenditure indexes are derived from the data captured from the more than $28 billion in freight payables on behalf of its clients annually. In total, Cass disburses more than $60 billion annually for its clients.
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