TNT Express Earnings Call NUGGETS: Brazil Challenges, Europe Costs

On Monday, TNT Express NV ADR (TNTEY) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Brazil Challenges

Mark McVicar – Nomura: Two questions if I may. You mentioned in two or three places, could you say a little bit more about the challenges that are still there in Brazil?

Bernard Bot – CFO: We’re seeing a couple of things. I think we’ve been able to avert the volume decline that we’ve seen in the prior quarters. The volumes overall are flat and we’re seeing some of the price increases that we won coming through. However, I would say, we would have liked to have seen more volume growth and I think that’s also in part due to, let’s say, the economic environment in Brazil, which is not as active and as rapidly growing as in the prior year. So, I would say, that’s one part. Second, the Brazil remains a high inflation environment and let’s say, passing fully through those inflation effects in prices is another area we’re working hard on. I would say, lastly, as always, in an environment where there is high inflation, the growth is maybe not quite what you want to see as there is a full focus on containing our costs. But I would say the – to say where are the main challenges, it’s making sure that we continue to grow the business. Having said that, we’re seeing some good contract wins and developments, particularly in the automatic sector. We’re also seeing some good developments in high-tech. So, there is volume growth and good wins; but against that, for example, the infamous shoemaker is, while we had still a little bit volume in the last quarter, are no longer there and there are some other segments, for example, the (cosmetic) and others where we’re seeing some volume declines. So, I would say, overall, we’re making good progress, but there are a few challenges that we’re tackling.

Mark McVicar – Nomura: My other question was, at the start (indiscernible) you talked about looking for partners or possible exit from the Chinese Domestic business and I think UPS have confirmed that that’s not really one of the businesses they are looking to retain. Could you update us on any progresses that’s been made on that front?

Bernard Bot – CFO: Sure. So that’s at hand and you’ll appreciate that as we are in, I’d say, the process and discussing that with potential partners, I won’t say much about it, but basically that’s progressing as planned.

Mark McVicar – Nomura: That won’t be affected by the delay to the regulatory approval you don’t think?

Bernard Bot – CFO: No, those tracks are independent.

Mark McVicar – Nomura: Separate, yeah. Okay, that’s great. Thank you very much.

Europe Costs

Damian Brewer – RBC: A couple please. First on Europe, it looks like the sort of the costs there rose by about 2%; but in the presentation, you mentioned that the changes you are making in air network, et cetera. Could you give us an idea of how much of the costs had built up in terms of run rate in Q2 and how much therefore there is still to come in terms of momentum in the second half of the year? Then secondly, if we look on a sort of ex-India disposal basis, could you give us some indication of where the terms of payment or terms of trade with your customers have gone given the slight widening out in working capital? Is there any noticeable change there or in any particular geographies?

Bernard Bot – CFO: Damian, let me make sure I fully understood your Europe question, but yes 2% growth. I mean, if you look at the volume growth, that’s about 2% and 2.3%, 2.4%; if you add up some inflation 2%, 2.5%, you’ll see the overall cost growth. If you hadn’t done anything in terms of costs or if there were no network effects, it would’ve been around the 4.5%, 5% and we’ve been able to contain that to 2%. So I think we are seeing the benefit of some of the cost reduction measures that we’ve announced coming through and if you look at momentum, I would say that depends a little bit on what the product mix is going to do, but we hope to maintain that in the second half of the year with some of the initiatives that we announced earlier also on the fixed costs, maybe speeding up a little bit in terms of their impact in the second half compared to the first half. I don’t know. Does that answer your question on the cost?

Damian Brewer – RBC: Yes, that does.

Bernard Bot – CFO: Then in terms of trade, now I would say things are stable. I think our working capital is around 10% trade. That’s probably where we want it to be. So, we’re not seeing any negative effects let me say of the economic environment on that.