UPS exceeds forecasts for the second quarter, international operating profit jumps 17%

UPS (United Parcel Service) (UPS Airlines) (Atlanta and Louisville) today announced second quarter 2015 diluted earnings per share of $1.35, a 12% increase over adjusted results for the same period last year. All three segments improved operating profit and margin, led by International and Supply Chain and Freight performance.

The company continued:

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Highlights:

  • All Segments Improve Profitability and Expand Margins
  • International Operating Profit Jumps 17%
  • Export Shipments up 5.5% with Strong Intra-Europe Growth
  • Supply Chain and Freight Operating Profit Climbs 18%
  • Revenue Growth Dampened by Changes in Currency and Fuel Prices
  • 2015 EPS Growth at Higher End of 6%-to-12% Guidance Range

Currency exchange rates and lower fuel surcharges reduced total reported revenue growth. Total revenue declined 1.2% from the same quarter last year to $14.1 billion. Pricing initiatives continue to drive base rates higher.

“During the quarter, UPS continued to invest for the future by expanding capacity and launching new capabilities that provide higher value to customers,” said David Abney, UPS chief executive officer. “The strong momentum in our International segment is expected to continue and gives us confidence in achieving the upper end of our guidance range.”

On a reported basis, operating profit increased $1.2 billion, and diluted earnings per share was up $0.86. In the second quarter of 2014, UPS reported diluted earnings per share of $0.49, which included a $665 million after-tax charge for the transfer of certain post-retirement liabilities to defined contribution healthcare plans.

Total company shipments increased 2.1% over the second quarter last year to 1.1 billion packages, led by U.S. Deferred Air products and International Export shipments.
Cash Flow

For the six months ended June 30, UPS generated $3.3 billion in free cash flow. The company paid dividends of $1.3 billion, an increase of 9.0% per share over the prior year. UPS also repurchased 13.5 million shares for approximately $1.4 billion.

U.S. Domestic Package

U.S. Domestic revenue increased $140 million over the second quarter last year to $8.8 billion. Shipment growth was led by Deferred Air products up 15% and UPS SurePost which increased more than 8%. Total daily deliveries grew 1.8% due to a slower pace of B2C (business-to-consumer) growth.

Operating profit was $1.2 billion, up $35 million or 3.0% over prior-year adjusted results. Operating margin expanded to 13.6% as improved pricing and productivity offset higher benefit costs.

On a reported basis, operating profit increased $992 million after the transfer of certain post-retirement liabilities to defined contribution healthcare plans, which occurred in the second quarter of last year.

Continued improvements in base rates were offset by lower fuel surcharges. Revenue per package was flat, as changes in fuel surcharges dropped reported yield by almost 300 basis points.

International Package

Currency-adjusted International revenue was up 1.5% over the same period last year. UPS daily Export shipments increased 5.5%, primarily due to an 8.5% increase in intra-Europe shipments. The strong dollar drove U.S. imports higher, while U.S. exports were down slightly.

International operating profit increased $81 million, or 17% over the adjusted results for the same period in 2014. Network improvements, volume growth and pricing initiatives all contributed to expanded operating margin and increased profitability. The segment experienced growth from middle-market accounts and improved premium product sales.

On a reported basis, operating profit increased $108 million after the transfer of certain post-retirement liabilities to defined contribution healthcare plans in the second quarter of last year.

Underlying base rates were up across all regions, though revenue per package decreased 2.4% on a currency-neutral basis. Lower fuel surcharges reduced reported revenue per package by about 350 basis points.

Supply Chain & Freight

Supply Chain & Freight revenue declined 4.5% to $2.2 billion, due to Forwarding revenue management initiatives, currency and lower fuel surcharges at UPS Freight. Operating profits improved $31 million, or 18% over the adjusted results for the same quarter 2014, driven by gains in Forwarding.

On a reported basis, operating profit increased $113 million after the transfer of certain post-retirement liabilities to defined contribution healthcare plans that occurred in the second quarter of 2014.

UPS Forwarding operating profit and margin expanded as the business unit continued to implement a disciplined pricing strategy across key trade lanes. The unit also benefited from improved market conditions and customer mix. Forwarding tonnage and revenue dropped during the quarter, primarily due to revenue management initiatives and the impact of currency fluctuations.

Distribution revenue increased at a mid-single digit growth rate. Growth in Mail services, Healthcare and Aerospace industries contributed to revenue improvements.

UPS Freight revenue declined 2.5% due to lower fuel surcharges and a drop in tonnage driven by changes in customer mix and slowing market growth. LTL (less-than-truckload) revenue per hundredweight growth remained positive, with a 1.4% gain.

Outlook

“The second quarter results reflect continuing gains in our International business,” said Richard Peretz, UPS chief financial officer. “Even though the U.S. economy appears to be growing at a slower pace, our global portfolio and performance reinforces our expectations to attain the higher-end of the guidance range.”

The company’s guidance for 2015 full-year diluted earnings per share is $5.05 to $5.30, a 6% to 12% increase over adjusted 2014 results.

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