UTi Worldwide Earnings Call Insights: Air & Ocean Volumes, Transaction Outlook

UTi Worldwide (NASDAQ:UTIW) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Air & Ocean Volumes

Tom Wadewitz – JPMorgan: Wanted to see if you could provide some additional on – I don’t know if you want to give us like the bi-month on the air and ocean volumes. I think you said some of the numbers fairly quickly, but if you want to give us those numbers and maybe a little more commentary just on how much conviction you have on that improvement that you saw in April air tons.

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Ed Feitzinger – EVP, Global Contract Logistics and Distribution: Sure, this is Ed Feitzinger, Tom. I’ll try to answer that question. So, in terms of the air tonnage, we’ve seen improvement with each month against our performance last year, as Eric mentioned and Rick mentioned. April was positive. We’ve looked at some initial data from May and that seems to indicate that the trend is continuing and that we’re expecting the numbers to be marginally better than last year, but not spectacularly better. So, that gives us some hope that the market has slightly improved and that the general environment I think there’s still some concern with all the manufacturing data and other stuff out there, but our air tonnage has definitely shown signs of improvement over the quarter.

Tom Wadewitz – JPMorgan: And do you care to give some of the by-month numbers aside from I guess I think you said April up 3.4?

Ed Feitzinger – EVP, Global Contract Logistics and Distribution: Yeah, I’ll have to get that in detail. I don’t have that right in front of me. You have that Rick?

Richard Rodick – CFO, EVP, Finance: Yes, I’ll give that the. The tonnage was down 4% in February, down approximately 6% in March, up 3% in April, so that’s where we were down little over 2% for the quarter, and then – those were the numbers. And May we think is up slightly.

Transaction Outlook

Lisa Tyson – Morgan Stanley: This is (Liz Tyson) for Bill. I wanted to follow up on the transformation. What are the key milestones that we should be watching for over the next quarter? And are there any lessons that you learned so far with the numbers, with the countries that you rolled out that you can update us on?

Eric W. Kirchner – CEO: Sure, it’s a challenge to try to pick specific milestones by quarter because there are movements within the deployment schedule based on specific conditions, but our expectation, as we’ve said, is to be over 70% of our transactions on the system by the end of this fiscal year and some of that just has to – the quarterly view just has to do with the timing of which countries go on when. We have probably eight or nine countries that are already in queue to go based on the pre-implementation work, but we’re doing a deeper dive on the larger countries that would come online because they are just bigger, there are more locations to deal with and it is a slightly larger endeavor to bring (and realize) onto the system versus a much smaller country. But as we have said we remain on track for that 70% of transactions metric by the end of this fiscal year. We anticipate three to five more countries coming on the system in this coming quarter. That would take our transaction volumes somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% of our total transactions, depending again on which country. So we have specific nuances within the system deployment so we might have a different proposition in a country that has more complexity around linkages accustomed system and automated custom system, (noise) system all depending on the existing functionality that that resides in a country on its legacy system and how that compares to our new system deployment. There are a couple of different factors that will tend to move countries around in the queue but as I said we have about I think eight or nine that are ready to go with all the pre-implementation activities done and the initial training done of our field Forward operating people. So I don’t know if that’s precise enough but I’d say three to five additional countries by the next call and then with the anticipation that we are spending more time on pre-implementation activities in the larger countries that will drive a higher percentage of transactions going forward.

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Lisa Tyson – Morgan Stanley: Then one quick follow-up. Is there any service updates in terms of feedbacks from customers? Have you – have that been coming in, is that changing your timeline at all?

Ed Feitzinger – EVP, Global Contract Logistics and Distribution: No. We had some learnings in the pilot phase that we went through in the Netherlands and we implemented that and I’m sorry, incorporated that into subsequent rollouts and actually this last round of countries that came online in the last two or three months has had very positive feedback and have been our smoothest implementations to-date. So, it’s a positive reflection that we are integrating learnings into the go-forward deployments and with respect to any issues with customers, there has not been any service deterioration associated with the system. The thing that we are mindful of and continuing to work on as it relates to our customers is the visibility from a reporting standpoint because often customers rely on us to provide them detailed reports about their transportation and logistics activities and we do have some refinements to do with that going forward, but it’s not impacted our ability to service those customers.

Eric W. Kirchner – CEO: Just a reminder again everyone, to limit your questions to one initially so we can allow enough time for everybody to have a chance. Thanks.

A Closer Look: UTi Worldwide Earnings Cheat Sheet>>