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Updated Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 06:58 AM

Seattle’s Expeditors reports disappointing 3Q results

By Drew DeSilver
Seattle Times business reporter

Revenue and profit fell last quarter at Expeditors International amid global economic turmoil and lower freight volume, the Seattle-based logistics company reported Tuesday.

Expeditors, which helps shippers move their cargo around the world, earned $88.5 million, or 42 cents a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, a 17 percent decline from the same period last year. Analysts had on average expected the company to earn 43.9 cents a share.

Total revenue fell to $1.53 billion in the third quarter, 4.7 percent lower than in the year-earlier period and short of the average estimate of $1.6 billion.

But investors didn’t seem to mind the earnings miss: The company’s stock closed up 76 cents, or 2 percent, finishing the trading day at $37.88.

“Years come and years go, and, like 2009, we’ll be glad to see this one end,” Peter Rose, Expeditors’ chief executive, said in a statement.

In the company’s more than 30 years in business, Rose said, “We have never had the kinds of convergence of industry challenges, in both our customers and service providers’ industries, that we have experienced this year.”

Among the challenges he cited: “financially struggling air and ocean carriers, airfreight markets adapting to smaller, lighter, more-powerful smartphones and mobile tablets versus heavier PCs, lackluster consumer and business demand and global economic uncertainty.”

Airfreight volume in the quarter was down 9 percent versus the same period last year, the company said, and ocean-freight volume was down 4 percent.

The drop-off was sharpest in the Europe/Africa region, where revenue in the quarter was down 13.8 percent compared with the third quarter of 2011. Europe/Africa accounts for 13.6 percent of Expeditors’ overall revenue.

But Asia, which provides more than half the company’s total revenue, was down only 4.1 percent last quarter, and U.S. revenue fell just 1.3 percent.

After the stock market closed, Expeditors’ board declared a semiannual cash dividend of 28 cents a share, payable Dec. 17 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 3. It matched the dividend Expeditors declared in May.

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or ddesilver@seattletimes.com


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