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XPO Logistics sees double-digit revenue increase in 2018

XPO Logistics sees double-digit revenue increase in 2018

XPO Logistics has announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2018. Fourth quarter revenue increased to $4.39 billion, compared with $4.19 billion for the same period in 2017. Net income attributable to common shareholders was $84 million for the quarter, compared with $189 million for the same period in 2017, which included a $173 million net benefit primarily related to the enactment of US tax reform. Diluted earnings per share was $0.62 for the quarter, compared with $1.42 for the same period in 2017.

Adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders, a non-GAAP financial measure, was $98 million for the fourth quarter 2018, compared with $59 million for the same period in 2017. Adjusted diluted earnings per share, a non-GAAP financial measure, was $0.72 for the quarter, compared with $0.45 for the same period in 2017.

Adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders and adjusted diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter 2018 exclude: $26 million, or $19 million after-tax, of litigation costs for independent contractor matters; a benefit of $24 million, or $18 million after-tax, related to a gain on the sale of an equity investment; $19 million, or $14 million after-tax, of restructuring costs, primarily severance; $8 million, or $6 million after-tax, of transaction, integration and rebranding costs; and a benefit of $7 million, or $5 million after-tax, of non-cash unrealized gains on foreign currency contracts. Reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures used in this release are provided in the attached financial tables.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("adjusted EBITDA"), a non-GAAP financial measure, increased to $380 million for the fourth quarter 2018, compared with $337 million for the same period in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter excludes: $26 million of litigation costs for independent contractor matters; a $24 million benefit related to a gain on the sale of an equity investment; $19 million of restructuring costs, primarily severance; and $8 million of transaction, integration and rebranding costs.

For the fourth quarter 2018, the company generated cash flow from operations of $566 million and free cash flow, a non-GAAP financial measure, of $479 million. For full year 2018, the company generated cash flow from operations of $1.1 billion and free cash flow of $694 million, including an incremental benefit of approximately $200 million from trade receivables programs.

Financial Targets

The company updated its full-year 2019 targets as follows:

- Revenue growth of 3% to 5%, which corresponds to organic revenue growth of 4% to 6% year-over-year;
 - Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $1.650 billion to $1.725 billion, an increase of 6% to 10% year-over-year, versus the prior target of 12% to 15%;
 - Free cash flow in the range of $525 million to $625 million, versus the prior target of approximately $650 million;
 - Net capital expenditures in the range of $400 million to $450 million;
- Depreciation and amortization in the range of $765 million to $785 million;
- Effective tax rate in the range of 26% to 29%; and
- Cash taxes in the range of $165 million to $190 million.

The company’s 2019 targets for free cash flow and cash taxes assume a cash interest expense of $275 million to $315 million based on additional debt of $1 billion in 2019 to repurchase shares. The company expects working capital to be a use of cash in 2019 as it funds its revenue growth, offset in part by incremental year-over-year proceeds of $125 million to $150 million from trade receivables programs.

Share Repurchase Programs

On February 4, 2019, the company completed the share repurchase program announced in December 2018. A total of 18 million shares of XPO common stock were retired for approximately $1 billion ($56.09 average share price).

On February 13, 2019, the company’s board of directors authorized a new share repurchase program of up to $1.5 billion of XPO common stock. The company is not obligated to repurchase any specific number of shares, and may suspend or discontinue the program at any time. The company intends to fund the program with available cash from operations and financing sources.

Bradley Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of XPO Logistics, said, “For the full year, we delivered 12.3% revenue growth, 9.3% organic growth and $1.56 billion of adjusted EBITDA – up 14.3% over 2017. However, we missed our fourth quarter forecast for adjusted EBITDA, primarily due to headwinds in France and the UK and a loss of profit in the postal injection business with our largest customer.

“In the fourth quarter, we generated 12.4% organic revenue growth in our logistics segment, driven by global demand for e-commerce. In North American transportation, we improved our less-than-truckload adjusted operating ratio by 260 basis points to a fourth quarter best of 87.3%. Better working capital management allowed us to outperform on cash in the quarter and surpass our cumulative 2017-2018 free cash flow target of $1 billion.”

Jacobs continued, “We expect that our adjusted EBITDA growth this year will be in the range of 6% to 10%. This anticipates the impact of our largest customer substantially downsizing its business portfolio with us starting in the first quarter, as well as our more cautious view of Europe. We updated our target for free cash flow to align with our adjusted EBITDA forecast and our expectation of higher interest expense associated with our new share repurchase authorization. As we look ahead, we’re confident in our ability to create meaningful shareholder value.”

Fourth Quarter 2018 Results by Segment

Transportation: The company's transportation segment generated revenue of $2.83 billion for the quarter, compared with $2.78 billion for the same period in 2017. Segment revenue growth was led by less-than-truckload in North America and Europe, and by European truckload and freight brokerage.

Operating income for the transportation segment decreased to $106 million in the quarter, compared with $131 million for the same period in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment increased to $272 million, compared with $264 million for the same period in 2017. The operating ratio for North American less-than-truckload was 89.2%; and the adjusted operating ratio was a fourth quarter record of 87.3%, a 260 basis point improvement year-over-year.
 
Logistics: The company's logistics segment generated revenue of $1.59 billion for the quarter, a 10.0% increase from the same period in 2017. Organic revenue growth, which excludes the impacts of fuel and foreign exchange, was 12.4% year-over-year. Segment revenue growth was led by rising demand for e-commerce logistics globally, and by the consumer packaged goods and food and beverage sectors in North America and the fashion sector in Europe.

Operating income for the logistics segment decreased to $42 million, compared with $52 million for the same period in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $127 million, an increase of 11.4% from a year ago. The decrease in operating income primarily reflects higher depreciation expense from prior capital investments associated with new business wins and higher restructuring costs to improve future profitability. The increase in adjusted EBITDA reflects the impact of a record 118 contract start-ups in 2018, including 28 in the fourth quarter.
 
Corporate: Corporate SG&A expense was $22 million for the quarter, compared with $57 million for the same period in 2017. The year-over-year decrease in corporate expense primarily reflects lower share-based compensation expense tied to the company’s stock price and lower bonus expense.

Full Year 2018 Financial Results

For the full year 2018, the company reported revenue of $17.28 billion, a 12.3% increase from $15.38 billion for 2017. Organic revenue growth, which excludes the impacts of fuel and foreign exchange, was 9.3% year-over-year. Net income attributable to common shareholders was $390 million for 2018, compared with $312 million for 2017. Diluted earnings per share was $2.88 for 2018, compared with $2.45 for 2017.

Adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders was $432 million for 2018, compared with $249 million for 2017. Adjusted diluted earnings per share was $3.19 for 2018, compared with $1.95 for 2017.

Adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders and adjusted diluted earnings per share for the full year 2018 exclude: $33 million, or $27 million after-tax, of transaction, integration and rebranding costs; $27 million, or $20 million after-tax, of debt extinguishment costs; a $26 million, or $19 million after-tax, of litigation costs for independent contractor matters; a benefit of $24 million, or $18 million after-tax, related to a gain on the sale of an equity investment; $21 million, or $15 million after-tax, of restructuring costs, primarily severance; and a benefit of $20 million, or $15 million after-tax, from non-cash unrealized gains on foreign currency contracts.

Adjusted EBITDA for the full year 2018 increased to $1.56 billion, compared with $1.37 billion for 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for 2018 excludes: $33 million of transaction, integration and rebranding costs; $26 million of litigation costs for independent contractor matters; a $24 million benefit related to a gain on the sale of an equity investment; and $21 million of restructuring costs, primarily severance.

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