UPS Profit Edges Up Despite Surprise Drop in Revenue
The world’s largest package delivery provider, United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS – $103.36) reported earnings above analysts’ estimates, despite being negative on revenues. UPS reported earnings per share for the third quarter of $1.39, two cents above the street view, and up 5.3% from last year’s $1.32. Total revenue declined 0.4% from the third period 2014 to $14.24 billion, and below Street estimates of $14.43 billion. Total company shipments grew 1.9% to 1.1 billion packages, led by U.S. air products and European trans-border shipments. In the domestic segment, profit fell 1.6% but the international segment grew 10%, helped by network improvements and export volume growth. The results come as UPS heads into the holiday peak season, and the company is working to keep its expenses in check. UPS has spent about $200 million more than it expected the last two years, first as its network was swamped with unexpected packages in 2013, and then as packages spiked around Thanksgiving and Christmas last year and left the network underused in between. UPS will add up to 95,000 temporary workers during the holiday season, the same as last year although it expects deliveries to be up more than 10% from 2014, as it continues to tweak volume and resources. Scheduled peak delivery day of about 36 million packages is expected on Tuesday, Dec. 22, doubling typical daily delivery volume. The company’s guidance for 2015 full-year diluted earnings per share is $5.05 to $5.30, an increase of 6% to 12% over adjusted 2014 results, but the mid-point of the outlook is at the low-end of consensus at $5.29 per share. UPS is a strong generator of cash and following the results for the full year, the company is likely to hike the dividend in the first quarter of 2016 and continue stock buybacks. The shares of Atlanta-based UPS offer solid risk-adjusted long-term price appreciation potential for conservative investors.