UPDATE 2-UTi Worldwide posts Q4 profit

Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:40pm EDT

* Q4 EPS $0.02 vs loss/shr $0.90 year ago

* Q4 rev up 11 pct

* Does not see meaningful yield improvement in Q1

* Shares down as much as 10 pct (Recasts; adds conference call and analyst comments, share movement)

By Fareha Khan

BANGALORE, March 25 (Reuters) - Logistics company UTi Worldwide Inc (UTIW.O) swung to a quarterly profit, helped by a 22 percent increase in airfreight forwarding revenue, but said it has not yet seen a meaningful yield improvement in the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

The company said yield compression was particularly acute in January as volumes remained strong and carrier rates moved higher, and added that transportation rates continued to climb through the fourth quarter.

"When carrier rates move higher, (UTi) has to pay for the cost, and they are not able to turn around and pass that cost on to their customers quickly," BB&T Capital Markets analyst Kevin Sterling said.

The analyst, expects to see continued compression going forward for UTi, which buys and sells space on cargo ships.

However, Sterling added that yield compression can be offset by UTi's growth in volumes, and said he sees growth to continue in the coming quarters, specially in airfreight.

On a conference call with analysts, UTi said its adjusting its pricing based on higher transportation rates and added that its working on lowering achieved costs through improved consolidation, cargo mix, and optimization of freight flows.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported net income attributable to UTi of $1.5 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $89.8 million, or 90 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding goodwill impairment and other charges, the company posted adjusted earnings of 11 cents a share.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $991.5 million. Airfreight forwarding revenue rose to $349.8 million.

Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn 16 cents a share, before special items, on revenue of $924.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

UTi shares were trading down about 9 percent at $15.59 Thursday on Nasdaq. They had earlier touched a low of $15.36. (Reporting by Fareha Khan in Bangalore; Editing by Bijoy Koyitty) ((fareha.khan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800 Reuters Messaging: fareha.khan.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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