(By Balaseshan) FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX), the world's No.2 package delivery company, reported a slight decline in fourth quarter earnings hit by an aircraft impairment charge. Revenue missed consensus. Further, the company guided first quarter earnings below Street's view, sending its shares down 1.45% in premarket.
Earnings for the fourth quarter were $550 million or $1.73 per share, down from $558 million or $1.75 per share last year. Adjusted earnings for the latest quarter were $634 million or $1.99 per share.
Revenue increased 3.8% to $11.0 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of $1.92 per share on revenue of $11.13 billion.
Revenue from FedEx Express segment rose to $6.80 billion from $6.63 billion. U.S. domestic revenue per package grew 6% due to higher rate per pound, the growth of the premium FedEx First Overnight service and fuel surcharges, while average daily package volume declined 5%.
Revenue from FedEx Ground segment grew 9% to $2.48 billion. Revenue per package increased 5% primarily due to increased rates and higher extra services. Average daily package volume grew 3% in the quarter, driven by growth in both FedEx Home Delivery and business-to-business services.
FedEx Freight revenue increased 7% to $1.40 billion. Less-than-truckload (LTL) average daily shipments increased 4% due to an increase in customer demand for the company's service offerings, enhanced service levels and modest economic improvement.
Looking ahead, the company expects first quarter earnings of $1.45 to $1.60 per share, while Street analysts predict $1.70 per share. For the fiscal 2013, the company anticipates earnings of $6.90 to $7.40 per share, while Street predicts $7.39 per share.
The company's outlook assumes U.S. GDP growth of 2.2% and world GDP growth of 2.6% during the fiscal year. Capital spending for fiscal 2013 is expected to decline to $3.9 billion, with fewer aircraft deliveries at FedEx Express and increased investment in the high-margin, high-return FedEx Ground business.
FedEx expects to face certain cost increases in fiscal 2013. These headwinds include higher employee-related costs, including higher pension expenses of about $150 million due to a historically low discount rate on its May 31, 2012 measurement date, as well as higher depreciation costs.
FDX closed Monday's regular session up 1.00% at $88.51. The stock has been trading between $64.07 and $98.66 for the past 52 weeks.