UPS reports 4Q profit on lower revenue

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UPS Inc. announced today, Feb. 3, fourth-quarter income of $254 million compared to a loss of $2.6 billion for the same period a year ago when the company took a charge related to a new pension plan. Revenue was $12.7 billion compared to $13.4 billion.

UPS said volume exceeded 20 million packages on five consecutive days during the peak holiday shipping season. Total U.S. volume, however, was down 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

For all of 2008, UPS said it earned $3.0 billion compared to profit of $382 million for 2007. Revenue was $51.5 billion compared to $49.7 billion.

“The severe decline in economic activity around the world resulted in sharply lower package and freight volumes for UPS,” said Scott Davis, chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based company. “Consequently, we’re making the tough decisions necessary to adapt our enterprise to today’s realities.” UPS said it is freezing management salaries and suspending its match for its employee 401(k) plans, and that all aspects of the business would be analyzed.

Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn said UPS would continue to make company stock repurchases, but at a significantly reduced rate. Going forward, UPS said visibility into the future has become increasingly difficult given the enormous amount of economic uncertainty around the world.