UPS Beats Estimates, Reaffirms Outlook
Package delivery provider United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS – $100.91) announced first quarter earnings per share of $1.12, a 14% increase over the prior year period and revenue of $14.0 billion was up 1.4%. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.09 on revenue of $14.27 billion. Revenue growth was 3.6% after adjusting for foreign currency changes. Total company shipments increased 2.8% to 1.1 billion packages, led by European export growth of 9.4%. U.S. Domestic first quarter revenue increased 3.8% to $8.8 billion. Daily package volume improved 2.4%, lifted by growth in Deferred Air, up 12% and UPS SurePost, up 7.0%. International revenue of $3.0 billion, increased 2.4% for the quarter on a currency-neutral basis, compared to the reported decline of 5.0% due to the strong dollar. Lower fuel surcharges also weighed on revenue growth. International operating profit was up 14% over the prior-year period. Volume growth, pricing initiatives and lower fuel expense all contributed to improved profitability and operating margin expanded 280 basis points to 16.8%. Supply Chain & Freight revenue in the segment increased 1.3%, driven by growth in Distribution and UPS Freight. Solid performance across all three business segments was led by positive momentum in international, gains from revenue management and productivity improvements in the U.S. UPS also reaffirmed full-year guidance of per share earnings of $5.05 to $5.30, a 6%-to-12% increase over 2014 adjusted results, with a Street consensus of $5.15 for 2015 and a possible $5.80 for next year. The shares have been subject to wide market swings as the holiday-season missteps of 2013 were followed by higher costs in the fourth quarter of 2014. However, the long-term picture remains intact and the shares can be held in a well-diversified conservative portfolio as a play on a stronger world economy and growth in e-commerce. The shares also yield 3%, at current levels.