UPS: Recession Over

According to UPS, the bellwether of shipping, the recession is over. According to UPS CEO, Scott Davis, “It looks like the recession is finally over, and believe it or not, that makes 21 recessions that UPS has successfully managed through.” “Economic forecasts indicate gradual improvement as 2010 unfolds,” says Kurt Kuehn, UPS’s chief financial officer. “The first quarter will be the most challenging of the year for UPS, with profitability only slightly better than last year. For 2010, UPS will substantially improve performance by leveraging our extensive product portfolio and global network. As a result, we anticipate that diluted earnings per share should be within a range of $2.70 to $3.05, an increase of 17 to 32 percent over 2009 results. We also expect cash generation to remain strong in 2010, with capital expenditures totaling $1.8 billion. This is well below our historical range, but still supports growth opportunities.”

During the holiday shipping season, global volume for UPS exceeded 22 million packages in eight days, including two days on which it exceeded 24 million packages. UPS experienced more delivery volume than in 2008 on each of the seven days before Christmas. A well executed peak season operating plan, and significant growth in online retail sales, contributed to the stronger than expected results for the quarter. For the full year, the company delivered 3.8 billion packages, an average of 15.1 million per day, down from 15.5 million in 2008. Revenue decreased 12 percent to $45.3 billion.