Cyber attack, hurricane weigh on FedEx quarterly profit

(Reuters) - Package delivery company FedEx Corp FDX.N said on Tuesday a June cyber attack on its Dutch unit slashed $300 million from its quarterly profit, and the company lowered its full-year earnings forecast.

A package of the FedEx courier delivery services company is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Illustration

The company said the cyber attack slashed 79 cents per share from its profit - nearly 40 times the 2 cents per share caused by deadly Hurricane Harvey, which brought catastrophic flooding to southeastern Texas.

FedEx joins a string of companies that reported big drops in earnings due to the NotPetya virus, which hit on June 29, crippling Ukraine businesses before spreading worldwide to shut down shipping ports, factories and corporate offices.

“The impact of the cyberattack on TNT Express and lower-than-expected results at FedEx Ground reduced our first-quarter earnings,” said FedEx Chief Financial Officer Alan Graf. “We are currently executing plans to mitigate the full-year impact of these issues.”

Shares of the Memphis-based company, often considered a bellwether for the U.S. economy as are those of rival United Parcel Service Inc UPS.N, dipped more than 2 percent in after-hours trading.

FedEx reported net income for its fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 31 of $596 million or $2.19 per share, down more than 16 percent from the year-ago $715 million or $2.65 per share.

Excluding one-time items, the company reported earnings per share of $2.51. Wall Street analysts had expected earnings per share of $3.09.

Excluding the impact of the cyber attack and Hurricane Harvey, FedEx said it would have posted EPS of $3.32, above analysts’ expectations.

Most services of the Dutch TNT Express unit resumed during the quarter and systems had been restored, but TNT Express volume, revenue and profit still remained below pre-attack levels, the company said.

FedEx did not have insurance in place that covered the impact from the cyber attack.

FedEx also said higher shipping rates across its operating units were more than offset by the cyber attack, costs related to the integration of its TNT unit, higher costs at its FedEx ground, and a higher tax rate.

The company’s operating margin fell to 7.3 percent from 8.6 percent.

FedEx lowered its forecast for fiscal 2018 earnings per diluted share to a range of $11.05 to $11.85, from a previous range of $12.45 to $13.25. Analysts forecast earnings of $13.01 per share for the full year.

Overall revenue rose to $15.3 billion from $14.7 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected 15.35 billion.

FedEx said on Monday it will increase its Express, Ground, and Home Delivery shipping rates by an average of 4.9 percent on Jan. 1.

FedEx and UPS usually unveil price increases for the coming year around this time.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Nick Carey in Detroit and Jim Finkle in Toronto; Editing by Joe White and Matthew Lewis