Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPD) today announced net earnings attributable to shareholders of $84,208,000 for the fourth quarter of 2012, as compared with $92,843,000 for the same quarter of 2011, a decrease of (9)%. Net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 decreased (4)% to $458,738,000 as compared with $476,155,000 reported for the fourth quarter of 2011. Total revenues and operating income were $1,532,957,000 and $128,025,000 in 2012, as compared with $1,501,914,000 and $155,064,000 for the same quarter of 2011, an increase of 2% and a decrease of (17)%, respectively. Diluted net earnings attributable to shareholders per share for the fourth quarter were $.40, as compared with $.43 for the same quarter in 2011, a decrease of (7)%.
For the year ended December 31, 2012, net earnings attributable to shareholders was $333,360,000, as compared with $385,679,000 in 2011, a decrease of (14)%. Net revenues for the year decreased to $1,824,098,000 from $1,896,477,000 for 2011, down (4)%. Total revenues and operating income for the year were $5,980,943,000 and $530,798,000 in 2012, as compared with $6,150,498,000 and $618,327,000 for the same period in 2011, decreases of (3)% and (14)%, respectively. Diluted net earnings attributable to shareholders per share for the year ended December 31, 2012 were $1.57, as compared with $1.79 for the same period of 2011, a decrease of (12)%.
“We obviously would have liked better results for the annual 2012 and fourth quarter, not withstanding 2012 was our third most profitable year on record," said Peter J. Rose, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "The market has been challenged throughout the year by air carriers reducing capacity to optimize their pricing and load factors as market volumes declined, primarily in the hi-tech and computer industry, traditionally among the prime users of airfreight space. As airfreight tonnage spiked during the latter part of the fourth quarter, carriers imposed rate increases so quickly that we were unable to commercially adjust our corresponding sell rates to avoid temporary yield declines. That all said, we still have much to be proud of this year. We remain highly efficient and profitable with strong cash flow and an operating margin just under 30% 2. We have a balance sheet as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar, abundant cash and the wherewithal to make strategic investments to increase growth and continue technological enhancements. And finally, we successfully concluded our part of the five year DOJ investigation into our industry. As we reflect back on the goals and aspirations we held at the start of 2012, we executed to protect the long-term value of Expeditors, particularly given global economic uncertainties. We made the safe-guarding of our people a priority; we continued to make essential investments in systems and new services, such as Transcon, our time definite transportation service; and we continued to provide consistently high-quality service to our customers. We also made record stock buybacks of $302 million and paid out record dividends of $117 million," Rose continued.
"Early in 2012, while eschewing layoffs, we asked our managers to focus on being more efficient with current staff, to be cautious with hiring decisions and to only add headcount in instances where attrition or new business required it, so as to not compromise our customer service standards. We concentrated our efforts on managing and developing the investments in our most valuable assets, our people. Our final 2012 headcount is only 0.2% above 2011 levels, but even that slight increase reflects targeted investments in new offices, strategic business initiatives and information systems which will allow us to drive future productivity and on-board new customers more efficiently. As we move into 2013, we have taken several steps to enhance our ability to retain existing customers while attracting new business. We have refined our pricing regimen to ensure that we are focusing on market share expansion through more timely and efficient rate quotation; we are in the process of rolling out our internally-developed customer relationship management system; we have increased our emphasis on our customer-facing network engineering offerings which have been very successful in assisting customer supply-chain optimization initiatives; and, of course, we will continue to train, measure and emphasize our foundational commitment to customer service. We think those are winning combinations to help our people manage whatever 2013 will bring," Rose concluded.