April 23 2009 03:32 PM

April 23, 2009 - UPS (NYSE:UPS) today reported adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.52 for the first quarter of 2009 compared to the $0.87 reported for the prior-year period. Revenue was off 13.7% at $10.9 billion. The continuing deterioration in global economic activity resulted in decreased revenue and profitability in all business segments.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share exclude an impairment charge related to the earlier-than-expected retirement of aging aircraft. Including this non-cash charge, diluted earnings per share were $0.40.

The company managed its business effectively despite the effects of the global economic slump. UPS maintained its industry-leading small package margins and expanded its market share both domestically and overseas while generating strong cash flow. The company continues to make strategic investments such as expanding its Worldport facility, building a new air hub in Shenzhen, China, and opening new healthcare distribution facilities in Europe and Puerto Rico. However, it is scaling back 2009 capital spending by an additional $200 million, bringing the total to just below $2 billion.

"As economic activity deteriorated throughout the world during the quarter, we managed costs while maintaining our excellent service to our customers," said Scott Davis, UPS's chairman and CEO. "We are optimistic about the company's future. UPS is becoming an even leaner, more efficient enterprise, making many improvements that are sustainable when the economic climate strengthens."

For the three months ended March 31, 2009, consolidated average daily volume totaled 14.5 million packages, a 3.9% decline. Average revenue per piece decreased 6.9%, reflecting changes in product mix, declining fuel surcharges and weight per package and the negative impact of currency.

During the quarter, UPS took an impairment charge on its entire fleet of 44 DC-8 aircraft, including related engines and parts. As a result, the company recorded a non-cash charge to expense of $181 million, which reduced net income and diluted earnings per share by $116 million and $0.12, respectively. The entire charge was recorded in the U.S. Domestic Package segment. Retirement of the DC-8s will make UPS's air fleet the most modern, fuel efficient and noise compliant in the industry.

Cash Position
UPS ended the quarter with $4.3 billion in cash and marketable securities. The company also:
   Generated $1.9 billion in free cash flow, a $200 million increase over last year (excluding the impact of tax refunds in 2008).    
   Paid dividends totaling $449 million. 
   Invested $382 million in capital expenditures. 
   Purchased 2.5 million shares at a cost of $113 million.

UPS also successfully completed a $2 billion debt offering during the quarter. The 5- and 10-year offerings were oversubscribed at very favorable interest rates of 3 7/8% and 5 1/8%, respectively, reflecting the marketplace's view of the company's strength.

The negative effect of economic conditions more than offset the company's market share gain due to the departure of a major competitor. Volume per day declined 4.3% during the quarter with Next Day Air® down 0.7%, deferred down 1% and ground off 5%. Revenue per piece declined 4.6%, reflecting product mix changes, the decrease in fuel surcharges on all products and the continuing trend toward lighter weight packages.

During the quarter, UPS expanded its guaranteed early morning delivery territory in the United States to more than 23,000 ZIP codes. UPS now delivers overnight by 8:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. to more businesses and ZIP codes than any other transportation provider. The company also began testing a new flexible returns program that allows consumers to return items shipped via UPS by placing them in their own mailboxes for pickup by the U.S. Postal Service before transfer to UPS. Lastly, UPS deployed 300 new compressed natural gas delivery vehicles, adding to the largest private fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles in the industry.

The International Package segment showed resilience during the quarter, gaining substantial market share in both export and non-U.S. domestic products. Despite challenging market conditions, the segment posted a 1% volume decline with some benefit from the timing of Easter.

The 15.3% decline in revenue per piece reflected similar negative trends as in the U.S. small package operation as well as the negative impact of currency. Reductions in operating profit and margin were caused primarily by volume declines, changes in mix and lower package weight, although at 13.1% the segment's operating margin remains the highest in the industry.

All business units in the segment recorded revenue declines, offset somewhat by successful cost control efforts. Forwarding and Logistics experienced minimal reduction in operating margin. In particular, the Logistics business continued to benefit from UPS's investment in the healthcare sector.

In a worsening LTL environment, UPS Freight posted declines in revenue, shipments and tonnage, compared with last year. However, there was month-over-month improvement in each of these metrics through the period. The business unit experienced increasing sales traction as more customers adopted its LTL shipping technology.

"We're pleased that our cost control initiatives are on plan and producing the benefits they were designed to achieve. In fact, we have identified $300 million in additional initiatives to help offset some of the recessionary impacts we're experiencing," said Kurt Kuehn, UPS's chief financial officer.

"Economic indicators tell us recovery in the U.S. might begin late this year, but more likely not until 2010," he continued. "So we expect the second quarter will be another difficult one. As a result, UPS anticipates earnings per diluted share in a range of $0.45 to $0.55.

"UPS is financially the strongest company in our Industry," Kuehn concluded. "This strength, coupled with our broad product portfolio and the most extensive international presence, will help ensure our customers receive the best in transportation solutions and service."

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is the world's largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain and freight services. With more than a century of experience in transportation and logistics, UPS is a leading global trade expert equipped with a broad portfolio of solutions. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the Web at www.UPS.com.