Q1 2014 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 06/06/2013

Operator: Welcome to the UTi Fiscal 2014 First Quarter Conference Call. During today's presentation, all parties will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, the conference will be open for questions. This conference is being recorded today, June 6, 2013.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Jeff Misakian, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Jeff Misakian - Global VP, IR: Thank you, Doug and good morning, everyone. Welcome to UTi Worldwide's fiscal 2014 first quarter results conference call. Joining us on the call today are Eric Kirchner, Chief Executive Officer; and Rick Rodick, Chief Financial Officer. Ed Feitzinger, Executive Vice President, Global Operations is also here and available to answer questions during the Q&A session.

Before we begin the presentation, I would like to point out that certain statements made on today's call are not historical facts. They may be deemed, therefore, to be forward-looking statements under the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Many important factors may cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those discussed in any forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties are described in further detail in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Please refer to these filings for more information regarding the risks and uncertainties that the Company faces. UTi undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Now I would like to turn the call over to Eric Kirchner. Eric?

Eric W. Kirchner - CEO: Thank you, Jeff. Good morning, everyone. Our first quarter started slowly which wasn’t surprising but momentum was built as the quarter progressed. Results were impacted by lower pricing in Freight Forwarding, reduced activity in Contract Logistics and Distribution and currency translation. However, we also saw signs of greater stability in the industry and began to realize some modest benefits from new business.

We've reported a small pre-tax profit in the first three months of fiscal 2014 as results improved each month. We started the quarter with a loss in February, then recorded breakeven results to the margin, and ended with a profit in April. Net revenue improved progressively in the quarter as well with the month of April being higher than the same period last year. This is the first time in 13 months that we experienced year-over-year net revenue growth.

The net revenue increased in April was led by improving trends in Freight Forwarding. One month doesn't make a trend and we still face many challenges. Industry volume percentage growth in part reflects easier comparisons not necessarily stronger demand. In addition, the environment remains every bit as competitive as we saw last year. Finally the decline in the South African rand has continued to weigh on the result.

At the end of the first quarter the rand was trading at approximately ZAR9 for every U.S. dollar. On May 31st it had fallen to nearly ZAR10, a deterioration of almost 10% in one month. So while we are somewhat encouraged by recent improvements, we are cognizant that there are a variety of continued challenges presented by the external environment.

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