UTi Worldwide Earnings Call Nuggets: Profitability Outlook and First Quarter Trends

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

Profitability Outlook

Thomas Wadewitz – JPMorgan: I wanted to get a sense. I think you had mentioned $12 million maybe that you saw was I guess somewhat unusual I don’t know contract logistic expense maybe some of forwarding, but somewhat unusual in the quarter. I’m not sure how you would look at – so I wanted to hear if you give more details on that and then how you would look at profitability in the next quarter? The loss in this quarter is pretty surprising. So, do you think it will be profitable in the first quarter or and kind of broad parameters to how we might think about that?

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Richard Rodick – CFO, EVP, Finance: The $12 million, there are unusual items. They included the $2 million in interest. They included – we had a large bankruptcy that we had to write-off some bad debts. So, the things that would not be – we’d not classify them as non-GAAP and they are non-recurring and they – just a lot of them happened during the year. There was some things that we had to write-off with balance sheet, things that had come to fruition that made us have to write them off. So, they are approximately $12 million in things that don’t occur on a regular basis, but they would not be included on our non-GAAP numbers.

Thomas Wadewitz – JPMorgan: That $12 million in the $0.13 loss and you think that in large part those wouldn’t keep going?

Richard Rodick – CFO, EVP, Finance: These would not keep going exactly…

Eric Kirchner – CEO: With regard to the first quarter, it remains a very tough environment out there. We might talk to some volume changes later in the Q&A period, but we’re doing everything we can do to maintain our cost base and reduce it as we talked about the fact we had the cost takeout that occurred in January and February, it’s a tough environment out there right now. So we don’t give guidance, but it’s a challenging time for us and others in the industry and we’re going to keep our head down and work away through it.

Thomas Wadewitz – JPMorgan: So, you can’t really comment on whether you’d expect to be profitable or not in the first quarter?

Eric Kirchner – CEO: We don’t give guidance.

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First Quarter Trends

William Greene – Morgan Stanley: Eric, can you maybe comment a little bit about how the trends in the first quarter maybe are because I think there’s a lot of uncertainty among all of us given the shift in the Chinese New Year, the loss of the leap day and what not. So maybe any volume commentary you might have given how uncertain the picture is. I assume you have some sense for February and March?

Eric Kirchner – CEO: We’ll have Ed Feitzinger to talk to that question.

Edward Feitzinger – EVP, Global Contract Logistics and Distribution: So obviously, what we’re trying to do is look at the January and February year-over-year because of the shift in Chinese New Year between the two years. There is also a little bit of a complexity as we’re looking forward of Easter being in March versus April of last year, or the earlier Easter. The February tonnage was down about 4% year-over-year, TEUs were flat for the same month last year. Our attribution there is that we think there is some – the resumption of manufacturing post-Chinese New Year was a little bit slower than expected both for us and the market. When we look at January and February together to try to neutralize the impact of Chinese New Year. The sequential change is about negative 11% in air freight and negative 5% in ocean freight. That air freight is a little bit worse than the average of the last five years which is consistent with an overall weakness in mode while ocean is better. If you take a look at some specific industry data as an example, on (hack) shows a decrease in January and February of about 22% our historical numbers for January, February are about 18% if you look at that over the last five years, and our numbers we think are coming in about again that’s just for the hacktool type information versus small segment of the business export out of that China environment…

Richard Rodick – CFO, EVP, Finance: That’s not year-over-year though that’s a comparison between investor drop from December to combined January, February.

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William Greene – Morgan Stanley: Do you have any sort of read on March at all?

Eric Kirchner – CEO: March was I guess in line with our past several months. So I would say that within a range of 2% or 3% it could be or down over the previous March. So we got end of the month coming up the last couple of shipping days this week. Again with Easter pull forward we are not sure what kind of production we are going to have on Friday of this week, but it will be in a range of a couple of percent up or down of last March I think.

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