missed quarterly earnings estimates and projected weak economic growth in the current year.
Excluding items, the overnight package shipper said it earned $1.28 billion, or $1.32 a share, a fourth-quarter record. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated $1.38 a share. Revenue rose 2% to $14.57 billion. Analysts estimated $14.4 billion. In the same period a year earlier, UPS earned $1.25 billion, or $1.28 a share.
Including a non-cash $3 billion charge for pension and retirement benefits, resulting from a decline in discount rates, the company lost $2.78 billion, or $1.83 a share.
Looking ahead, UPS expects full-year 2013 earnings to rise between 6% and 12% to between $4.80 and $5.06 a share. Analysts are estimating $5.11 a share.
For the full year, "UPS delivered its best ever adjusted earnings per share with strong free cash flow, even in the midst of weaker than expected global economic conditions in 2012," said Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn in a prepared statement. "Economic growth for 2013 is expected to be below long-term trends.
"Despite $350 million in headwinds from unfavorable foreign exchange comparisons and increased pension expense, UPS anticipates full year diluted earnings per share to increase 6% to 12% over 2012 adjusted results," Kuehn said.
For the quarter, UPS Domestic Package posted an operating margin of 15.4% as operating profit rose 4.4%. International Package posted an adjusted operating margin was 15.6%, while operating profit was flat.
UPS shares closed Wednesday at $81.23. In premarket trading on Thursday, shares were down $1.45.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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