UPS today announced diluted earnings per share of $1.16 for the third quarter of 2013, a 9.4% improvement over adjusted results for the same period last year. Total revenue was $13.5 billion, up 3.4% driven primarily by U.S. e-commerce shipments and strong European export growth. For the three months ended Sept. 30, 2013, UPS delivered more than one billion packages worldwide, an increase of 4.6% over the prior-year period.
Daily package volume growth was led by International export and U.S. Domestic Ground, up 6.7% and 3.0%, respectively. Customers around the globe continue to seek lower cost solutions as demonstrated by the 11% jump in International deferred export products per day.
Last year, on a reported basis, third quarter diluted earnings per share was $0.48 as a result of an after-tax, non-cash charge of $559 million to restructure pension liabilities for certain employees.
“UPS is continuing to build global capabilities that position the company to meet the evolving supply chain needs of customers,” said Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO. “We are making investments in emerging markets, healthcare distribution and our worldwide retail delivery models, ensuring that UPS delivers both the solutions customers require and the returns our shareowners expect.”
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, UPS generated $3.6 billion in free cash flow after capital expenditures of $1.6 billion. The company paid dividends of $1.7 billion, an increase of nearly 9% per share over the prior year, and repurchased 33 million shares for $2.9 billion.
U.S. Domestic Package
U.S. Domestic third quarter operating profit was $1.2 billion, up nearly 16%, and operating margin expanded 140 basis points over the prior year adjusted result, to 14.4%. Revenue increased 5.0% to $8.3 billion. Volume growth, cost reductions due to efficiency gains and safety improvements, as well as the benefit of one additional operating day, contributed to the improvement.
On a reported basis, third quarter 2012 U.S. Domestic operating profit was $129 million and operating margin was 1.6% as a result of the pension restructuring charge.
Total U.S. Domestic revenue per piece was up 1.0%, as higher base rates were mostly offset by lower fuel surcharges, decreased average package weight and changes in both product and customer mix.
Daily package volume was 2.3% higher than the same period last year, driven by e-commerce shipments with growth in both B2C and B2B. Next Day Air volume declined 3.3% due to a contraction in letter shipments.
International revenue increased 2.5% to $3.0 billion on daily package volume improvement of 6.5%. Daily export shipments were 6.7% higher, with European exports up nearly 10%, while growth out of Asia was flat. Non-U.S. Domestic volume was up 6.3%, driven by strong growth across Europe and Canada.
Total operating profit was $417 million, a decline of $32 million on a year-over-year basis, due to a $75 million negative impact from currency and fuel. Operating margin of 13.8%, remains industry leading.
Currency-neutral export revenue per piece declined 5.4%, primarily driven by growth in lower-yielding deferred products. Lower fuel surcharges and changes in trade lane mix also pressured yields.
UPS has expanded its presence and service portfolio in Mexico, helping businesses bring manufacturing closer to U.S. consumers. Recently announced offerings include the industry’s first guaranteed ground service from the U.S., Preferred LCL Ocean service from Asia and expanded retail presence in Northern Mexico.
Supply Chain & Freight
Operating profit improved 7%, to $201 million and operating margin expanded 60 basis points, to 8.9%. Revenue in the segment was down slightly from the prior year period to $2.25 billion, as growth in UPS Freight was offset by declines in the Forwarding business.
The Distribution business improved operating profit and margin despite continued investment in Healthcare infrastructure and technology. Revenue growth in Healthcare and Mail Services was offset by a decline in the High Tech sector.
In Forwarding, both operating profit and margin expanded. Growth in Ocean forwarding and Brokerage, as well as cost management activities, drove the improvement.
UPS Freight LTL revenue climbed 5.5% as a result of improved tonnage and rate increases. Operating margin for the business unit declined slightly, due to higher compensation and benefit expense.
“Third quarter results were strong and in line with our expectations,” said Kurt Kuehn, UPS chief financial officer. “Looking to the fourth quarter, although some major retailers have expressed caution about holiday spending, they still expect robust online sales.
“The late Thanksgiving creates a compressed peak season, which presents some operating challenges,” Kuehn continued. “Nonetheless, we are confident in UPS’s ability to successfully deliver the holidays. Therefore, we reiterate our full-year guidance of adjusted diluted earnings per share of $4.65 to $4.85, a 3% to 7% increase over 2012.”