Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPD) today announced net earnings attributable to shareholders of $76,707,000 for the first quarter of 2012, as compared with $91,232,000 for the same quarter of 2011, a decrease of (16)%. Net revenues for the first quarter of 2012 decreased (2)% to $446,571,000 as compared with $453,915,000 reported for the first quarter of 2011. Total revenues and operating income were $1,411,370,000 and $125,271,000 in the first quarter of 2012, as compared with $1,460,848,000 and $147,230,000 for the same quarter of 2011, decreases of (3)% and (15)%, respectively. Diluted net earnings attributable to shareholders per share for the first quarter were $.36, as compared with $.42 for the same quarter in 2011, a decrease of (14)%.
“Today's announcement of our first quarter 2012 results could be viewed by some as anti-climactic given our earlier guidance,” said Peter J. Rose, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our public comments on the state of the global economy these past six months foreshadowed the possibility that some volume weakness could develop in 2012 as compared with 2011. However, a 9% decline in year-over-year airfreight tonnages during the first quarter of 2012 was not what we would have predicted, even if we made predictions. Our largest customers are being very cautious about the amount of airfreight they are using this year. The 5% increase in airfreight shipments handled during the first quarter, despite this decline in tonnage, reinforces that our customers do continue to ship, however. Historically, March is a very significant airfreight month from a tonnage perspective. March 2012 was a notable exception. It is also an anomaly when we experience both a strong reduction in year-over-year airfreight tonnage and a margin contraction. Those who understand the nuances of this business will recognize that as a sign of what it is, a very atypical airfreight environment. We'd be remiss not to mention that these results also include the full accrual of the $5.5 million fine levied by the European Commission the last week of March. We will also take this opportunity to reiterate what we announced when the EC disclosed the fine. We disagree with this decision. As we said then, we did not enter into any agreement that affected customer pricing in any way,” Rose went on to say.