Severe Winter Dampens UPS’s 1st Quarter Profit
The world’s largest package delivery provider, United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS – $99.04) reported adjusted diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of $1.08 vs. $1.04 in the like period of 2013. Analysts were looking for something closer to $1.10 on average. Revenue was $13.78 billion compared to last year’s $13.43 billion. U.S. domestic daily volume increased 4.2% as operating profit for the quarter was $1.5 billion, down $106 million from the prior-year’s adjusted results. Unusually harsh weather weighed on operating results by about $200 million, due to increased expenses and slower revenue growth. Average daily shipments in the U.S. climbed primarily due to large e-commerce shippers using lightweight deferred shipping solutions. International daily volume jumped 7.9% on strong Europe growth. The company’s Supply Chain and Freight division experienced improved operating profit and margin expansion, as well. UPS was able to generate free cash flow of $1.9 billion during the period. The Atlanta-based shipping giant said it expects its full-year earnings to hit the low-end of its earlier forecast of $5.05 to $ 5.30 a share, where the Street is pricing the shares for a level closer to $5.20. The shares trade at a fairly high 19 times UPS’ estimated earnings call and are not cheap. But the company garners high marks for financial strength, strong cash flow dependability and a yield of 2.7%, with annual dividend increases and has a place in a well diversified conservative portfolio.