FedEx delivers record earnings, but shares fall after hours

FedEx Corp., which has thrived during the coronavirus pandemic, on Thursday reported that “exceptional” growth in U.S. and international shipping propelled it to a record fourth quarter.

“We continue to play an important role in global economic recovery and the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and relief supplies throughout the U.S., Canada and more than 35 other countries,” Chief Executive Frederick Smith said in a statement.

Ground and FedEx Freight both posted record earnings for the quarter, the Memphis-based shipping provider said. But the company added that its operating results were “partially offset by costs to support strong demand, increased variable compensation expense, and higher labor rates.”

The company reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.87 billion, or $6.88 a share, compared with a loss of $334 million, or $1.28 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for retirement-plan accounting and other costs, earnings were $5.01 a share. Revenue rose to $22.6 billion from $17.4 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $5.02 a share on revenue of $21.5 billion.

FedEx shares fell more than 4% in extended trading after rising more than 2% in the regular session to close at $303.69. 

For the full year, FedEx reported net income of $5.23 billion, or $19.45 a share, on $84 billion in revenue. That compares with net income of $1.29 billion on revenue of $69.2 billion in the previous year.

Analysts had expected full-year earnings of $18.14 a share on revenue of $83 billion.

FedEx said it is unable to provide an outlook for fiscal 2022 results on a GAAP basis because it can’t forecast mark-to-market retirement plan accounting adjustments, though Chief Financial Officer Michael Lenz said in a statement that he expects “continued strong momentum.” Before the accounting adjustments and other costs, the company expects full-year earnings of $20.50 to $21.50 a share.

The company’s shares are up nearly 17% so far this year, and have risen about 125% in the past 52 weeks. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index
has increased nearly 14% year to date and is up 38% in the past year.

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